While many ping pong tournament winners earn the right to brag or a small prize, the recent one at Miguel Contreras Learning Complex on Wednesday ended with a photo and autograph from a future Hall of Famer.
The tournament was part of the 2022 Los Angeles Dodgers Love L.A. Community Tour, which had Clayton Kershaw make a stop at the high school.
The local school was unveiling a new literacy corner that included a Kershaw’s Challenge ping pong table donated by the charity’s sponsors. It was accompanied by a donation from the signed ping pong table that was auctioned off after the Ping Pong 4 Purpose event earlier this month.
The students held the tournament with the new table, and the winner was able to play against and meet the Dodgers’ southpaw. The visit also included Kerwshaw cutting a ceremonial red ribbon to officially mark the opening of the center.
“Well I think they did such a great job with the space, the after-school program,” Kershaw said. “I think Ping Pong was something that I had a ton of fun doing when I was in high school. And so I think it’s just a great thing for kids to do.
“I think it does a lot of things, it’s a fun sport. I think a lot of people can do it of any talent level, which I think is fun, too. And then I think at the end of the day, to be able to have kids be active is awesome, too.
“So thankful I got to come out and see it, thankful I got to see the learning center. I think they did a great job with this space, and we’re thankful that we could be a small part of it at Kershaw’s Challenge.”
Kershaw took photos and signed autographs for other students, and they received Dodgers shirts and hats commemorating the community tour. After the ping pong tournament concluded, Kershaw signed the corner of the donated table.
“It was beautiful,” assistant principal for global studies Macky Lasmarias said of the visit. “I’m texting some of my friends and they’re saying you got to get an autograph with the GOAT, but this is wonderful that he donated a ping pong table for our school. Our center here looks beautiful for the kids to have a space for them to have fun.”
With the literacy corner now open, Lasmarias can’t wait for students to enjoy the new space and believes it will have a positive impact on them both now and in the future.
“Just a place for our students to come and hang out and stay off the streets,” Lasmarias said. “Just give them an option to do something positive and connected to Miguel Contreras.”
Dodgers community tour events
Kershaw visiting Miguel Contreras Learning Complex was part of the Dodgers’ 18th annual community tour, which also included a three-stop tour from Freddie Freeman and his family, and multiple other players working to give back to the community.
“I think the Dodgers do a great job engaging in the community,” Kershaw said. “And what the Dodgers mean to the community too, so it’s fun to be a part of that. And then the platform that we have to be able to do that too is pretty cool.”
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