intro into a new sporting world, and New Year’s

Last weekend was great. I spent a full two days in Chicago with family, then friends, and got to relax and hang out and enjoy life for a bit. Friday morning I drove to Chicago’s McCormick Center to watch my younger brother play table tennis in a national tournament. Unbeknownst to me (and the rest of our family) Adam has been playing in a table tennis league for some time near Platteville, where he’s been at college. He’s played in a few tournaments, learned some really good skills from some friends he has made there and now he plays in tournaments.

So midday Friday I showed up at the tournament to find an extremely diverse group of people playing “table tennis” (the word ping-pong is not allowed) in a huge room at the McCormick Center. They were young and old, extremely fit and a bit fat, Chinese, Polish and American. It was actually one of the most interesting mixes of people I have ever been exposed to.

Adam played well. He beat an 11-year old girl for the title of the under 1100-rated trophy, advanced past an 80-year old man to reach the third round of the under 1300 group, and gave an initially bored-looking Chinese man an exciting run for his money by beating him one game in the 1500 league. It was a long day for Adam, who played on and off from 9 am until 6 pm in more than 10 best of five matches. He took home a trophy and a lot of welcome but uninvited nuggets of wisdom from some of his older opponents. The greatest thing about the tournament was a great sense of good sportsmanship, etiquette and comraderie among the players. Many of them played in small leagues in the Midwest, or met at other tournaments and became friends. Whenever the little white balls flew into another pair’s court or rolled into their paths, they stopped their games, picked up the ball and politely tossed the ball to the other player. The atmosphere was relaxed and happy, competitive but fun.

That was just a part of my weekend, the rest was spent catching up, chatting and celebrating with many close and distant friends from college. It was wonderful, and I wish I could say that my mood for the past few days at work had been relaxed and happy and a bit competitive but fun, but unfortunately, I cannot say that. Maybe tomorrow.

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4 Responses to intro into a new sporting world, and New Year’s

  1. Adam Bruss says:

    Hey this is Adam the table tennis player. Here are a few pictures of me posing to hit a backhand and me with my trophy. These pictures were taken about a week after the tournament and I just back from the YMCA so I’m sweaty. The shirt I am wearing was a free bonus for entering the tournament. If you’re interesting in getting involved in playing in tournaments or joining a table tennis club nearby I could steer you in the right direction.

    backhand pose

    me with trophy

    Also the 11 year old girl I beat was for the semifinal match for the under 1100 event. In the finals I played a portly guy who was in his late forties or early fifties. We had a good five game match with me edging him out for the win.

  2. Laura says:

    Blatant self-promotion on your own sister’s web page. Well, sorry about the mix-up with the tourney opponents, I was trying to remember how all the rounds went, but it was like 2 am, so give me a break. =)

  3. Adam Bruss says:

    I’m impressed at the amount of match details you remembered. Your input on the overall environment of the tournament is how I feel about it too. Sportsmanship, intense competition and camaraderie all describe the scene.

  4. Jack says:

    I was at the tournament the whole day also, and I’ll echo Laura and Adams comments about the atmosphere. As Laura was, I was struck mainly by 2 things – the competitive sportsmanship exhibited and the diversity, both in age and ethnicity. Although I expected to see a fair amount of oriental looking folks, and I did, there also seemed to be a lot of people with Eastern European looks or accents. Also, it was interesting to see kids that looked like they were about 8 years old playing 80 year old men. And the incredible play by the top rated players was a sight to behold.

    All in all it was a very good day, and nice for a guy at my somewhat advanced age to experience something new for the first time.–>

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