The Soul of Table Tennis

Congratulations to Johnathan CTYO Harleston on winning the Thomas Nunes Sportsmanship Award at the recent Georgia games. Johnathan is a worthy recipient. He is known for his monster loop and superb serves. But, he’s equally recognized by his smile, his laugh, and his tendency to encourage himself with a shout of “CT” that can be heard anywhere he plays. The Thomas Nunes award is named after a similar man. Thomas was an excellent chopper. He was among the top players in Georgia for many years. He was also the friendliest player you will ever meet. He was gracious in victory and defeat. Any player would be honored to have their name associated with such a legendary figure.

Thomas was easy to talk to. I got to know him through table tennis and was his UPS delivery driver for several years. It seemed that he could always be completely honest because he had nothing to hide. It was his absolute dedication to fair play that revealed his character. There was never any conflict between his fierce competitive spirit and his sportsmanship. As much as Thomas loved table tennis, he loved God more. There was never any question about his top priority. He always played fair because he felt that if he didn’t, “God would not be pleased.

“It’s sad that more players don’t approach our sport this way. I played three players last night who made no attempt to serve legally. One of them may not have known the rule. Another one may have thought he was serving correctly, but was clearly serving out of his hand all night. The worst offender said he knows the rule but has no intention of following it since “nobody complains” about it. He must have mistaken my jovial nature for indifference to the rules. How do they sleep at night? I know I woke up at 3:00 am and was still thinking about it. 

There are bigger issues in the world than table tennis players tossing a ball when they serve. It’s probably more important to keep an eye on world leaders than scrutinizing the attitudes of our table tennis officers. But – one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. Philippians 2:13.

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