Instructor nets sixth-place finish in tournament
pong4.jpgFour against the world. OK, so it was actually four foreign teachers against a couple dozen Chinese students and teachers in the November Sias Ping Pong Tournament. The foreign faculty members of Sias International University, who are used to dominating the American-born sport of basketball, knew they were in for some stiffer competition in the Asian-dominated game of ping pong. “I think we were emotionally ready for defeat,” Jonny Carroll said with a smile. “We made all the necessary preparations.” The quartet of Americans, led by Gabe Hall, combined for seven victories during the three-day tournament. Hall finished with three match wins, which was good enough for sixth place in the tournament. “I think (the Chinese) take it more seriously,” said Hall, teaching his second year at Sias. “It’s not a recreational game (like in the United States), to them it’s life.” Steve Turpin and Carroll picked up two wins each, and Nick Kaisharis played well, including forcing a decisive game in a match. “There was a big gap in skill level between the top players and us,” returning teacher Turpin said. gabe.jpg First-year instructor Kaisharis added: “When you played some really bad player, they wanted to pound you. But this one dude I lost to was super cool. When a funny thing happened on a shot, we’d both laugh.” The foreign instructors had played ping pong in the United States, but quickly learned there is a big difference between East and West. “The Chinese have a much more aggressive serve,” Carroll said. “Our serve was just to get the game going.” Kaisharis added: “Their game focuses on spins, and the American game is movement and power.” All four of the instructors are willing to compete in another tournament, but they would like some time to prepare. “We need to practice a little bit more,” said Hall with a laugh. Maybe they could work on their spins. Story by Kim Orendor

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