SOUTH ST PAUL, Minn. — KARE 11 Sunrise's very own Guy Brown has been trying out some Olympic events, and on today's "Guy's Games" he headed to South St. Paul for a lesson in table tennis.
Viewer Joe Gervais turned Guy on to the close-knit table tennis community, and helped him set up a match with Ian Seidenfeld of Lakeville. Seidenfeld will representing Team USA in the Paralympics in Tokyo later this month.
They were joined by Joe Podvin, a four-time Minnesota state champion, who coaches at Table Tennis Minnesota in South St. Paul.
The company is ran by Ian's father, Mitch, a Paralympic gold medalist.
"We have kids playing, adults playing," Joe said. "We have any range of age playing and they're playing a lot together."
Table tennis is played on a flat surface, divided by a net into two equal courts.
To count as a legal hit Joe said the ball needs to travel at least six inches after leaving your hand, bounce on your side, and leave your "court" to travel to your opponent's side of the net.
If you can't make that happen, you lose the point.
With the rules established, the pair started putting Guy through his paces.
Footwork is just as important as hand-eye coordination, as you can end up chasing the ball from side to side, returning shots from your opponent.
When players train at Table Tennis MN they don't just play against each other, they also have a training robot to launch balls for them to hit. Guy learned that even the lowest setting on the machine is a challenge fit for an Olympic athlete.
But the community formed around the table might be the most important part of the game, with players competing against each other regularly for years.
Table Tennis Minnesota offers a variety of leagues and times to come down and perfect your skills. More information about the center is available here.