Ping Pong Connections

Sariah - Orem, UT 84058, Utah
Entered on April 6, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
  • Listen to This I Believe on RadioPublic

  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I believe in ping pong.

I have had a ping pong table in my basement since I was just a little girl. When my family got it for Christmas, I mostly just enjoyed watching my older brothers and sisters bounce the ball back and forth and I would be their score keeper and ball getter. When they were not playing, it became a house for my little sister and me. We would drape as many blankets as we could find over the table, using books and clothespins to keep them in place, and enjoy hours of “house.”

While my little sister and I could waste away blissful hours in a make believe world, my older brother and I fought over anything and everything. If he thought a dinner was good, I said that it was gross. If I wanted to go shopping with my mom, he would stay home.

When Adam and I got a little older, he came downstairs to my room and asked, “Would you like me to teach you how to play ping pong?” I had never played the actual game before. Usually, I just bounced the ball on my paddle or tried to see how far I could hit it across the room. I was never good at sports, so I never really tried to learn until that day.

I excitedly agreed to let him teach me how to play the game. I had watched enough to know the rules and the form, and to know that Adam was very good at ping pong. We started bouncing the ball back and forth. It was much harder than I had anticipated. I kept missing the ball entirely, and when I did make contact, the ball never went where I saw it go in my mind. However, my brother was a very dedicated and patient teacher.

We started having “lessons” as much as possible. We would laugh together when either one of us messed up. We played and talked and played some more. He told me about his friends and his job at Texas Roadhouse. I told him how my classes in school were going and the plays that I worked on. We got to the point where both of us challenged one another in ping pong, and nobody else in the family could beat us. Even when we were not playing ping pong, we enjoyed being together.

A couple of years after we started playing against each other, he had the opportunity to go to China and teach English. While he was there, he took private ping pong lessons. I was so excited for him to come back and teach me how to play again. When he came back, we revisited the past; I was the student and he was the teacher. Adam and I became more than siblings. Through ping pong, we became best friends.