The Athens Georgia Table Tennis Summer Open was a great tournament. Why, you may ask, was it so great? It certainly wasn’t the biggest. The gym is pretty old and no former Olympians were in attendance. Nobody got rich off the prize money. There are a lot of things that the Athens tournament was lacking. None of those items are important. Whether big or small, there are some essentials that every good tournament needs. The Athens Georgia Table Tennis club got it right. Consider what made this a positive experience for everyone involved.
- Timing – All the matches started on time and we ended on time. This tournament avoided having more players than could easily be handled. There’s already a lot of waiting around in tournaments. There’s no use adding to the stress by running behind all day.
- Integrity – There were no last minute changes to add more players or any modifying of the format. I expected to play eight matches unless somebody didn’t show up. I played exactly eight matches. That was not the case in a tournament I played a year ago. Sometimes tournament directors get greedy. Changing the format is rarely a good idea, especially if players don’t find out about it until the day of the tournament.
- Friendly atmosphere – Credit Sean O’Connell with being a great host as well as a tournament director who went the extra mile. The Athens club provided water, sports drinks, snacks, and southern hospitality.
- Competent officiating and scoring – Sean caught an error on a score sheet from the group I was playing in. Being aware of the details of the tournament and not just logging in numbers allowed for a smooth transition from the morning matches to the afternoon sessions. I did have two opponents who I felt were serving illegally. I managed to overcome one of them but lost to the other. Since I didn’t request an umpire, that’s on me. I know Sean would have made sure the rules were enforced fairly.
I realize this is a pretty glowing report of a relatively small tournament. My outlook is probably colored by the fact that I did manage to secure a trophy. But, it was a good tournament. I wish every tournament I played in ran so smoothly. Even though I live fairly close to Athens, I don’t really go there enough to know my way around. I do know that there are plenty of good places to eat. Some great music has come out of Athens (REM, The B 52s), and there’s one great table tennis club. Congratulations to Athens Georgia Table Tennis.
2021 Athens GA Table Tennis Summer Open – Results