Sunday, March 14, 2010

Ain't No Party Like a Ping Pong Party

And what a party it was. 

Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating but the first-ever Pancreatic Cancer Network's Purple Ping Pong bash at SMU's Moody Coliseum was a blast.  Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle is a ping pong fanatic and hosted the event.  He recruited Dirk Nowitzki, JJ Barea, Matt Carroll, Derek Harper, former Ranger Jeff Russell, Olympians Nastia Luikin and Carly Patterson, SMU men's basketball coach Matt Dougherty, Texas running back Tre Newton, Popeye Jones, Mark Followill, Emily Jones, Bob Ortegel, Chuck Cooperstein, yours truly and many more. 

Honestly, when Carlisle called to ask me to play, I thought I was in trouble for something I said.  No joke.  It took me a while to call him back and he texted me telling me to check my voice mail.  "UH-OH!" I thought.  Turns out, it was a gracious invitation to be a part of the event and I was so honored he thought of to me.

Needless to say, I stunk.  Completely totally sucked.  Dirk Nowitzki killed me. I joked with him that the MVP was going down today.  Not so much.  The Big German is ping pong master and has a table in his living room.  He event went to playing with an arm behind his back to give at least me a fighting chance.  Not so much.

My team consisted of Popeye Jones, who was fabulous, Caron Butler, who didn't play because of a tight lower back, the fabulous Emily Jones and a pancreatic cancer survivor.  We lost in double elimination.  No worries.  It was worth the embarassment.

JJ Barea and Dirk were the two best Mavs ping-pongers.  Jeff Russell, Bob Ortegel and Derek Harper were also incredibly good.  I think people who have offseasons are much better ping pong players than those who have full-time jobs. One Mavs player, who will remain nameless, told me he was much better at beer pong than ping pong. Touche.

Roger and Marianne Staubach were so generous, once again, to be one of the event's sponsors.  Roger's mother died of pancreatic cancer.  He never ceases to amaze me.  I was chatting with him when a representative from the Pancreatic Cancer Network thanked him for his support.  He told her to call his office on Monday because he wanted to send them more money.  So impressive.

My takeaway: 1) I suck at ping pong but want to get better.  It's nice little workout and great for hand-eye coordination (in fact Mark McLemore told me would start playing in January to get ready for Spring Training).  2) I want to be in the position to be as philanthropic as Roger and Marianne Staubach.  Not a bad position to be in.

***Special double, triple, quintuple thanks to Kerry Randel for taking some FABULOUS pics of the tournament today!***
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