Get your paddles ready for the "Soda Pop Open" table tennis tournament at Newark's Boylan Street Recreation Center Saturday, an all-day event that will include participants of all ages.
The co-ed event, sponsored by the Division of Recreation and Cultural Affairs, is free and open to the public in the following age categories: 11 and under, middle school girls and middle school boys, high school division II (intermediate), high school division I (advanced), girls' junior open (18 and under), boys' junior open (20 and under), adult recreation, adult division II (intermediate) and adult division I (advance).
From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the round-robin tournament will feature an elimination round and trophies will be given to first- and second-place winners. All participants will get a free soda. Roger Brown, a Newark-based table tennis coach who has run similar events at the Boylan Street and Ironbound Recreation Centers, will oversee the tournament.
Competitors will be coming as far as Brooklyn and Manhattan, he said, adding that table tennis is a great first sport for kids to learn.
"Table tennis is a great sport for hand-eye coordination and footwork," he said in a statement. "It’s a sport that requires you to think, because you have to know which direction the ball is moving in, and how much spin you can put on the ball. You need quick, cognitive reaction."
No advance registration is necessary and participants do not have to be from Newark in order to compete. Participants should wear sneakers and bring their own paddles, if possible.
The Boylan Recreation Center is located at 916 S. Orange Ave. in the city's West Ward.
– Staff reports