WAB Featured Club: Rhode Island Table Tennis Association
(by Steve Hopkins)
The last weekend of November, the Rhode Island Table Tennis Association was the site of the table tennis event for the Rhode Island Senior Olympics. Last fall, the club hosted the Rhode Island State Championships. Add to that three or four USATT sanctioned events each year, an annual Juniors Championship and the Rhode Island High School Team Championships, and you’ve illustrated the busy schedule fulfilled by RITTA each year.
Our club is situated in the village of Manville in the Northeastern corner of Rhode Island. We are ten miles from Providence, 50 miles from downtown Boston, 80 miles from Hartford, 150 miles from Albany, and 190 miles from Manhattan. That is to say, there are a lot of people that live within three hours of our club.
The club has taken on the role of supporting/hosting the table tennis event portion of the annual Boston Bruins fundraiser called Pucks & Paddles (the next one will be in January). The event benefits the Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center. The Bruins attend, with players matched with doubles partners based upon auction. Last year this event raised almost $120,000 for the cause.
The Rhode Island Table Tennis Association is in its 72nd year of continuous operation – dating back to the club reopening after World War II. It has a rich early history that included being a regular stop for regional players and pros with appearances from Dick Miles and Marty Reisman and Bernie Bukiet and later from more recent legends like David Sakai and George Braithwaite. We were home to USATT Hall of Famer Dick Evans, were host for nearly a decade to USATT Magazine and one of the most interesting features of the club is the League – which has been running using the same basic rules since the 1940s (visitors are welcome in the League – with players over 1400 competing on Mondays and all players welcome on Tuesdays).
Over the years, the club has had three locations (Providence, then Warwick, and now Manville). The Rhode Island Club has seen some updates, we’re now a We Are Butterfly club with great tables and wood floors – and in 2019 LED lighting was added to nearly double the visibility. The club keep changing, but at the same time the rich history continues. Come visit and share in that history.
For more about the Rhode Island Table Tennis Association and our club hours, visit the RITTA WAB page.