Monterey rec centre plays host this year as camaraderie and competition collide in the sixth annual Friendship Table Tennis Games.
The Games are at Monterey Recreation Centre Aug. 11 from around 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., pitting the Oak Bay group against the Silver Threads Chinese team.
“We met them over six years ago when the Victoria Chinese Senior Association got money through New Horizons,” said Joan Wells. “That money was put to good use. It was to integrate them into the non-Chinese community and it has worked.”
The Monterey club boasts 130 members aged 50 to 84 who compete regularly. A total of 24 players from each club – 12 men, 12 women – compete in the Friendship Games but plenty of others come in support.
“They bring a few people and we get a few people (in the audience),” said Paul Martin.
“It’s competitive,” added Ken Osborne.
In the spirit of friendship, and to crank down the competitive notch, they’ll create eight mixed partners.
“We’re adding recreational mixed doubles this year,” Wells said, stressing the recreational aspect.
The No. 1 Monterey men’s player will match with Silver Threads women’s No. 2 player and so on, making eight teams to duke it out in a single knockout competition.
“We all win at this game,” Martin said with a grin.
As has become a trend in recent competitions, things are looking favourable for the guests this year.
“Their No. 1 player is No. 1 on the Island and we’re old folk,” Osborne said with a laugh. In the early days Monterey could claim the wins.
These days a younger active Chinese Sliver Threads looks to walk away with the hardware.
“They’ve got some good young players,” Wells said.
But they’ll still win, with competition, fitness and friendship the silver lining.
“It’s very good for people our age to remain active,” Osborne said. “(Table tennis) is one of the best, if not the best, activities to delay dementia.”
“It’s the laughing. It’s the fun,” Wells said.
The sixth annual Friendship Games against the Victoria Chinese Silver Threads will be held at the rec centre, 1442 Monterey Ave., on Aug. 11.