Table tennis, anyone?
Walk into Farmington's Rambling River Center on the right afternoon and you might hear a familiar sound. It's the plastic plunk of a small ball as it bounces back and forth across the net of a ping pong table.
The table is a relatively new addition to the senior center. It was donated by Lloyd and Carolyn Halvorson last year when the center moved into the former city hall building. It's gotten regular use since then.
"I hear people back there mostly on Mondays," Rambling River Center coordinator Missie Kohlbeck said.
Seniors play casual games against each other, or they bring in their grandkids for an afternoon of games.
After this week, the table might be even busier. On Monday, in the interest of spurring use of the table, the center offered a brief introduction to the game. Rambling River Center member Joe Emond, a longtime tennis and table tennis player who also has served as an assistant with the Farmington High School tennis team, offered a brief history of the game, which started in the 1890s as an indoor alternative to tennis, and some instruction on the basics of the game. He covered the proper grip for the paddles and the rules of the game and gave the small group that showed up for the lesson a chance to get familiar with the table.
"We thought maybe people would feel better about playing if they knew about the rules," Kohlbeck said. "We're trying to actually set up a little league or a little tournament."
The game was fun for the small group that showed up on Monday, and it can be more exercise than people realize.
"You can work up a good sweat playing ping pong," Emond said Monday.
Especially, it seems, if you're playing against Emond. Kohlbeck said Lloyd Halvorson played a game against Emond recently and got worn out.
"He said to me, 'We need to get more people to play, because I'm pooped,'" Kohlbeck said.
So far, so good.