Make It Monumental

A monumental racket signed by the 2004 US Olympic Table Tennis Trials participants.

You're probably thinking, "DANG! That's a huge table tennis racket!".  Well, you're right. And here's the story behind it.

My last year of college, I had a 3D arts class.  Its focus was to teach students how to open their minds and use different materials to create 3D art.  At that time, I was a pure digital designer, so everything in this class was new to me.  I spent so much time in the art studio working on projects and it became one of my all time favorite classes.  One of our projects was to take a normal, everyday common object, and make it monumental.  Of course, the ping pong nerd in me decided to monumentalize a racket.

I took plywood to create the blade, and used insulation foam to create the handle and the sponge for the rubber.  I spent a lot of time sanding the handle down by hand, and created tons of insulation foam dust!  For the "rubber sheet", I glued cardboard onto the "sponge".  I then painted everything, and BAM, it was done!

Fast forward to the start of the new year of 2004. Our coach, Hank McCoullum, was at that time the chair of the elite athlete committee for USA Table Tennis.  The trials was originally to be held at the University of Pennsylvania, but for some reason, it fell through.  Luckily for us, it was then held at Penn State!  Naturally, as one of the leaders for the school's table tennis club, I was heavily involved with setting up the trials.  

Hank hired North American Table Tennis to run the event, and thats how I met my future employer for the first time.  For a beginner, who never saw all the pro's all in one place competing, it was table tennis heaven for me!  I was a complete nerd about it and brought my art project to the trials.  I had the participants sign it and remember cheesing hardcore.  I'm sure all of the players were probably thinking... who the heck is this nerd? What's funny is, throughout the years, they have become great friends of mine.  

2004 US Olympic Table Tennis Trials Oversized Racket

That racket is now sitting in my office at work, and I look at it and remember the humble times of how I started.  During that competition, those players were trying their hardest to make a tournament turn into something monumental for them, a chance to represent the US in the Olympics.  As a new year approaches, I hope everyone can take a simple thing in their life, and remember that, it too can be monumental if you make it.  Cheers, and let's welcome 2013!