For most of us, table tennis—also known as ping pong—is a Forrest Gump reference or a game we played in a friend’s basement when we were younger. Plymouth’s Macartan Commers, a senior at Benilde- St. Margaret’s, calls it his high school sport. Commers has a long list of accolades, including involvement in National Honor Society, soccer, golf, math league and chess club, but it’s his role as the captain of the Red Knights table tennis team that sets him apart.
“People are fascinated by [the fact that I play competitively], because you don’t really see it that often,” Commers says. “I like it because it’s so unique. It is becoming more popular.”
Benilde-St. Margaret’s joined the rising number of schools with table tennis teams in 2009 under coach Casey Hanson’s tutelage. The team practices during 40-minute sessions twice a week after school. Some members have tennis backgrounds, but many are simply fascinated by the game—it’s this fascination that first attracted Commers.
“I’ve always liked ping pong, and I remember seeing [the team] playing [when I was] in junior high. I’d watch them practice in the cafeteria,” Commers says. Now taking part in those practice sessions, he says, “[They’re] not too intense, but we make sure we try to improve so we can compete with everyone else.”
The practice has been paying off. After placing third at the state tournament in February against top-seeded teams, Commers hopes to lead the Red Knights to similar victories during the upcoming November through February table tennis season.