Dear Jon. Every personal letter I’ve ever gotten began this way. I probably haven’t received any real letters in years. Email doesn’t count. The Dear John and Dear Jane letter allowed for the termination of a relationship with just a few lines, an envelope, and one postage stamp. Simply drop that letter in a mailbox and move on with your life. It’s probably never been that simple. Untangling a relationship can be complicated and painful, even in the table tennis world. I recently came upon a cache of table tennis breakup letters. They were found in the bottom drawer of a file cabinet in Colorado Springs, and forwarded to me with all of the names redacted. My undercover mole at USATT agreed to let me publish them anytime after the 2036 Summer Olympic Games. Fearing that I may not be alive in 2036, and anticipating that when I’m almost eighty I could forget to release this vital information; I have decided to leak these to the dozens of readers who might benefit from them. Hear are a few of the most revealing excerpts.
Dear REDACTED, It is with great sadness that I must inform you that I can no longer attend your dinner parties. I will truly miss your excellent meals, but am finding the post dinner Whiff-Whaff games tiresome. Perhaps, if you had chosen a game that some of your guests were skilled at, things could have been different. P.S. I don’t think Cho is a word.
Dear Jan Ove REDACTED, It’s over. Though we have never met, and you don’t know me, I have had a man crush on you since 1983. I can not continue to consider you invincible if you are going to lose to short pips players. It’s probably for the best. Our relationship always seemed so one sided.
Dear REDACTED, I simply cannot continue to “warm up” with you. I have continued to try and try again to engage in exchanges of forehands and backhands that could be mutually beneficial before league play. I’m finding that I am spending precious warmup time simply picking up balls that you carelessly smash into other courts, and frequently under the bleachers. I feel like I’ve wasted my life….sob.
Dear Ms. REDACTED, Now that Summer is here, I will no longer be able to continue our customary afternoon matches. Between the increasing heat in the gym, and your new Butterfly shorts, I feel like my backhand loop is suffering. I know I am easily distracted. It’s certainly not your fault. In the interest of my quest to eventually be a 2000 level player, please stay at least three tables away from me. Again, It’s not you. It’s me.
Dear REDACTED, Why can’t we both be right? Sure, you’re Chinese and I’m from Germany, but I thought we might somehow be able to negotiate a starting point for forehand loops…..if only we had more time. You learned to eat schnitzel. Why should this be any different? I can’t take it anymore. Perhaps some time spent in Japan will do me good.
Dear REDACTED, I feel that we’ve grown apart. That’s a good thing. Your insistence on eating garlic on everything, and refusal to use deodorant, has turned me into a 1200 level lobber, after being a 1900 level, close to the table attacker. I would never leave you, but if things don’t improve, I’ll be lobbing from the other side of the barriers.
Dear REDACTED, We’re no good for each other. You like to play fast and loose. I prefer a slower controlled game. Then there was the time you called me a REDACTED. I didn’t say anything, but I thought you were the real REDACTED. Then, you said, REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED . That’s the one thing you said that made sense. I’ll never forget you.
May all your table tennis breakups go smoothly. Breaking up is hard to do.