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Ode to My Opponent

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Photo of table tennis player Simon Gerada

There would be nothing to celebrate without an opponent!

© 2007 Greg Letts, licensed to About.com, Inc.
I am your opponent.
  • I am the guy who first showed you what table tennis was all about.

  • I am the player you wanted to be when you first started.

  • I am the maniac who melted down on court and you decided you would never end up like.

  • I am the elite player who stomped on you every chance I could get, to stop you from getting cocky.

  • I am the intermediate player who backed off a little to allow you to play some good rallies and encourage you when you were first starting.

  • I am the one who said you'd never make a table tennis player.

  • I am the person who said you had a talent for the sport.

  • I am the guy who offered you the best tip you ever got.

  • I saw you play your first faltering strokes, and I watched you move up through the ranks towards the top.

  • I noticed when you went through your phase of searching for the perfect rubber, and told you to practice more instead.

  • I am the person who gritted their teeth but said nothing when you were obnoxious during a match.

  • I saw you get your first win, and I watched you receive your first defeat.

  • I was there when you played the match of your life.

  • I watched you when you played a pressure match and choked.

  • I was on court when you were choking but refused to give up, and you found a way to win.

  • I admired you when you called the edge ball against yourself when the match was in the balance.

  • I am the one who tested your self-control by saying your edge ball missed.

  • I am the person who showed you that funny rubber isn't all that funny to play against.

  • I am the guy who first introduced you to the effect of speed glue up close and personal - from a mere 9 feet away.

  • I do drive you nuts by stalling between points.

  • I am that person who doesn't train but is still better than you are.

  • I am that guy who always beats you 11-9 in the final game.

  • I am that player who always plays better against you than anyone else.

  • I do play a crazy style that drives you nuts.

  • I was there when you snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.

  • I was on court when you had multiple match points and blew it.

  • I am the guy who just can't beat you, but still thinks that this time will be different.

  • I am the person who almost always loses to you, but has to give you advice about your game anyway.

  • I am the one who will give you a smile and a hearty handshake after every match, win or lose.

  • I am the guy who won't look you in the eye and barely touches your hand after a game.

  • I am the one who goes home after losing to you.

  • I am the player who sticks around after losing to you and cheers you on in your next match.

  • I am the person who wouldn't hit up with you because you weren't good enough.

  • I am also the person who hit thousands of balls back to you over the years to help you improve.
Over the years, I have challenged, frustrated, taunted, congratulated, and applauded you. We have been friends, enemies, and total strangers.

I am not perfect, no more than you are. I will beat you whenever I can. But we are bound together by our love for this sport. Without me, you would never have been the player you are now. Your highs, your lows, and everything in between would not have been possible. Remember that the next time you come to shake my hand when the battle is done.

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