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CELEBRATING CREATIVE EXPRESSION AT BAYLOR SINCE 1966

Periaktoi Writing Post

Volume 56
Issue 1

Single Visual Art Post

  • Essay
I Believe
Joe Howalt
I pick up the paddle and swing it gingerly to warm up my arm, measure the net with a dollar bill, and set up the back board. I set myself up in a certain way and I pick up the paddle and the ball I’m ready. I practice one thing and one thing only my backhand that’s why I believe in a good backhand.
 
For those that know me, they know I love Table Tennis, for Table Tennis is a hobby and a passion. I strive everyday to become better at something, whether it be footwork, service, or my forehand and backhand. I didn’t always work on my backhand so vigorously because I didn’t think of it as a liability or a weakness until one Sunday evening when I played my dad. In short, my dad can’t beat me, but when playing him, he gives me a good idea on what I need to improve upon. However, during one of our games, he kept targeting my backhand. At that point I didn’t know what to think, I was completely and utterly bewildered by this action, for I couldn’t do anything because my backhand was weak. Every point we played I was forced to hit my backhand. I was never able to hit a forehand. My dad won the first game 21 to 15 then we started the second game. I didn’t know how to deal with this weakness, so in the end my dad also won the second game 21 to 12. I was devastated. It had been a very long time since I’ve ever lost to my dad.
 
My dad doesn’t normally give me feedback on my game, but this time he told me something that would completely alter the way I play this sport forever. He told me the most basic thing ever, though at the time I was so frustrated I didn’t listen to him. He told me my backhand is my greatest weakness. Now, hearing the person that beat you now giving you advice is hard to accept, but I listened. I was so enraged I didn’t pick up a paddle for two weeks, though at one point I decided to pick up the paddle again that next week. I decided it was time to listen to what my dad had said and practice my backhand as much as I possibly could so that it would become my greatest weapon. Everyday I come home from school I go change and go down to the basement. I then set the other side of the table up so that the table becomes a backboard.
 
I practice for about three hours a day, and on weekends I practice five hours or more. Trying to play against yourself for three plus hours can get very boring but the results are worth it. There is a saying that what you put in is what you get out, and I can say proudly that what I’ve put in for the past two years has paid off. I reflect on many of the games me and my dad played this year, and I realize the reason I won so many of our games is because of the work I put in to my backhand. Now I’m afraid my forehand and my serve are my weakness. I probably need to work on those too. I hope that no matter what you do in life you work hard at it with great spirit and with the passion you need to succeed.