Santa Monica College (SMC) will host the Golden West USA Table Tennis Tournament Saturday and Sunday, March 31st and April 1st, in the SMC Pavilion, 1900 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica.

The tournament is scheduled to be held from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. both days and is free for spectators.

The tournament will also feature a short ceremony at 1 p.m. Sunday, April 1st, celebrating the 36th anniversary of U.S. and China “Ping-Pong Diplomacy” that opened the doors for diplomatic relations between the two countries in 1971, college officials said. The ceremony will be held in the Pavilion.

The late Glenn Cowan, an SMC alumnus and former history teacher in Culver City, was the youngest member of the first U.S. table tennis team to go to China in 1971.

In addition, Jack Howard, the captain of that same team, often plays table tennis at Santa Monica College during its Sunday community “Co-Rec” sports event.

“This tournament and the special ceremony are important because it shows that one small ball can make an impression on a player’s health as well as on international relations,” said Jo Kidd, director of U.S. table tennis tournaments at SMC.

The Golden West tournament, which is expected to draw players from California, Arizona, Hawaii and Tijuana, Mexico, will feature games in four divisions, including collegiate and junior division (for ages eight to 17).

Information, Jo Kidd at (310) 434-4315 or