Ping Pong 2.tif

Dick Roland and John Listerud playing doubles in Webster.

The Village of Webster has many great amenities like a modern library, a dog park, bicycle and hiking trails. There is also a ping pong players group. Who knew?? They've been around without fanfare for four years, but now they're "exposed"!

"Yes, we've kept it quiet," says John Listerud, who is the group's co-founder with his wife, Diane. "She asked [library director] Patti [Meyer] if we could play back in the community room. I thought Patty would have a fit. Instead, she said 'That's a great idea!.'"

The informal group numbers around 15 or so. Anywhere from two to 12 show up on a regular basis. Players are from all walks of life, including a pastor who always plays in a dress shirt and tie. Listerud refers to Ellen Peck jokingly as the group's "executive secretary."

"We play three times a week. Mostly we are older folks, but all ages are welcome," says Peck, who often brings baked goodies to the morning sessions on Mondays and Fridays. "We have young people who come, too." The group also plays on Wednesday afternoons. "The only reason we play then is that we go out for burgers afterward," jokes Listerud.

"Since we're getting larger as a group, there's a possibility we may be moving to the Webster Community Center," says Peck. "We're working on acquiring additional tables." The group will definitely be at the Community Center for Gandy Dancer Days, coming up in August.

On Friday, Aug. 9, the group will host an open session for anyone who wants to come and play from 9 a.m to 2 p.m. They'll show people how to play if someone wants to learn. "Some people bring their own paddles, but there's equipment here if you need it," says Peck. The Lions Club Auxiliary will have baked goods and coffee for sale in the Community Center during the open play hours.

There are health benefits to playing ping pong, it's good exercise and it's great for hand-eye coordination. "You have to move your feet," says Listerud. "Most of these people have been playing for four years now, and they're getting pretty good. When they first started, I could play around with them, Now I have to work! We're competitive playing doubles, and everyone has a good time," says Listerud. “We have lots of laughs, much laughter," adds Peck.

The group plays Mondays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to noon, Wednesdays from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Nexen Community Room at the Larson Family Public Library. There are no fees; equipment is provided. Everyone is invited to the open play during Gandy Dancer Days, Friday, Aug. 9, 9 a.m - 2 p.m. at the Webster Community Center. For additional information, contact John, 952-451-4270.