Steve Sam was disappointed.
“I got beat already,” said Sam, 71, a competitor in SourcePoint’s fifth annual Inter-Senior Center Table Tennis Tournament Wednesday. “It must have been the wrong match,” he said.
When Sam was asked how long he had been playing the game, “I’m too old to remember,” he said.
Seniors from Columbus, Delaware, The Jewish Community Center of Greater Columbus, Licking County, Lima, Mansfield, Marion, Upper Arlington, Westerville and Worthington participated in the tournament.
Peggy Potts, 84, said growing up her family had a table and the game was a part of her family’s life. “I even got coached by an Olympic coach,” she said.
The oldest player expected to compete 90, but it wasn’t known if he was going to make the tournament. Officials at the registration desk said, “He doesn’t even look 90 years old and he’s really good.”
John Huber, 76, said he used to play in friends’ basements and at parties. “I got serious about playing six years ago,” he said.
Huber said the game is really popular among seniors in Delaware and the club meets a couple of times each week to play downstairs at SourcePoint.
Tournament officials said a new game started every 12 minutes and that 53 players were signed up to participate to play 95 single matches and 55 doubles matches. Players were placed in three groups — gold, silver and bronze —depending on individual skill level.
Every participant is guaranteed a minimum of three matches within a designated group.
From the three groups five champions were chosen, one each from the gold and silver groups. Three from the bronze group.
“By the afternoon it gets to be 100 degrees in this room and the competition gets intense,” said Travis Fordham, digital media coordinator for SourcePoint.
The tournament was founded March 2013, featuring 23 singles participates and 15 doubles teams from five senior centers.
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.