Table Tennis, Anyone?

While many of us are preparing to stuff ourselves silly on Thursday, others are preparing for competition. When many people think of Thanksgiving and sports, football is what comes to mind, but there are other sports taking place in Maryland over the holiday.

Yes, Baltimore will be hosting an NFL match-up this year when the 49ers come to town to take on the Ravens, but did you know there’s an international table tennis tournament in town, as well?  The North American Teams Table Tennis Championships begin on Thursday at the Baltimore Convention Center.  The championships run through Sunday.

When most people think table tennis, they think ping pong, but don’t call it that around table tennis enthusiasts.  Table tennis is a true sport that takes insane skill and training.  If you’re playing ping pong, you’re volleying a ball back and forth in your family’s rec room.  If you’re playing table tennis, you’re facing crazy fast shots that involve skill, concentration and physical conditioning.

The tournament this weekend will include 200 teams and around 1,000 players competing for $20,000 in prize money. Teams are not based on age or sex, but on skill; they are comprised of three to five competitors.  Around 150 tables will be setup in over 150,000 square feet of the Convention Center.  Tournament organizers say around 2,000 table tennis balls will be used over the course of the weekend.

This year marks the championships 14th year in Baltimore.  North American Table Tennis is based out of Rockville, MD.  NATT president Richard Lee founded the championships in Baltimore.  Competitors come from all over the world to compete in the championships. It is considered the biggest table tennis tournament in the world!

If you’re looking for a little escape from all the holiday hoopla or Black Friday shoppers, head down to the Baltimore Convention Center and check out some table tennis action – spectator tickets are still available. Here’s the championships spectator guide for those interested in checking it out or learning more about the tournament.

Check out this short video clip on this year’s tournament with some footage from last year’s championships:

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