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Oregon Sr. Games Table Tennis

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mjamja View Drop Down
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    Posted: 08/14/2022 at 10:42pm
Last Sat I played in the Table Tennis portion of the Oregon Sr. Games. This is a qualifier for the 2023 National Sr games that will be held in Pittsburg, Pa in July. The games are for people 50 yrs and older. Players are separated into 5 yr age groups (50-54, 55-59, etc). To qualify you must finish fourth or better in your age group. In doubles you are assigned to the age group of the younger player.

I was going to skip playing, but a week before the entry deadline I looked at the registered players and in my age group there were only 3 players in singles, 2 teams in mens doubles teams, and 1 team in mixed doubles. I hurriedly registered and contacted a partner for each doubles event. I was guaranteed National qualification in all three events. At least that was what I thought.

First problem was that both partners I had talked to earlier about playing were not available. I managed to get a mens and a mixed doubles partner, but they were younger. I had to step down from the 65-69 group to the 50-54 group. That is a lot of years to give up. Second problem was that a lot of last minute entries came in so I was not sure if I would qualify now.

I did have a very good mens doubles partner. I think he is rated around 2100. But playing with him was very difficult for me. My job was to basically stand around looking pretty while he hit winners. If you have seen my picture or my videos you know how much of a stretch it is for me to look pretty. I did do well at the standing around part since I have been perfecting that type of footwork for at least 6 years. He did his part very well and we went undefeated in 4 matches to capture a gold medal (they give gold, silver, and bronze medals instead of trophies).

In mixed doubles we employed a very unusal but effective strategy. Although my partner's official rating is about 1100 it is very old and she is much better than that. So in warmups I pretended to be very aggressive and tried to make the opponents think I was the stronger player while she kind of messed around and did not look that good. Once play started opponents generally tried ending points quickly by attacking her. Often they were over aggressive and missed and when they did land attacks she often counter-attacked for a winner. Just like in mens doubles I just got the ball back on the table and waited for her to finish the point. We went 3-1. The team that beat us had a 2100 male player. My "just on the table" shots set him up for attacks my partner could not handle. And when going the other way my shots never put much pressue on his partner and I could not handle his counter-attacks against my partners attacks. However; that team was actually in another age group (they combined some groups in a single round robin to insure more matches). The result was that we won gold in our age group.

In singles there were 6 players in my age group so we had a nice RR group. They must have seeded us alphabetically because I was the A player in the group. In my first 2 matches I started by being down 1-7 in the first game of each match. But I managed to win those and my 3rd match. In the fourth match I was beaten easily by the same 2100 player who later in the day beat us in mixed doubles. I won the 5th match and at 4-1 I finished 2nd in the RR. I was excited about getting a silver medal.

My excitement was a little premature. As I turned in the 5th game match slip the tournament director told me I had to go out and immediately replay the player I had just beaten. Instead of just using the RR results to determine places, the took the top 4 players from the RR and had us play single elimination semi and finals with an added bronze playoff for the losers in the semis. I just was not mentally ready to go again and lost badly to the player I had just beaten. I did manage to win the bronze medal match .  

So my total for the tournament was 2 golds and 1 bronze. I learned that my TT strength is picking doubles partners and per larrytt's teachings I will work on making my strength even stronger ( any 2200-2300 players looking for an 1800 partner please contact me). My TT weakness is basically every thing else in my game. Especially bad is my very passive play. A close 2nd is my inability to deal with any ball to my elbow. So I have lots of things to work on.  

There were 2 highlights to the tournament. Our last mixed doubles match (the one we lost) was the last match of the day. In fact they were taking down the tables and barriers as we played. We were going past the normal closing time for the college rec center we were using. Down badly in the first game I was about to serve when the automatic timer shut off all the lights and put us in that "can't see my hand in front of my face" darkness. Being the brilliant strategist that I am, I immediately called for the match to be cancelled thus preserving our unbeaten record. Sadly someone managed to find a switch and turn the lights back on so we could continue with our only loss.  

The second highlight of the event was the after party. We got free meal and drink tickets at a nearby food truck yard and even had tables reserved for Sr Game paticipants. About 8 players went together and we had good food and even better conversation. I put on a 2400 level eating demonstration downing a lamb gyro and a couple of root beers while spinning tales of table tennis, traveling, and kayaking with dolphins. It was a great day of table tennis and friends both new and old.

Mark - Whose motto is: If you can't beat them, at least tell the best story about what happened.

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talltimber View Drop Down

Joined: 05/25/2021
Location: USA
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Points: 11
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote talltimber Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/15/2022 at 7:52pm
It was great to meet you Mark. Hope that you can make it over to Bend sometime. 
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