The American Youth Table Tennis Organization (AYTTO) made its second annual appearance at the 2023 Boston Common Asian American Festival on Saturday, September 9th on a day filled with a sea of blue and red tents and of course, bouncing ping pong balls on two blue table tennis tables! Despite the summer heat compounding the effect of the air’s slightly damp feeling, Boston Common was bustling with people checking out booths of fresh food, arts, fashion, cultural organizations, and services, all positioned close to a stage of live performances.
The smooth surface of the tables reflected the soft light of white clouds sailing across a pale blue sky, which hinted at rain near the end of the six-hour event, which began with a morning parade at 10 and ended with other festivities around 4 later that afternoon. Throughout the day, hundreds of people of all ages passed by the table tennis booth and were introduced to the dynamic racket sport! Across from the AYTTO booth of the Asian American Festival were stands upon stands of savory concessions, which ranged from boba teas to sizzling lamb kabobs. Grass carpeted the floor as the constant sound of the ball accompanied roaring musical performances, and the soft green kept the ball tethered in the area.
Stacks of new JOOLA-sponsored DIY racket kits filled the AYTTO booth and thanks to Pongspace, we were able to hand out over 50 JOOLA paddles to children who came by and played. As visitors approached the table tennis tent, a large purple JOOLA banner was strung alongside one of AYTTO’s banners, and everyone could choose from a box of JOOLA paddles and ping pong balls to take with them to the tables in front of the booth. Throughout the event, AYTTO Massachusetts coordinator Jasper Wong, NCTTA photographer Dennis Yanga, and AYTTO CEO Thomas Hu helped run the table and encouraged people to pick up paddles of their own. There were smiling kids and adults alike enjoying the free play outside, and many of the organizers and experienced players including national team player Krish Gandhi helped young kids learn to play.
Thank you to the Asian American Association of Boston for hosting the 13th edition of this wonderful community event, AYTTO for helping bring people together through this lifelong sport, and JOOLA for sponsoring free paddles for kids! The success of the AYTTO booth wouldn’t have been possible without the dedicated support of Jasper Wong, Dennis Yanga, Thomas Hu, and the countless community members who joined in for a fun-filled day of table tennis!
Photos courtesy of Dennis Yanga: https://photos.app.goo.gl/MqjTJnkxPNKrANSC7