Sunday, August 8, 2010

Game, Set, Match.

There's something I have to tell you. Something pretty important. Something that could potentially change our relationship....but I hope you can look past it, and just treat me like the same old Courtney you've always known (and loved).

I am a former Ping Pong Champion...specifically:
Heritage Middle School's Seventh Grade Gym Class Table Tennis Tournament Winner 1997.

Now, I probably should have told you, but I just wanted us to have a normal friendship. No autographs, no constant pestering about the glory days, no question of "do they like me for me? Or is all because of my super-human talent?" It's simpler for me to forget about the fame, and just lead a regular humble life.

But that doesn't mean I ever forgot the thrill of the table tennis world. The smooth handle of a paddle in my hand. The sweet sound of "ping", "pong" in my ears. In fact, I couldn't listen to Enrique Iglesias's Do You Know? without longing for my sport. A life without ping-pong is one thing, but giving up Enrique? That's just too much

So I attempted to revisit the joys of my childhood by purchasing a table from Craiglist. The seller- Shirley- was about the sweetest old thing you could ever meet. She and her husband purchased the table brand new (she claims in the early 70's, but I think it might be closer to the 50's. I mean...look at the box....and the typewriter printed instructions):

Either way, that is some official stuff. In her email to me, she gave me advice on pick up:

Heavy. Truck needed to move it plus some sturdy guys to take it out of the basement.
Dustin and I took that to mean:

Not that heavy. You and your husband should have no problem dragging it up
the basement steps, and strapping it to the roof of your car.
So after paying the kind woman $25, (probably the exact amount she originally paid), turning down her generous offer of home-grown tomatoes, but accepting the free chocolates she hid in the paddle box for us (what's with grandparents pushing candy?) that's exactly what we did.

We actually did it with little bickering, and no injuries. (For what it's worth, Shirley remembers bringing the table home with her husband, and said navigating the basement stairs involved some "choice words" on their part.

But we made it all the way home, without incident. After one full basement clean out (thank you Dustin!) plus a little assembly time, we were in business.

We celebrated our new purchase with an inaugural game. Dustin of course, knew he would have to bring his A-game to compete with such a legend. And I, being the true competitor that I am, couldn't allow myself to go easy on him. We faced off, and the memories came flooding back. The swift "crack" of the paddle on a strong serve...the thrill of landing a spin-shot right off the corner...points racking up, an imaginary basement audience cheering as my paddle almost invisibly darted left-right-left-right....I could almost taste the sweetness of victory after all these years.....Game point.....the suspense.....

He won 21-11.

I hang my head in washed-up shame (and contend that the sun was in my eyes).


  1. The basement tends to be an overly sunny place. Jay is quite the ping pong enthusiast...maybe it's time for a ping pong party!!!

  2. Who is the shirtless handyman you and Dustin got to install that thing. Yowzers! Put a shirt on with those ripped muscles D. This is a family blog. :)

  3. ORourke: 1, Bowdens: 0
    Except for when I accidentally hugged Dustin tonight...that was a real loser for everyone.

  4. my buff handyman and I are always up for a ping pong party. We will lose to make you all feel better. (or maybe just because we're not that good....)

  5. Just so you know... the talent is in your genes. I was ping pong silver medalist, Davidson dormitory 'C', Rutgers University 1972. ;)