Inspiring a generation pt.2
7 August 2012
I took 3 very excited young women to the Men’s Table Tennismedal matches on Thursday. None of us knew very much about table tennis but wewere all thrilled that we’d been given the opportunity to attend the Olympics.The entire trip was full of new experiences for the girls, using paper tickets,walking through Liverpool Street – “Oh wow, this was where they did the phoneadvert!”, going through airport-style security and watching the bestdemonstration of table tennis in the world. They were mostly entertained bysome other spectators who were equally baffled by the hype around table tennisbut they wouldn’t have missed it for the world. They recognised the effort andthe achievement of the players and got right behind the German supporters ofthe first European to gain a medal in table tennis for 12 years. There werealso a few disappointments – at the crippling cost of anything within the arena(a realisation that was truly painful to see arrive on their faces) and at thesedate nature of the crowd. They strove womanfully for a good hour to get areally good Mexican wave going and they weren’t to be defeated lightly but inthe end, the time ran out. I was proud to be sitting next to these 3 sparkyyoung women, who chatted confidently to their neighbours about where they livedand Urban Hope, who were mature enough to garner some interest in the game infront of them, were as enthusiastic as some of the Chinese devotees even thoughit was the first proper game of table tennis they’d ever watched and who wereclearly relishing the opportunity to be there. What a privilege.