In an attempt to foster some kind of team bonding or maybe just to foster more competition and division by nationality (depending on if you catch me in a optimist post-chocolate mood, or a pessimistic Cola Light craving state) Dave’s team spent part of yesterday in an elaborate Ping Pong tournament. Although Dave had no idea how elaborate until he arrived there, poorly equipt and sorely untrained.
In defense of Dave’s ignorance, the usual tone of a non-hockey related get together with a team has more to do with a bit of masculine banter, perhaps a friendly wager and at least a couple alcoholic beverages. In North American terms, Ping Pong is in a category somewhere with bowling, darts, pool, and shuffleboard. In other words, these games are generally classed more as ‘activities’ than ‘sports’. These activities are, except at the elite levels, more of a means for socialization rather than a sweat-inducing battle. But, as is both wonderfully and painfully obvious, we aren’t in North America anymore.
Firstly, this tournament was no casual get together, it was a highly organized bracket system with professional grade equipment. Secondly, all the participants were dressed in athletic gear. Gym shorts, running shoes and possibly sweat bands with water bottles to ward off dehydration. Many even had their own paddle, shined up and brought of it’s special case just for this event. According to Dave, the Canadian and American imports were more obvious than usual, what with their jeans and t-shirts, without monogrammed paddles. And it was then that they learned that Germans not only take Ping Pong seriously, but indeed learn to play in school. They are literally training to kick Ping Pong ass while Canadian students are passing notes playing Red Rover.
And although I’m sure he gave his all, Dave, usually a fairly athletic and able competitor, didn’t even win a game, let alone a match. Egal!