Tired of playing the same old people? I know I am. Nothing against the metro Atlanta table tennis crowd, but I’m ready to get out of town. Fortunately I’ll be taking two trips in the near future. I’ll be going almost 7000 miles to Japan, and I may get to squeeze in some table tennis. But I’ve signed up for a actual tournament that will only be 500 miles away. This seems like the perfect distance for my first out of town tournament in several years. For a mere $40 I can play complete strangers and enjoy warmer weather as well. While I will probably only be in Clearwater for a long weekend, there are some side benefits to scheduling a tournament two months in advance.
The major benefit is the anticipation. It’s a little bigger commitment to play in a tournament that involves some travel. I can look forward to a mini-vacation, and I can gear my training towards a set date. Hopefully, I’ll be playing my best by February 8th. Somehow I feel a little less aimless knowing there’s a nice tournament in my future. One of the differences with an out of town tournament is a sense of adventure that is frequently lacking if you always play in your own backyard. Granted, a trip down Interstate 75 is not exactly exotic travel, but in terms of table tennis, Florida is a whole new world. I may run into a few players I know, but probably not too many.
So, what do I expect to get from my 500 mile tournament trip? Hey! I could come back with $400. In the unlikely event that I do win cash, I can parlay my winnings into serious pocket change at Tampa Bay Downs. It’s entirely possible I could win a trophy. Depending on what class I end up in, I could bring home some hardware. I’ll plan to let my trophy ride shotgun for the return trip, constantly reassuring it that size doesn’t matter. I may pick up a few rating points. I would hate to drive so far to leave rating points behind, but that’s a risk I’m willing to take.
What I know I can expect is a full day of table tennis. I know I’ll meet some new players. I know I’ll learn some lessons from the experience. I know it will cost more than the $40 entry fee. It will definitely be good to compete in a different environment. How fortunate I am to be able to take a 500 mile trip for a day of table tennis. I think I’ll enjoy every mile.