Table tennis enthusiasts gather to honor beloved Merrill pastor - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Table tennis enthusiasts gather to honor beloved Merrill pastor

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KRONENWETTER, Wis. (WAOW) -

Over 60 different table tennis teams from all over the Midwest filled the gym at Northland Lutheran High School to honor Jim Weiland, a beloved Merrill pastor who died from a car crash in January.

The yearly event by the Badger State Sports changed the name to the 'Jim Weiland Table Tennis Tournament.'

Weiland was a beloved pastor in the Merrill community for 22 years and picked up a table tennis racket whenever he could.

"The first thing that comes to mind is that he is just a man of the people," said Brian Weiland, son of Jim Weiland.

Brian reflected back on the man that his father was. According to Brian, his father's devotion to the sport of table tennis was incomparable.

"When I was born, my mom had to call him out of table tennis to come to the hospital," Brian said.

Although Brian enjoyed playing basketball he knew that he would soon be following into his father's footsteps.

"It wasn't until much later on that dad influenced me to take up the sport too," Brian said.

Nearly three months after Jim passed away, the Badger State Games found a way to honor him.

"Not only playing and being an accomplished table tennis player, he was all about educating and getting the young kids involved and that is what we have today," said Badger State Games event director Nick Ockwig.

Brian thought this was the most appropriate way to honor his father's legacy.

"When Nick from Badger State told me they are hoping to name it the Jim Weiland Table Tennis Tournament from here on, I couldn't hold back the tears," Brian said.

According to Brian, this is a game Jim will always be known for.

"I have heard that people from all over the country when they think of Wisconsin table tennis that my dad is who is thought of," Brian said.

All proceeds collected during the weekend's games will go towards new equipment for the Wausau Table Tennis Association.

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