Every year when I have to register my training center with USATT I’m asked how many members I have. The most accurate answer to this would actually be zero. People who play and train with me don’t join as members, but pay as they go. So, an honest answer to how many players are actively playing at the T3 club would probably be twenty. I may have had up to one hundred different players come through the doors, but at any one time, the number is about twenty. Like most table tennis clubs our membership is pretty diverse. Nationalities represented include players from India, China, Sierra Leone, The Philippines, Nigeria, The United States, and we have two players from Haiti.
Haiti has a long troubled history of dealing with weather disasters, corrupt governments, and widespread poverty. The two players we have from Haiti may have faced challenges that I have never had to deal with. This may be why Pierre and Donald display a patient determination that serves them well in life, and table tennis. Sports are just as important in small countries as they are in larger more prosperous countries. The ITTF recognizes this, and strives to take table tennis to the whole world through TT4ALL.
My only actual connection to Haiti is through the people I know that were born there. I did catch a glimpse of Haiti from the comfort of a cruise ship; hardly a realistic look at life on this beautiful and troubled island. The only time I’ve been close to poverty comparable to what can be found in Haiti was while doing mission work in Mexico. Even spending one week in this environment can greatly change your outlook on life in other countries. Perhaps some day I’ll get to travel internationally more often. For now, I’m happy to be able to meet people from all corners of the world through table tennis. In the event I ever make it to Haiti, I hope all the people are as kind and caring as my favorite Haitians.