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April 4, 2013
Table Tennis Volunteers Play Vital Role at Rockford Tournament
Volunteers are an essential part of any major event – from the 2012 Olympics in London to international ballet performances and presidential inaugurations.
Such is the case with the 2013 NCTTA championships in mid-April with an army of at least 75 volunteers ready to go to work to make this a successful tournament in Rockford, Illinois. It’s one that will attract at least 300 collegiate table tennis players, plus coaches, fans and others associated with this popular Olympic sport. They are coming to Rockford from states like California, New York, Michigan, Florida, and Texas, and from Canada to Puerto Rico.
Diana Hogshead is busy overseeing the scores of volunteers in her Illinois hometown 60 miles from Chicago. Some volunteers signed up are coming from the Rockford Table Tennis Club, while others are just people who love the game and want to pitch in for as many hours as they can.
Signing up the list of volunteers to help with the tournament’s transportation needs, run hospitality tables, sell programs, handle the food distribution, and make sure there’s an abundant supply of umpires on hand is among Diana’s duties.
Once the crew of unpaid workers appears on the list, her task is to see that there are enough volunteers plugged in to tackle various assignments. It always helps that the volunteers get some relief over the three-day tournament at the Forest City Tennis Center. During the April 12-14 marathon of table tennis, volunteers will need some rest, too! Ultimately, their job is to see that the needs of the athletes, fans and coaches are met, and they hope to do so with a smile on their faces.
The actual work at the tournament begins when volunteers start setting up dozens of tables Wednesday, April 10. It continues Thursday at a celebrity table tennis tournament and practice sessions followed by the real games on Friday.
More than 40 colleges will be represented at the tournament, and organizers expect as many as 500 people will be part of the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association’s fabulous games in the Land of Lincoln.
The Forest City Table Tennis Center will be open to the public for free on Thursday so spectators can watch these world-class players practice their spins and slams and get ready for the tournament. There will be single day admission and three-day admission tickets sold at the door. That’s just one of many jobs for the volunteers – to help with ticket sales.
Volunteers get some compensation for their labors. They receive tickets to the NCTTA’s banquet Saturday night, can gulp down free sandwiches and soft drinks, and receive a nice NCTTA polo shirt. We offer the volunteers our hearty thanks. Hugs are optional.
Diana Hogshead and her husband, Ed Hogshead, who’s known as Mr. Rockford Table Tennis, have loved being around each other and the table tennis world for generations. Their second date was at a table tennis club.
“Ed fell in love with table tennis at age 16 when Santa brought his family a table years ago,’’ Diana said.
Since that second date, table tennis “has been a very important part of our lives,’’ she said. “We both love not only the game, but the players we have met from all over the world,’’ Diana Hogshead said.
But she didn’t have much time to wax too nostalgic about her favorite sport. There’s a tournament to run in Rockford, and she always is on the lookout for a few more volunteers.
“We can’t say enough good things about the incredible work of our tireless volunteers when major tournaments roll around,’’ said NCTTA President Willy Leparulo. “Whether you are able to help for three hours or three days, we’d love to use your talents to make the 2013 Championships the best ever,’’ he said. “No doubt, it will be a rewarding personal experience and give you a front row seat to see North America’s most talented collegiate table tennis players.’’
For more information on the NCTTA’s 2013 championships or to become a volunteer go to http://champs.nctta.org
The 2013 College Table Tennis Championships is hosted by the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association and the Rockford Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and is one of the most competitive table tennis tournaments in North America featuring 6 events: Men’s and Women’s Singles and Doubles, and Men’s/Coed Teams, Women’s Teams. The event is sponsored by Newgy Industries, Butterfly, PR etc. Rockford Table Tennis Club, Fitzgerald Equipment, Rockford Park District
Players and spectators alike will enjoy a jam-packed weekend of table tennis at the 2013 College Table Tennis Championships. The event starts Friday April 12th and continues to Sunday April 14th at the Forrest Tennis Center in Rockford, Illinois.
The National Collegiate Table Tennis Association (NCTTA) is a non-profit organization established exclusively for promoting the sport of table tennis at the college level. As the national governing body for college table tennis in the United States and Canada, NCTTA organizes intercollegiate competition throughout North America. www.nctta.org
About USA Table Tennis
Headquartered in Colorado Springs, USATT is the national organizing body for table tennis in the United States, serving 9,000+ members and nearly 300 clubs. USATT sanctions 200+ events a year including the US Open and US Nationals. USATT is affiliated with the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), as well as the United States Olympic Committee (USOC). www.usatt.org