For students still looking for a Plattsburgh State club to join, the Ping Pong and Pool Club is here to stay.
President Kali Machniak and Vice President Jonalynn Lao both said people with all types of experiences join the club because it’s simply a club to help build a community.
When Machniak and Lao’s Resident Assistant was president of the club, he announced that there would be a club meeting. They said, as freshman, they were excited because they would be able to meet others. Meetings take place on the first floor of Macdonough Hall.
“I was intrigued in joining and had experience playing pool,” Lao said.
Machniak said she didn’t have experience but just wanted to play for fun. She said she’s glad she did as a freshman though because that’s how she met some of her closest friends. Ever since then, the two stayed with the club and eventually stepped up to president and vice president positions.
At each meeting, Mackniak and Lao both introduce themselves to anyone new, and then people go to whichever game they want to. They said some play pool and some play ping pong. Mainly, they want students to feel like it’s a getaway from homework and stress.
Machniak said that people can lounge around by the TV or play card games such as Cards Against Humanity and Apples to Apples.
“Our main purpose is to have a nice relaxing environment,” Machniak said. “It’s somewhere people can go to escape the hassle of homework and responsibilities for a couple hours and learn more about these fun games.”
Machniak said the club is not intense at all and welcomes anyone. They said residents of Macdonough also come downstairs to check out what’s going on, and sometimes they’ll end up being frequent members for the club. Typically, they’ll have 20 to 25 members at the meetings.
“Basically we all just show up and we play,” Lao said. “People are welcome to do whatever they want.”
Besides playing for fun, the club hosts a tournament every semester, and people are welcome to attend and eat snacks.
Senior computer science major Justin Grant got involved when the club started during his sophomore year.
He said there was a group of 15 to 20 people that played in deFredenburgh. The table broke and they ended up moving it to Macdonough. He said it was a good thing because now they have a large space for the club in the first floor lounge of the building.
At first, they used the equipment that was provided by the building, but they were able to grow their club into a much bigger presence on campus.
Grant has been playing ping pong seriously for a year now. At first, he said he played for fun, but he eventually started getting more competitive.
“We kind of improve together,” Grant said. “Ping pong and pool has never been just about ping pong and pool. It’s always about community.”
Grant said it’s a great place for students to come and feel like they’re a part of the community.
“I think it’s like having a floor circle every night,” he said. “Basically, you come out, meet new people and it’s just a way to be social. Nobody is going to alienate you.”
Grant said when he was a freshman, he was introverted and he didn’t talk to anyone. But he joined the club anyway and it was only club he came to consistently twice a week.
He said he hasn’t missed a meeting since he’s joined.
Additionally, junior music major and theatre minor Kendall Joseph joined the club last semester. He found out about the ping pong club because he heard it was advertising its tournament.
“I started playing seriously last January, so I kind of just used the club for practice,” Joseph said.
Joseph said his friends started playing with him, but they would constantly beat him, so he decided to make his skills better. He said the more he learned about ping pong, the more he got into the sport of playing it.
“I know some people are intimidated by ping pong and pool, but it’s nice to get people off their feet,” Lao said.
The ping pong club meets every Mondays and Wednesdays in Macdonough Hall at 8 p.m.
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