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Lakeland Table Tennis Association
Ray Spann-Information Officer/Webmaster
(352) 750-4286
1039 Aloha Way
The Villages, Florida

by Ray Spann


Each year millions of tourists travel from all over the United States and the world to our beautiful central Florida. Tourists come here to visit the many attractions in the area, both in Orlando and in the Tampa/St.Petersburg/Clearwater area. Many will stay for a week, two weeks, or even more. As they search for activities in the area, many are unaware of the opportunities to play table tennis. Central Florida has a growing base of table tennis players and several clubs are growing and flourishing. The Sunrise Table Tennis Club in Clearwater is an excellent example of an ideal place for tourists to visit and play. The Lakeland Table Tennis Club is a growing club with a rapidly growing base of players and a expanding schedule of available times. Orlando has a quality table tennis club. Largo, Silver Springs Shores, Countryside, all have facilities and clubs open and available. South Tampa has opened a new table tennis location.

Table tennis is alive and growing in central Florida. There is much excitement in the area and local clubs are planning to increase the number of USATT sanctioned tournaments. As our enthusiasm grows, we have a real opportunity to promote our sport to the table tennis players from all over the world that visit our vacation wonderland. The numbers involved may be more than the casual observer may think. By letting tourists and travelers know that table tennis is available in central Florida, we should be pleasantly surprised with new players stopping by our clubs for a visit. Some table tennis players may actually plan vacations to the area in order to visit the many attractions and play some quality table tennis.

In addition, as active table tennis players across our nation retire, many may look for areas rich in table tennis. Central Florida is an excellent location for all these great folks looking for a new retirement home and a place to play.

It is important that we, as table tennis players and supporters, get the message out to everyone about the opportunities to enjoy our sport throughout central Florida. To help facilitate this objective, we are in the process of providing table tennis information to the Florida Sports Foundation. It is our hope that this large and well-known organization will include table tennis in their brochures and booklets that they produce and distribute to thousands of individuals, not only here in Florida, but throughout the nation. The Lakeland Table Tennis Club has had success with two local newspapers, which now list the club’s playing schedule. It has been suggested that the tourism department of the State of Florida be provided with table tennis information to share with the millions of tourists that travel to Florida each year. These are just a few things that we can do to promote table tennis in central Florida.

So what can you do, as an individual? You can start by playing, telling others about the opportunities and how much fun you are having. Invite friends to play. Enter tournaments. There are a growing number of tournaments in the central Florida area. Many of the popular Florida Senior Games are located right here in central Florida, including the State Championship Senior Games, held in Lakeland, Florida each year. Most of the tournaments have many different divisions, divided by age groups, and ability. Some are round robin events, where you get a chance to play several matches. If you haven’t been to a table tennis tournament recently, now is the time to start. We will have several great tournaments in central Florida later on this year and next year. So get out there and have some real fun, good exercise, and make some new friends. Remember, table tennis players are some of the nicest people you will ever meet. HAVE FUN WITH TABLE TENNIS !!!

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