Wednesday, March 5, 2008
I have always loved ping pong. In our first house, we started with a ping pong table that spread over the pool table, quickly graduating to a stand-alone table. I remember many hours down in the basement, trying to hard to beat mom and dad, wondering when I could qualify for the Olympics. Wondering if there was a ping pong event in the Olympics.
Time went by. I've gone years at a time without playing, but anytime I see a table I can't wait to find a paddle partner to rally with. At OZ Farm, we had a good late-night thing going, forming alliances--slam it, girl, slam!--and working on the weaker aspects of all our games. I'd play in the barn after Steve and Isaiah had gone to sleep, with baby Miel in the sling.
There are few things that feel as good to me as a great ping pong rally. It's up there with snorkeling for being a "sport." Easy on the body, unwinding on the mind.
So when I saw a sign in town for a Ping Pong Tournament, I promptly signed myself up. As the day approached, I got a little nervous. What if I really sucked? What if people who played in tournaments were actually good and I was just a little good. Did I really want to find this out and shatter my illusions? Steve didn't make things any better when he asked me as I was leaving, "Are you bringing your own paddle? Balls?" "Whaaaaat? I'm not stopping at a store," I replied in my errand averse way.
So I showed up and it was cool. I had a lot of fun and ended up taking 2nd place...pretty satisfying, though of course I wanted to win. No one there ever expected I would do well, showing up with my knitting bag and looking like Mrs. Mom. And I didn't mention that I was a champion of the Dauphin Island Beer Pong tournament (or that I had to toss my cookies in the sand twice in order to get my non-drinker's body through the day). The 12-year-old kid told me point blank he hoped he would play me, rather than Guy 1 and Guy 2 because he wanted the easy match and knew he could take me. "Mmmm-hmmm," I smiled. "I hope we get to play each other, too."
What was really funny was that I was gone from the family from 12:30-5:30 on that Sunday afternoon, hanging out knitting, chatting and playing ping pong all day long. If I would have thought of it in those terms, I never would have let myself go. 5 hours? For ping pong? Too frivolous, I would have reasoned. I could have quality family time, clean my house, do yoga, do some work, start a project, work in the garden. Any number of "productive" things. But I chose to show up and see it through. I felt like I found my peeps, other people who love ping pong, of all things.
The pic is of me and the champ. I couldn't even get a game off him. I'll be a little better prepared next time, Jay! It's already on my calendar for next month.