Somedays, I remember why I feel in love with my husband. Earlier this winter season I had one of those moments when the kids got to see the best side of their dad, and I remembered just what I had been attracted to originally.
Recently, Ryan and I were digging around in the basement. It turns out that under the piles of disc golf frisbees, we still own a pool table. And what’s more, there’s a ping pong table top conversion contraption sitting right next to it! (Who knew?)
After many months of Jake and Ben mastering their table tennis skills on the Wii, they were intrigued to see that the game could be played in a non-virtual world. Given that they had a good handle on the game play aspect, we decided to try a real game of table tennis with them. Ryan paired with Ben and I with Jake, we took opposing sides of the table, and the pandemonium began.
Little did the kids know, Ryan is a world class ping-pong champion. (Okay… this may be a bit of an overstatement, but he’s really good and once won a contest, I swear!) He has a fast, sharp serve and the ability to slice the ball forcing it to spin unpredictably after hitting in fair play on your side of the table. He has cat like reflexes and this is just the kind of game that shows off his natural coordination and athletic ability. And, he doesn’t like to lose.
Ryan served first, slow and steady, deliberately trying to allow the boys to keep the ball in play. Initially, the ball was bouncing off from each wall, the ceiling, the lights, the cat… and we were all trying our best to get the ball anywhere near the correct play position. After many attempts, we were finally getting a consistent set of volleys, and each person was getting a turn.
Once our volley rhythm had been established, I looked up, only to find that Ryan was playing left handed. I pointed this out to Jake, who protested, upset that Ryan was being silly. Ryan politely slipped the paddle back into his dominant hand and continued on with game play.
Next Ryan continued to be a hot dog by hitting the ball in a hackey sack type pattern on his paddle and showing great control, which amused the boys but did not add to the game play. We encouraged him to stop showing off and return the serve.
Shortly after that, I looked up to see that Ryan had replaced his paddle with my slipper. Amazingly, he could still return every serve with ninja like precision. Once Jake and Ben had caught sight of this, they began roaring in laughter. Suddenly, there was no bar on what was considered a formal paddle. The kids began using frisbees, boxes, toy cars, etc. to return the volley of the ping pong ball. The silliness had erupted into hours of giggles from the boys and a great time was had by all.
Who would’ve thought that my husband could have turned such a simple game into such a hilarious, chaotic and rewarding family experience? (I think I’ll keep him.)