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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC has a pingpong club, and it's open to all skill levels

From left, Luke brown, Steven DeePee, Alex Gartland and Andrew Chang pose with a 2015 table tennis t-shirt. Photo courtesy of Alexander Gartland. 

From left, Luke brown, Steven DeePee, Alex Gartland and Andrew Chang pose with a 2015 table tennis t-shirt. Photo courtesy of Alexander Gartland. 

The club’s founder, senior Steven Deepee, said he played table tennis in high school and when he discovered that UNC did not have a team, he decided to change that.

“Carolina’s one of the largest universities in North Carolina and there were plenty of players who were interested in playing,” Deepee said. “I kind of got them together, kind of found people who were interested, and since then we’ve only been growing as a club.”

The club is made up of a variety of people who love pingpong and enjoy spending time together.

“This isn’t just students in the undergrad, it’s also a lot of grad students, a lot of international students, a few PhD students and even some faculty members,” he said. “Basically we create a place where students of all pingpong levels can come play and learn to get better.”

The club’s vice president, junior Alex Gartland, said he loves representing UNC in the sport through tournaments.

“We get to go to the tournaments and meet lots of people from different schools and exchange stories and phone numbers and stuff like that and what table tennis has been for them and get to play,” he said.

The club is not just for competitive players like Deepee and Gartland — it provides a place for people of all skill levels. Gartland said there are about 25 people on the competitive team, but 50 to 60 people come out to play in the recreational club throughout the year.

“It’s not dependent on how skilled you are, it’s more about enjoying playing table tennis and having that as common ground,” Gartland said.

The women’s team captain, junior Gloria Liu, said her favorite part of being on the team is the people.

“When I was a freshman, obviously what really appealed to me was to meet new people because, when we have open plays there are always new people showing up,” she said.

Liu said she wished more people saw table tennis as a serious sport, instead of just a recreational activity.

“I think there are a lot of talented players that go to UNC that don’t show up just because they think it’s not a serious thing,” she said.

Deepee said for him, the club has been more than just a group of people to play pingpong with, because other players have become mentors. He said he has made connections with faculty members outside of the classroom through the sport as well.

The recreational club meets on Mondays and Thursdays at 4:30 p.m. in The Underground of the Student Union.

“We’re a fun group, we love having new people come out and play, and if anyone’s interested, they’re more than welcome to come reach out to us and we’d love to have them out,” he said.

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