Table Tennis

There was a very awkward moment between 2 grown men playing ping pong. Both were muscle bound jerks (not “jerks” but that’s how they looked), dawning tatoos and wearing wife beaters. I was passing the ping pong table toward the corridor which leads to the Men’s locker room when I decided to join these two men and plomped myself down on the bench nearby. They were lobbing the ball back and forth to each other without any gusto and the only reason I knew they were playing a game was because someone said…
Is it 2-1 or 3-1?
The man in the White wife beater was a worse player than the man in the Black wife beater. He hit his ball into the neat. His serve landed off the table. He had a weak backhand and his forehead was nothing to write home about. Worse though, he let his mistakes get to him. A good athlete knows you need to stay positive. Be light. Buoyant. If you’re not making the lay-ups, If you missed your hole, If you struck out, don’t get down on yourself. The man in the White wife beater was taking his poor playing very hard. He looked like he might go home and indeed, beat his wife. After
two points more, the man in the Black wife beater looked at me…
You want to play?
Sure, I’ll get winners.
White wife beater: I don’t want to play anymore.
Black wife beater: The game’s not over.
White wife beater: It’s ok.

Did White wife beater sit down? No.
Did he make his way to the bench? No.
Did he stand there acting as if he didn’t care while looking his friend in the eye begging, Please, Please, stop this game! You’re killing me! Yes.
He was a broken man. His mind had made the idea to quit but his body, acting out of complete survival couldn’t allow himself to seem weak. I guess he was waiting for a head nod from Black wife beater. Or a “no problem.” Even a “fine,” but nothing. Nothing was said for four lovely seconds, while he stood there, paddle in his hand, holding on to the ball he had just hit into the net which now made the score 3-10 not in his favor.
{I realize that he may come across this site by accident, read this post and beat my wife but I’m not afraid cause he doesn’t know my name}
Breaking the silence, I zipped my bag open, got my racket, replacing the White wife beater quitter, who head-up, strolled over to the wall and leaned back like he was James Dean.

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