Feb 26, 2007

My Grandpa's Ping-Pong Story

My Grandpa (father to my mom) passed away in 2000. I missed saying goodbye to him because it took so many hours to get from Israel to Florida. Ironically, my wife knows someone else who had a very similar story about missing his grandpa. I was thinking of him today so I will retell one of the stories that my grandpa always forgot that he had told me already.

My grandfather was from New York, but he went to medical school in Canada in the 1930's. Upon arriving at medical school, my grandfather decided to be social by participating in some of the activities on campus. He was not very athletic so he avoided the more physical sports such as basketball, etc... Then he came across an advertisement for a tournament that sounded up his alley. He signed up for the intramural ping pong tournament on campus.

You might ask yourself, "So?"

He had no clue how to play Ping-Pong.

You might ask yourself again, "So?" Just read on and you'll see.

Grandpa was randomly matched up with his opponent through the tournament and he showed up to the Ping-pong room ready to play, but with little clue other than it was like miniature tennis. It was supposed to be a social vehicle, right?

The fellow he met there was very nice and introduced himself to my grandpa. They shook hands and chatted. Then they played the first game scheduled for the round. The winner would be the best out of five games.

Grandpa lost 21-0. (Yikes!)

The fellow smiled and said something like, "Friend, we can't have the score look like that. Let's report it as 21-19. That'll look better." My grandfather agreed and allowed the fellow to record the false score to save his face. I should note that no one else was there to witness this or subsequent events.

The next game, my grandpa lost 21-0 again. (Double Yikes!)

This time the fellow again suggested a doctored score. They recorded 22-20. My grandpa was two games down. He'd have to learn how to play quickly to stay in the game! (Go Grandpa!)

He did not learn how to play. The next game, the score was again 21-0 and my grandpa was knocked out of the tournament. (Aw, shucks!)

The fellow was very sportsman-like and offered once again to fudge the scores. This time the score was 21-18.

They shook hands, chatted a bit and went on their way after submitting the scorecard to the tournament officials.

My grandpa did not think much about the games after that and probably tried to put the whole humiliating event out his mind as he focused on gross anatomy and the function of the pancreas.

Soon afterwards, he saw the headline on the front page of the sports section of a national Canadian newspaper:

(Any inaccuracies in the story should be attributed to me, the grandson, who never wrote down the story until now. All scores are approximated...but you get the idea. I'm sure my mom, aunt and grandma may have some adjustments which I may add later...)


acaligurl said...

that is a great story! *smile*

Julie said...

Why haven't I ever heard this story before?