How I Became The World’s Best Ping Pong Player


Jordan Cruz, Staff Writer

This past winter break, I picked up a newfound love of a sport: ping pong.

Before I started to play more often, I saw the action as being a game or hobby one partakes in, but never a serious sport. Especially when playing with a group of people, it is extremely relaxing and easy to bond over.

Many are confused about what exactly ping pong is and question whether it is even a sport, but I can assure you that the precision and accuracy needed is intense. Also, sudden and sharp movements are needed which definitely make for a decent workout. In short, it can be described as an extremely scaled down version of tennis.

I wasn’t good, by any means. If anything I was absolutely mediocre and was barely able to maintain a good volley. Quickly, I was able to pick up on the movements. It was also very helpful that an extremely skilled and former competition winner was instructing me on how to better my game. After about three days of practice rolled by, there was a visible improvement in my game.

Upon seeing this and being told how great I was becoming, my head began to grow. I was elated and felt indestructible in the ping pong scene. The bright idea came to mind to search for amateur tournaments and it seemed as though the clouds opened up and a beam of sun shone upon my face. There was a small tournament  about two hours away in the city of Delray Beach that accepted walk ons.

When I arrived, it was a huge gym with about fifteen plus tables set up. Some wore jerseys with their names printed on the back while I wore a Publix shirt and camouflage crocs. Clearly, inexperience dripped from the dollar store branded paddle I walked in with.

My first game was a blowout. I had the best game of my career by far, but I lost by a clear landslide. My dreams were crushed but I continued to play the three games left before I was eliminated. Even though I did not win a single game, the bright side was that I finished twenty seventh out of thirty competitors. I didn’t understand why or how, but I didn’t question the fact that I wasn’t in last place.

I walked in with a posse of about five but walked out alone with a broken croc strap. It was a sad day for my ping pong career and I haven’t touched a paddle since.

Bottom line, I never became the best ping pong player in the world but I won the hearts of the crowd and that’s a win in my book.