I walked towards the Table Tennis tables. A cheeky looking boy, and a girl turned to face me. ‘I’d like to play please’ I said smiling. ‘Oh, sure’ they replied. I looked around. The usual suspects; a bunch of young kids and a few brave adults.
‘Right, what’s your name? Do you want to play in the tournament? Here have a quick knock up and then we start’ said Bobby, the boy in charge. There was clearly a schedule to be maintained and Bobby wasn’t going to deviate from it.
I played with J and beat her. ‘Oh, I see: We’ve got a bit of a champion here’, Bobby quipped. ‘Right, P’ he said addressing me, ‘You play with Cabe to start with’. Cabe looked at his mates. ‘Oh, man you gotta play the champ, you gotta play the champ’ they teased.
Cabe hoisted up his shorts and we began. He thrashed me. ‘I expected more from you P, I really did’ Bobby said. ‘Am I out?’ ‘No, you’ve gotta play Kane now’. Kane approached. He held the bat Chinese style and I suspected put a mean spin on the ball. I wasn’t wrong. He thrashed me too.
‘Oh, boy, what’s going on P?’ Bobby said, ‘I had high hopes for you’, then ‘How come you’re here anyway?’ I told him I’d run into a fellow choir member on the street and that she had told me about it. ‘Oh – you can sing can you? Give us a tune then’ he said. ‘Not now Bobby, I need to concentrate – but I did sing Karaoke last week for the first time on my own’. ‘Oh yeah? Was you drunk in a pub somewhere…..how much did you have to drink?’ ‘No, I certainly wasn’t – and I was in a bar in Corfu’. He seemed impressed.
We carried on playing, ‘round the world’ and straight games. Constant teasing from Bobby meant that I was beaten by all the kids but I eventually managed to redeem myself and beat the other three adults in the competition.
Running around in the fresh air at the end of a long day was fun. Within minutes new Table Tennis friends had been formed and promises made to play at seven in the morning.
I told Bobby I’d come and see him in Soho Square where he mans the Table Tennis table. On leaving I was hailed a champ by my new TT friends and J called after me: ‘Ring me tomorrow, I might come to the Ping Pong Ball with you’.