Humans of Blair: Blair's world-renowned ping pong athlete

Nov. 18, 2023, 6:35 p.m. | By Silvan Unger | 8 months ago

Stanley Hsu represents America for Team USA ping pong, and is a sophomore at Blair

Sophomore Stanley Hsu has been playing table tennis since the age of three years old.

The International Table Tennis Federation is hosting the 2023 World Youth Championship from Nov. 26th to Dec. 6th in Nova Garcia, Slovenia. Each continent sends its two best athletes. One of them attends Montgomery Blair High School.

Sophomore Stanley Hsu has been playing table tennis since the age of three years old. His relationship with table tennis has grown as he continues to play. “It’s always been fun since the very beginning, but I never really had a competitive spirit until I realized that it was something I wanted to pursue,” he said. 

He now plays around 20 hours a week with 2-hour practices after school and 6-hour practices on the weekends. When asked what a world-class table tennis player does to train, he described the fast pace of the game. “I hone my muscle memory because I don't have time to think about what I’m doing during the play,” he said. 

Don’t be fooled, table tennis is “largely mental.” Hsu describes the intense pressure that mounts as matches intensify. Playing ping pong with friends may sometimes feel stressful, but five matches into a tournament to qualify for the world championship with a coach to your right and a crowd watching is on a whole other level. 

Strategy comes into play as Hsu tries to decimate his opponents by adapting and trying to find holes in their play. At such a high level, many of his peers have near-perfect technique so strategy and consistency are what gives him the edge. 

Hsu may be going to the world championships but he still makes time for other things in his life. “I appreciate math and other sciences…so I feel passionate about plenty of other things other than table tennis,” he said. He is excited about his upcoming world tournament but also worried about his upcoming calculus tests.

According to Hsu, dealing with pressure and knowing when to take a different approach have carried over from table tennis to his everyday life. He is able to adapt to a variety of academic situations and has the ability to get to class faster, as he uses his footwork to weave his way through the throngs of people.

So be careful before you go challenging people in ping pong at Blair, because you might just run into Hsu.

Last updated: Nov. 18, 2023, 6:37 p.m.

Silvan Unger. What's up! I'm Silvan [he/him], and I'm a writer for SCO. In my free time, I enjoy wrestling, white water kayaking, serving as class president, and theater. If you know any card games, I promise you I will beat you in all of them More »

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