TEAM NUMBER SEVEN -- DIVISION THREE
Home night: Thursday.
Chris Parmar-Saville (c).
v Leicester Taxes -- 5-5 draw.
In history, the ones who recorded events and dates and wrote the stories altogether were mostly people who were hired to write about it. They were employed by generals, kings, queens -powerful people. Of course, hiring a scribe to write your history comes with a special perk. You can SUGGEST things. You can suggest that they downplay your defeats and shameful moments or erase it altogether. You can also suggest to exaggerate and heroize specific moments of triumph and greatness. A 5 all draw is today’s topic.
Of course, if the Scribe believes in his or her employer, the scribe would have no problem writing the story with the suggestions. I am one of those.
Take the Christmas story, topical I think as I write on the 16th December. Sinners and Tax collectors – that’s how bad tax collectors were. They had their own category. They were considered traitors to their own nation because they were collecting tax for Rome. And as long as the Romans were happy with the tax, they can add any amount of surcharge they wanted for their tax collecting.
Christmas is the story of grace. It’s the story of sinners, of tax collectors, of redemption, of sacrifice and love. Christmas is the story of humanity in its best. This is why we need Christmas. Chris especially needs redemption, currently he is afflicted by a curse that repetitively sees him snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Sacrifice was exemplified by one of our opposition, forced to leave mid match to attend a sick child.
Our Xmas fixture, against afore mentioned tax collectors saw a very rare defeat for Bruce (to me), I don’t need to exaggerate this victory; but even I don’t ever remember playing with quite such focus. I think he brings out the best in you, in that, you want to beat him. He became irate with Martin for calling a let due to noise, he became very frustrated with his partner as we cruised to a doubles victory. He still left with his pound of flesh, but as we’ve done all season at home, we didn’t lose. The tax collector seethed silently as he left.
Very happy holidays to my team mates. Midway, we sit comfortably upper mid table, unbeaten at home, only 2 doubles defeats and Tracey rides high in the singles averages. Martin has battled back from a slow start to play very well recently, notably
at Arnsbey without reward. If Chris can mirror Martin’s resurgence in form come January we could go as high as third..Happy Solstice .Simon
v Abbots Road III -- won 8-2
KP7 tend to hunt mostly by night and, at home, and for much of the rest of the time are the embodiment of lassitude. However, being opportunists they'll hunt whenever the chance arises and that could be the middle of a match that on paper promises little.
Of some significance here is the fact that were are all not very fast table tennis players (Martin occasionally lopes), while by contrast, the players we hunt are some of the fastest on the planet. A teenage player can achieve a top speed of somewhere around 80 kph and maintain it effortlessly and even a humble middle aged adult can manage almost 50kph. In fact such is the disparity between predator and prey that many of the faster species, like Arnesby, or KP’s own teenagers, don't even bother to run away at full speed, which is galling to say the least.
Consequently we have developed two main hunting methods. The first is a version of grandmother's footsteps, in which we stalk from cover to cover, chopping lengthily, with a final burst of speed at the end. The second method is to find a team carrying illness or injury and prey on them, thus it transpired against Abbots Road. Raj, hampered by cold and abscessed tooth was not as effective as usual but played well in pain. Shorn of their leader, his teammates also wilted.
There are however two things that help KP7 considerably. First we’re incredibly good at doubles and secondly, learning to be phenomenally patient. Tracey applied these hunting tactics and took a maximum kill, I matched her, even winning one game from an improbable 7-1 deficit, and won 9-1 in games. Ruthless efficiency and overwhelming fire power on the night, especially in the doubles, last game…11-2.
It could have been 10, Chris fell twice in the 5th having led. So, like lions on the Serengeti we picked of the inflicted, and once we sussed the serves, we mostly took care of Tosh and Bhulesh without too much resistance. KP 7 dined well tonight on Abbott’s meat.
v Arnesby -- lost 1-9.
The match progressed frighteningly quickly. Tracey, stuck in traffic arrived to find us 2 down. Games proceeded like that despite the fact we all agreed we’d “played well”, just not well enough. Tracey grabbed our consolation in the last against Dave Wagstaff. Dave Small and Rhys Emery were ruthless. Martin and I had a chance at 10-8 game 5 to win the doubles but my nerve failed me. So, chastening, but a couple of beers in “the Navigation” afterwards helped.
v KP6 -- Won 7-3
Simon, Chris, Martin all 2. Simon/Martin 1
It seems churlish not to be reveling in a 7-3 defeat of the team above us at KP (for the first time for me), and retaining a doubles record. But I’ll explain.
Back in the sixth century BC, when Babylonia fell, the Persian Empire rose from its ashes and toga-wearing Greek philosophers first started to look quizzically at tortoises, the Chinese sage Lao Tzu delicately laid down the first few brushstrokes of the Tao Te Ching, the text that would go on to become the bedrock of Taoism.
Lao Tzu had faith in the duality of the universe. "When people see some things as beautiful, other things become ugly," he declared. Yin and yang. Each thing must, by its very nature, have an opposite.
So, perhaps that in order to have that I took part in the mouthwatering 5 -5 draw smash fest last time out against Blaby(all over by 9. 30) 2 weeks ago, I had to sit through, play through this: nearly 4 hours of the most tedious, excruciating table tennis imaginable. For what seemed like an eternity, the large clock hanging over the honours board made fun of me. Time stood still. The little hand lazily ticked its way round, trundling through treacle. The match cloyed at the senses.
I didn’t even see Chris and John churn out a 5 game 45 minute epic(stuck at a Y11 parents evening) but I sat through the rest, or took part, and I was equally guilty of negativity...I smashed once against Alec as I worked on the premise he would fall asleep before I did..Rinse, repeat.
Chops were chopped. Pushes pushed. Games all went to 5 in a way a director of SAW 17 might script if he was given table tennis as his brief. Torturous springs to mind. Nets and edges were the evenings best players.
Except when Steve was involved, where the games suddenly came to life, albeit not in his favour, losing in 5 each time...Even Martin, high on a fascinating book about cats, came out of his shell and started smashing...And played really well on the night, better even than Leccy away.
There was another rare moment of excitement when I lost heavily to John, as did Martin, had either of us put up a better fight we would have been there until Friday morning. And, I think a casual observer may have found the doubles watchable as Martin and I kept our 100% record at the expense of our LE2 adversaries.
The poor teams, shell-shocked as they wandered out, were left to contemplate these five chilling words: there will be a rematch.