International Ping Pong

My wife is good and my son very good at this sport. He beats all of his friends most of the time with a variety of spin, quickness and, when appropriate, a well placed slam. So imagine his joy when we discovered that this resort had a daily tournament.

Who knew however that the caliber of play at a resort lunchtime tournament would be so high and have so many countries represented. As we were watching the warm-ups, we first came upon The Russian. The Russian was a woman in her early to mid-sixties who claimed to have been a seven time Russian/Soviet champion. She was of average height, almost as wide as tall and to be generous I will call her stocky. She reminded me of the images of Soviet and east German women participating in the Olympics in the 1970s and early 1980s.  She had quick hands and an iron will. We would see her from time to time carrying the case holding her personal paddles. Only one time during her stay did my son D see her without her paddle. More on that later.

There was a Russian male in the tournament—as there were many at the resort. There were the typical Canadians and New York New Jersey contingent. For a boy from Evanston, IL, NY/NY were close to being foreign countries.

Two of the best were a father and son originally thought to be French but later discovered to be French speaking Swiss. The boy, about age 14, was in a special ping pong club back home. Both father and son were excellent competition.

Thinking that all I was missing was a typical resort tournament I had retired to my lounge chair, sunshine and my book. It was only later that I found out that D beat the Swiss boy in a closely fought final. I was told that there had been several outstanding matches. The Swiss boy had beaten his father in the semis.

The remainder of the week brought more exciting ping pong. One day D was handily beaten by Swiss dad but another he won the tourney again.

Watching became a highlight of the day. Who would have expected to find Russians, Swiss, Canadians and Americans battling it out— just for fun?


PS. My son saw the Russian without her paddle. Topless on the beach. A scary sight says he. Maybe her way of intimidating other players.



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