By Maddie Schaafsma
Jim Patterson is one of the many residents at Park Place, a retirement home next to Timothy Christian High School. About five years ago, Jim was looking for something that would challenge him a little bit more physically than the classes that Park Place offered. Then the idea came to him: Ping-Pong at Park Place.
Getting a ping-pong table wasn’t easy. Jim and another resident headed to Dick’s Sporting Goods to see how much it would cost to buy a ping-pong table. But unfortunately, the tables and equipment were just too expensive.
But Jim Patterson did not give up.
Word soon spread that he was looking for a ping-pong table. One resident, a recent widow, donated the table in memory of her husband who had recently passed away. Her husband was once the Director of Athletics at a local high school and had a passion for the game of ping-pong. A plaque with ‘In Remembrance of Jack’ carved into it now hangs on the table.
Supplied with a ping-pong table and all the equipment they needed, the residents were ready to start playing. But there was one thing missing: More players.
Timothy had been building relationships with Park Place since the building opened in 2011. Many students worked there after school and groups of students went over as often as possible to chat with the wise residents. Mr. Jay Evenhouse, the Director of Alumni Relations and the liaison between Timothy and Park Place for inter-generational programming, saw the need for ping-pong players.
The whole idea seemed natural—Timothy students could play ping-pong with the residents. With a sign-up list full of names hanging outside the Timothy Christian High School office, the kids were ready to play.
Every ping-pong game goes by “senior rules,” where the resident form their own rules so it’s easier for them to play. The residents love teaching the game to students and also having the students around to chase the runaway balls. And everyone always gets the chance to play.
“They’re very, very nice kids,” one resident shares. “We get the cream of the crop here at Park Place.”
Everyone is welcome and the residents are a tough match and are always looking for a challenge. And every other Wednesday, Timothy students are invited to take them on for Ping-Pong at Park Place.
About the author: Maddie Schaafsma, junior at Timothy Christian Schools, has attended TC since pre-school. She has been playing soccer all her life and has been on Timothy's Varsity team since freshman year. Writing is her passion, and she hopes to be a reporter for ABC news one day! Above all, Maddie strives to serve and glorify the Lord in all she does.