I certainly am capable of losing track. If in doubt I tend to defer to my opponents recollection of how our points have played out. I’ve seen a couple of senior players nearly come to blows over a difference of opinion on what the score was. I get it. I frequently am already thinking about what I hope the score will be. This can easily add a couple of points to my perception of the current score. Perhaps my opponent was not aware that I had already anticipated using my best serve, which allowed me to see forty five seconds into the future. Players who frequently forget the score aren’t necessarily trying to cheat. I’ve lost track and had to be reminded that I was winning. Again, my perception can be influenced by non-numerical emotions. If I don’t feel like I’m playing well, it may be hard to believe that I actually have any points. It does help if you call out the score after each point, assuming you don’t have a scorekeeper. I rarely do.
But, what is the score really? My ninety-one-year-old mother recently asked me what the score was. This seemed odd since we definitely weren’t playing table tennis; and she wasn’t viewing any televised sports. I discerned that what she was attempting to communicate was a question about what the situation was for that particular day. When you are in your nineties you might not always know the score. My answer was to let her know what day it was, whether I could come see her, if she had any appointments, and a weather prediction. That’s all she really wanted to know.
Since having this comical conversation, it occurred to me that it’s an excellent question that I should probably be asking on a daily basis. Maybe I should be figuring out what the score is before I play a match. I’m often asked about how fast players progress, or what improvements can be expected from future training. Here’s an example of one way I could answer – “Well here’s the score. You’re forty-years-old. You’ve got a strong forehand but you need to devote more time to practicing serves. You’re rated 1300. I think you could be a much better player. I know what the score is now. I can’t tell you what the score will be tomorrow.”
Whether in table tennis, physical training, or life, I like this one day at a time approach. Right now, it’s 10:30 am on January 5th. I’m sixty three. I weigh 156.3 lbs. I don’t have any table tennis training scheduled for today. I did twenty two minutes of cardio this morning. It’s 50 degrees Fahrenheit outside, and the sun is shining. My wife is in the hospital, but I’m not able to visit her. It’s 2021; and that’s the score.
So teach us to number our days, that we may get a heart of wisdom – Psalm 90:12