On Saturday, Feb 17th I took the family up to Evanston Wyoming for the 2007 Chinese New Year Table Tennis Tournament. I forgot how long it takes to get through the tournament. Cathi was exceptionally patient. We started out with Austin and I as a doubles team. Jacob found a partner, Braxton who was very patient and a good sport.
Austin and I played Paul and Javza. Paul is from Rock Springs, WY, and Javza a BYU student. Austin and I played quite well together and I think we shocked the two of them. We barely lost 2 - 3 with many of the games very close and the last game being a deuce game. The next game we played Aaron and Mike Pratt. We lost 0 - 3 and not so happy about those games. Aaron likes slow play with lots of spin and that messed with Austin a bit. And my friend and nemesis Mike Pratt played his typical game. So the doubles went quick for us. Jacob had a quick double loss too.
After that I played a guy in the qualifying round and lost 2-3 and then won another guy which put me in the B division. There were four divisions (C, B, A and Open)
In the B Division I played 4 people (8 people total in the bracket). The games of note were when I played Varghese Pallathu. I've seen him at the club many times and noticed his game. He is a good player, and I knew it would be tough to beat him. I lost the first two to him. I didn't enjoy the pace we were playing so I picked it up. I would set him up with a chop and come back with a forehand smash. This strategy worked fantastic with him and I was able to win the next three games for the match. Many of those points were "tickers" or net shots which are quite frustrating for the opponent. I've been in that situation and knew how frustrating it can be to be so close to victory and missing it. In that situation it is hard to not get violent.
I then played Justin and lost to him 0 - 3. That was puzzling because in the last tournament in SLC I beat him in the qualifying rounds 3-0. He has really improved. The next game I had to play Varghese again since he lost to somebody and we were both in the losers bracket. This time I played the same way I did the last few sets with him and won 3-0. That win put me at #2 in the division.
I had to play Justin again. This time if I beat him two matches in a row I could win the division. Worst case scenario is I take second. So the pressure was off a litle. I played hard and found that when Cathi watched, or Ryan Gubler watched our match I played better. I won the first match 3-0 and I heard Justin say "Times have changed!". So I had to simply beat him one more time for first place. The second match I won 3-1. Ended at @8:00 and it was a long day, but I felt very good about today's tournament and got a 1st place plaque.
I am grateful for the family being patient staying so long. I promised them we would go swimming but I forgot the pool closed at 4:30 so we missed the chance. I was especially impressed with the facility's staff. They were patient with the kids running everywhere and shared the tournament food with them. The tournament director's we well organized and kept things moving. Overall a fun experience and a great day although it was quite long.
Pictures (Sorry about the quality, the flash wasn't very energetic):