If you don't want to read this summary, but want to see some good shots click here for some video clips of the tournament.
Thursday David To (a co-worker of mine) picked Austin, Jacob and myself up at 11 to head down to Cedar City. The tournament didn't start until Friday so we just relaxed the first evening.
Friday morning Austin and Jacob played in their 14 and Under, as well as the 17 and Under divisions. Austin took 4th in the 17 and Under and 1st in the 14 and Under divisions.
Jacob took 4th in the 14 and under division. Austin was extremely annoyed at losing one particular game and I needed to spend a few minutes with him to calm him down. David To also played in the 40 and Over category. He took 4th in that division.
In the afternoon Austin and I played in the Class A doubles. There were two categories for Doubles, Open and A. Open being reserved for the great players, and Class A for the, well, beginners. Doubles was a double elimination tournament which meant that if you lost twice you were out. We played two different doubles teams and beat them. On our third match up we played a couple of brothers. One of them was especially good at chopping. Austin was getting frustrated with that style and was unable to adjust to his extreme backspin. We lost that match. We went to the losers bracket.
We played a couple more times and won which put us in the finals against the same two brothers that had beaten us earlier. I had hope that Austin would be able to quickly adapt to the backspin chop style in order to get a win and he did! We won the first three games. This meant that we both had 1 loss. If we beat them again 3 out of 5 one more time then we would get the gold. I could tell that the one chopper brother was tired and had lost alot of drive to play his best. Austin took advantage of that and played his best. We won the next three again. Honestly, we could not have done it had Austin not adjusted his game and learned how to return the low chops that were coming his way. I was very proud to be his partner!
Friday evening we went to KFC and came home and swam in the hotel pool. Watched School of Rock on TV with Austin while David and Jacob both sacked out real early. On Saturday we woke up at 6:30 and got ready to leave, had breakfast and went to the gym at 7:45. We warmed up a ton. I was a little stiff. The preliminaries for the Singles were set. I was seeded at second (Class A). Austin had to play a difficult player for the preliminaries which knocked him into the Class C Division which was the lowest. This was especially hard for Austin to overcome. He didn't want to play in the lowest division.
Jacob was also in Class C. Jacob was having so much fun playing with Kenny Majors that I often had to go track him down to get him to play. He would go over to the Olympic Weightlifting event and sweet talk lifters out of their Power-ade drinks. He would run over the women's basketball event as well and chase girls. Where he got his energy is a mystery. He just played around in his matches and took dead last in the entire tournament. He didn't shed a tear, he had fun strutting around like he was something really bad.
David To was placed in the B division. In the preliminaries I was to play against Meg. I knew her from years of play at the Wasatch Front Table Tennis Club. I knew that she was rated about 300-400 points above me and that it would be a complete dream to beat her. She won the first game. I won the second game. The third game was a deuce game, but she stole it from me. The third game she kicked me around real good and won 11 - 1. It was an enjoyable match up. I was pleased with the win and the near win on the third. After the matches were all done and George was doing the Division assignments he asked me if I would mind playing in the Open. He said that the games I played with Meg were the closest of all the preliminaries and that the Open needed another player to make things more even in the A Division. I was honored! I was hoping to get in the Open so I could be the underdog for a change. Usually I have been in divisions where I could medal. Now I was in a division where I could fight like a monster and have nothing to lose.
There were 8 people in each division and the singles were a round robin which meant that everyone had to play 7-8 games against everyone. Of all the people in my division I won one person (Carol Davis), almost beat another (2-3 against Doug Hansen), and took one game from every one else (except Meg and Byron who beat me 3-0). I did play my best and left very satisfied that I had stepped up in my play. I still have a long way to go and can improve a ton more, but was happy that I didn't actually place last in my division and opened the eyes of a few of the really good players. I was second to last in the Open Division (7th place).
Austin again played some tough players and ended up with Bronze Medal in the Class C Division. David To took 4th in the Class B Division.
When we left the boys were hungry but we wanted to get on the road so we said we might stop later. They slept the entire four hours so we didn't stop and got home at 9:30 pm. It was a fun and tiring tournament. Looking forward to improving over this next year and going next year. Austin still has some major anger issues that we need to work on. I don't know why he has such a hard time considering he took home three medals (2 Golds and 1 bronze). I also was lucky to bring home a Gold myself thanks to him in the doubles. Jacob expressed an interest in changing over to shake-hand grip. I have since hidden his paddle and given him one of my old paddles. Will need to work with him to learn how to hit using this new grip. Hoping that his competitive drive increases. I wish I could somehow steal some competitiveness from Austin and give it to Jacob. Then they both would be balanced in the amount needed.