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Join in ... with Murray Bridge and District Table Tennis Association
Shane Denman invites you to have a go at table tennis, a sport that can be played all year round by people of all ages and abilities.
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As Murray Bridge News arrives at the local showground on a Tuesday afternoon, Murray Bridge and District Table Tennis Association president and captain Shane Denman is busy wiping down tables for the games later that evening.
He’s clearly proud of his club and wants it to be in tip-top condition.
Shane’s competitive in a friendly way, has a cracking sense of humour, and with his dedication to the sport he loves, he’s someone you can admire – in short, he’s a good bloke who’ll make you feel welcome.
His wife and son also play table tennis, but Shane but doesn’t hold back when playing his son.
“Oh, hell, no – if you take it easy, you end up losing,” he said.
“But we don’t play for sheep stations in Murray Bridge. It’s just a fun, social competition.”
When did you first get involved with table tennis?
I’ve been playing since I was 14 at the high school gymnasium. In my mid 20s, I stopped playing, and I was around 35 when I started playing again and got involved with a team here at the showgrounds.
How have you been going lately?
I’ve captained a side every year for seven or eight years. I don’t want to brag, but in the last six years, I’ve won the flag here. We usually have a different team each year, and tonight’s our first round of the season.
What do you get out of your involvement?
I’ve done different sports, but table tennis is my sport now – it’s a sport I love doing. You get a network of people you create friends with and a family of table tennis people. A good mate of mine is in his 70s, and I played Masters with him. And I like playing doubles because if I make a mistake, I can blame someone else.
What is your fondest memory and what is your greatest achievement with table tennis?
My best memory is the people you meet. It’s fun when you have road trips with your mates in the Masters – that’s when you get to know people. But what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
I’ve won multiple medals at the Masters level. I’ve won quite a few premierships and made the nationals in the A-grade in Darwin last year. I didn’t get on top, but I didn’t get smashed either.
What do you hope to achieve with table tennis?
I’m too old to make the Olympics, but the one goal I have is to win a national medal. I’d be happy with a bronze medal, and that could be two to three years away. It might not be achievable, but it could.
I play this all year round, and in the last three years I’ve been playing in Adelaide to improve myself. After a while, if you want to improve, you go to Adelaide where the competition’s a lot higher – the best in the state. I go there twice a week, and I have coaching there with a bloke. You never stop learning.
Why should people join table tennis?
It’s a low-impact sport – we don’t have the concussion factor here. It’s family oriented, it doesn’t cost a lot of money, anyone can play, and you can play at any age. We have a wheelchair-friendly table here, and table tennis is brilliant for autistic people, as they focus on one thing and do it well.
Who can join: Anyone of any age or ability
Where to go: Ken Wells Pavilion, Murray Bridge Showground, 111 Old Princes Highway, Murray Bridge East
When to go there: Training Fridays 7pm–9.30pm; games Tuesday nights
What to bring: Normal sports attire (tracksuits and shoes)
More information: Visit murraybridgetabletennis.org, search for Murray Bridge and District Table Tennis Association on Facebook or phone secretary Steve Hock on 0409 324 450.
Locals support locals. Your support helps Murray Bridge News tell important local stories.