The Scene: Table tennis offers fun, games, exercise and more

Barely a day goes by that we aren’t persuaded to try some new transformational way to exercise and stay healthy, even “in the privacy of your own home,” as some of the advertisements claim.

They might be fads, maybe they are superior to anything else out there, but at its core, this notebook item is all about old school.

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This is a reminder of the simple pleasures of exercise available to anyone at any age.

Remember table tennis? The people who show up three times a week at Big Island Table Tennis Association at the YMCA rediscover those simple joys the game has for all ages.

“We are always interested in more people,” said Lory Hunter, president of the BITTA for the last 18 months. “Everybody gets along, everybody plays with everybody, the top players will always hit with those who are newer and you might get some tips along the way.”

Hunter and husband Stewart, retired from the Navy, moved here 20 years ago and his devotion to the game eventually drew her in.

“He was always going off to play a couple times a week and it got to the point where I thought I should go see what was going on,” she said. “It didn’t take much and I was hooked.”

Stewart had played as a kid and then again in the Navy and jumped back into the game in Hilo. These days when he goes to the YMCA for table tennis sessions — Tuesday 1:30-4:30 pm, Saturday 3-8 pm, Sunday 5:30-8 pm with a $5 drop in fee — he packs three shirts because it doesn’t take long that the cardio involved makes your shirt look like you just went through a car wash, without the car.

The Hilo group, with about 20 devoted members, have their sites set on the 2019 Big Island Open in Waimea from April 5-7 when five players ranked in the island’s Top 10, will seek to improve their standing.

None of them, Hunter freely admitted, is prepared to challenge Hawaii’s best, Carlos Ko from Oahu, who routinely competes for national awards and championships.

But in Hilo, this is definitely an all-ages sport, with 95-year-old Nancy Kasamoto playing on a regular basis in the low impact game that gets the blood pumping and the heart beating.

The other big event for the island is the November meet at Honomu Gym for the Hawaii Island Open and Aloha State Championships.

That event draws anywhere from 30-50 contestants and last year featured players from Japan, Alaska and California.

For more information, call Hunter at 808.961.2816.

There They Go Again: A month into the Kupuna league softball season, Hilo Pomaikai has picked up right where it left off last season, recording an unbeaten start through its first six games.

In 2018, Pomaikai won the first half standings with a 20-0 record, then went 12-1 in the second half, before knocking off Kona Gold to win the county championship.

They are a year older, but they haven’t lost a step, or so it would appear, with a 6-0 record in the new season heading into the weekend.

Run To Sign Up: The world moves fast, so much going on and everything needs attention, but if you have been meaning to get in a warmup for the Big Island Marathon next month, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to enter the Waikaumalo 7-Mile Challenge and 4-Mile Run Sunday at — surprise — Waikaumalo Park.

They start at 7:30 a.m. and you can afford the $10 entry fee or $5 for members of the Big Island Road Runners.

For further information, check the bigislandroadrunners@gmail.com website or look them up on Facebook.

Now, you can’t say it slipped your mind and you forgot. Go for it.

Number One, Times Two: Those wild and crazy Butts siblings are still at it, challenging waves and surfers, pretty much on a daily basis at Honoli’i, as well as in organized tournaments, which they have been dominating lately.

Most recently, Rumor Star Butts, 15 and younger brother Diesel Butts, 13, each claimed first place in their divisions at the Hawaii Surfing Association’s Banyan meet. Two more first place finishes underscored their No. 1 rankings for Big Island surfers.

Keiki Golf: It’s right around the corner. The course you once knew as Big Island Country Club is now Makani Golf Club and it will be hosting the — deep breath — Big Island Invitational Keiki Fun Golf Tournament, a stroke play event overseen by Big Island Invitational Pro-Am & Golf Tournament.

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It happens March 10, with the first tee time at 12:26 p.m., with an 11:30 a.m. check-in time that requires players to check in at least 30 minutes before their tee time.

Send your notes on Big Island athletes, teams, clubs and events worthy of attention to barttribuneherald@gmail.com

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