Thanks for helping me fall in love with the game. RIP Mike / by Thomas Nguyen

This is an old post that I just wanted to have records of.

Me & Mike - The Human Wall - 2006.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Last night, I was back in PA just for an evening. I got a chance to visit the first table tennis club I ever started at. The club that started it all. Berks Table Tennis Club. It was the friendliest club I ever played at. They not only taught me to have fun with the game, but to genuinely show kindness and interest in every person that walked into that door. That is something I try to continue with every new person I meet still. It was great to be back and reconnect with everyone there.

Unfortunately, I found out that one of my favorite members passed away, Mike. Thanks for hitting with me when I could hardly even keep the ball on the table. Thanks for all the fun jokes you had. Thanks for your kindness. Thank you for your enthusiasm and encouragement. I'll never forget ya. May you rest in peace.

Here is an excerpt from an old post I found on my Xanga. 

Saturday, 30 December 2006
Working in Table Tennis.. and other random stuff

Me & Old Mike

I've never felt so good about working in Table Tennis until I went back home for Xmas. During one of my days off, I went to visit the old club I attended back home, the Berks Table Tennis Club. It's where I first really learned to love and appreciate the game. The majority of the club members are elders, but I really enjoy that. I love learning their history and all their stories. What amazed me was their eagerness to teach me the wonderful game to a complete newbie like me. I just remember them always having to pick up the balls i would mishit, and never complaining. They worked with me until I got better, with no regrets of their back pain haha. 

Anyways, the picture above is Mike & I. Mike is the oldest member at the club. He's 80 years old and is only running on one lung (The other collapsed when he was young, due to tuberculosis). I always refer to him as the Human Wall. I remember when I first started out, I had no clue how he could block and return every ball. Even with his age and physical limitations, he is an amazing player. When I went back to the club during Xmas Break, I was catching up with him. I told him how I was working for North American Table Tennis. After I told him, I've never seen such a proud and amazed face at the same time. He kept repeating.. "You work for.. NORTH AMERICAN TABLE TENNIS??........ I've been in this game for so long, and it's shame that this beautiful game isn't more popular. I'm so glad you are working for table tennis. We need someone like you!" I told him about all the projects we are working on, and more about the company. He just kept on smiling. Before he left that night, he kept on going to the other members... "Did you know Tom works for North American Table Tennis?" That is definitely a memory I won't forget.