As the saying goes, build it and they will come.
During the weekend of April 26-27, over 120 athletes converged on the house Hayden built, a 17,000-squarefoot table tennis facility in Williamsburg erected by local resident Don Hayden, Jr.
Participating in the 74th Annual Michigan Closed Table Tennis Championship were competitors ranging in age from 10 to 78, representing nearly every geographic location of Michigan.
"It feels great to see this level of competition," Hayden said, who has been playing table tennis for about 30 years. "Everyone that knows about table tennis just can't believe how nice (the table tennis center) is."
Jockeying for a title in the 65 and over singles division was Detroit native Billy Patterson.
The 72-year-old General Motors retiree had small beads of sweat gathering on his forehead, while briskly maneuvering to smack a bright orange ball with a paddle. Patterson aggressively staved off an equally tenacious and competitive Robert Quinn, 78, of Madison Heights.
"Everyone has a different style," said Quinn, who began playing table tennis while serving in the army in 1957. "That's what makes it a unique game, each competitor is unpredictable."
Also playing in the red-and-blue-fashioned facility was Traverse City 12-year-old Alex Sheridan, competing in a semi-finals doubles match with local teammate and 42-year-old Paul Everts.
"I love everything about this game," said Sheridan, who began playing table tennis in October, when the facility opened its doors. "I believe it's the fastest moving game in the world."
Alex and his brother Andy Sheridan, 13, are two of about 40 youths who are being coached to play the sport.
Hayden said a key goal in opening the table tennis center is to introduce the sport to a new generation of Americans, whom often fall short in competition to their European and Asian counterparts.
"I'd like to get a lot of young kids playing and change what happens to table tennis," Hayden said.