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By Bill Schwarz, community contributor
CEDAR RAPIDS — Since the fall of 2010, Stonebridge Church has hosted numerous local, regional and international table tennis players.
The efforts of Stuart Kaump, pastoral staff and others at Stonebridge have made it possible for table tennis players to gather for competition and camaraderie. A diverse group of players gather to enjoy a sport that is extremely fast, with ball speeds reaching better than 80 miles per hour and spinning at the same revolution per minute as a jet engine.
The game is mentally challenging — some say it’s like playing high speed chess — and physically demanding, testing quickness as well as endurance.
The Stonebridge table tennis group consists of players from Cedar Rapids, Marion, Iowa City, Coralville, Mount Vernon, Waterloo and Belle Plaine. The group has an international feel with players born in at least 10 nations.
The group has family combinations, like the Phillip Zhou household that includes wife Rose Dai, son Daniel and daughters Kathy and Savannah, and the David Chung clan with sons Jedidiah, Jacob and Jason.
Leah and Jarol Duerksen are the oldest players at 74 and 75, respectively.
“In 2007, at the age of 59, I had quintuple bypass surgery,” Paul Moore said. “The doctors had given up trying to restart my heart but the anesthesiologist convinced them to try one last time. After surgery I tried different sports, but last year I found some people to play table tennis with at Stonebridge Church.
“I was not very good and they were excellent players. With their patient coaching, and a lot of practice, the game slowly became fun to play and quite the cardiovascular workout. It has helped me feel better physically and has been good for my eyesight. … I have also found table tennis to be a game of clever mental strategy. Your brain really gets a workout.”
Each winter in Dubuque and summer in Ames, the Stonebridge group dominates at the Iowa Games. In 2012, Stonebridge Church earned 20 of 48 medals awarded, winning 10 golds in the summer and winter games.
Players of every ability play Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings at Stonebridge Church, 1829 Stoney Point Road SW. Go to www.stonebridgesite.com and navigate to sports for more information.
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