1980s Girl Ping-Pong Champ Rises Again

Many years ago, at a small summer swim club, an unassuming teenage girl learned to play Ping-Pong. She wasn’t an athlete. Rarely earned a ribbon at a swim meet. Was known for getting out her aggressions on the tennis backboard, but never played against a single, real foe.

Then one fine summer, she dominated at the Ping-Pong table. In fact, that year, she was proclaimed “girl champ.” Top of her game.

A fine summer indeed.

Today, nearly a quarter of a century later, that champion found three new foes – tough and agile at 6, 10 and 11.

The six-year-old played her first. He added rules in-play. He threw all he had at her. Even saw things that might not have happened. Added imagined points. But the champ held on.

The ten-year-old tried his slams on her. Tricked her with crazy serves that spun. Laughed to disarm her. But the champ held on.

Then, as the eleven-year-old battled fiercely in a two-point match all the way to the finish, she revealed, “Well, I was the girl Ping-Pong champ at my pool when I was a kid.”

“Well that explains it,” he said, relieved.

“You never told us!” said the ten-year-old, suddenly reconsidering his recent loss. Not too shabby when it’s against the champ, eh?

And when that 11-year-old shook the champion’s hand, conceding a narrow defeat, he said, “It’s okay, mom. I had a good swim meet today. I am still in a really good mood.”

“Me too.” It looks like another fine summer lies before us.

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