Not everyone is lucky enough to have a happy place. A place or an activity where stresses and strains of the outside world never intrude. Or if they do, it is never for very long.
For me, table tennis is my happy place. There is something about concentrating on the little white ball, that pushes all stress away. Table tennis is a sport where it doesn't matter your age, ability or agility- you can still compete and be competitive. Table tennis is a sport that is easy to learn but hard to perfect. It is very like chess- there is quite a bit of strategy mixed in with enormous skill, and the pace is... fast.
Note that I call this table tennis and not ping pong. For me, ping pong is what you play in your basement with your family, or in a bar with your friends. You are relaxed about following the rules.
Table tennis is something different entirely... it is more than a basement game, and much, much more than a bar game. There are strict rules, and sanctioned tournaments, and US Table Tennis ratings, and lessons, and coaching, and... you get the idea.
Over the July 4th week Kevin and I went to Fort Worth, Texas to compete in the US Nationals. We had a blast.
The event was held in the Fort Worth Convention Center.
There were well over 100 tables set up.
Events started on Monday July 3rd- and ended on Friday, July 7th. I competed Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Kevin finished his events on Thursday.
Kevin and I entered the rated 3100 Doubles competition. This was the first time for us to be competing in a doubles event. I was completely intimidated when I realized that for the very first round, we had to play on court 1. I don't EVER expect to play on court 1. So, while HUGELY intimidating, it also was quite the experience. There were 2 umpires, who watched our every movement quite closely. I am so grateful for the experience. (And no we did not win or progress beyond round 1.)
Note our super cute and matching shirts.
Did we win and bring home medals and trophies?
NO. Because that's not why we do this.
We competed and played to the very best of our abilities. We came away from the week filled with enthusiasm for the next tournament- whether it be large like the Nationals, or small like one played at our local club. Table tennis is a very addictive sport.