Off the Record
The Ping Pong Showdown24/12/2007 16:58:50
I looked at my opponent with great wariness. He has shown his tremendous skill at this game. He has used much trickery in deceiving me with his great serves.
My brow started to sweat. I was feeling the heat. He had match point and his look was one of steely determination.
I held my paddle and my thoughts raced back to a few moments ago.
It was with great fanfare that the small truck drove up to my driveway and delivered a brand-spanking new ping-pong table. It was a nice blue colour, and the two sides of the table separated and folded up nicely and very professionally.
The sounds of a fun ping-pong game between my kids and I attracted the ears of the neighbourhood. Blinds and windows started opening and heads popped out. It isn’t every day that we get to welcome a ping-pong table into the neighbourhood.
Then out of the blue this guy came over. He was armed with his own ping-pong bat. We looked at each other, and like two ping-pong veterans, we knew that the game was on.
My kids scampered away, leaving one side of the table just for him.
We rallied for a while, and I couldn’t help but notice how polished his rallies were and how good his technique was.
Then he looked at me silently, and I got the message.
He served. It was a beautiful serve with the most trickiest bounce I’ve seen. I was caught out.
“One-zero”, he said lazily, like it was a given that he would always win the very first point.
I heard a whisper in my ear. “He’s the no.1 player amongst his peers”. Oh man, I muttered to myself, I am going to be shamed in front of my neighbours on my own new ping-pong table!
We had a great battle in the first set. He was leading 9-5 at one point until I managed to catch up, all out of breath, and beat him 12-10.
I was feeling confident, maybe even slightly cocky, pleased that I had beaten this “no.1 player amongst his peers” person. My head was flying, thinking extreme thoughts that maybe I should even try out for the national team or something.
Zoommm he returned my first serve of the second set with a huge smash. I picked up the ball with an aching feeling that now he has picked up his game.
My hunch was true. He beat me 11 – 6 in the second set.
The third set was up. He looked at me, smiled, and then gave a serve that I couldn’t even describe. I was down 6 – 0 within one minute.
I fought back gallantly. I fought back as hard as I could. I fought back for my pride! I was NOT going to lose to this guy, no matter how good he was! This was my ping-pong table goddamit and I WILL WIN!
I fought back to 9 – 5. Then, with a naughty twinkle in his eye, he gave me two powerful serves and I lost.
I hung my head down. But then I thought, it’s not so bad. He IS the no. 1 player amongst his peers. I lost to a pro.
Then he spoke.
“Uncle, sorry but I got to go home. My mummy is calling.” He rushed off.
Yes, I lost to a 10-year-old kid.