A few guys who had had a few drinks were getting worked up about having bet some money on a match at SPiN Standard in LA... winning money and then quickly losing it. One guy was upset and shouting that he was hustled. I said “you weren’t hustled. You just got to play two matches for free. A hustler takes your money... this guy just got his friend’s money back. You broke even.” After calming him down a bit, I explained my role at SPiN and he asked if I could hit with him for a few minutes so I said “sure.”
I was just keeping the ball on the table, even when he missed the table or hit it off of the floor and wasn’t really thinking about it but just sort of talking to the guys in his group and him while we were playing. Apparently they found it amusing that I was very casual while their friend was running around and sweating.
I then noticed that there was a group of about 8 people watching from the side and they seemed really entertained. They were laughing, smiling, pointing and clearly talking about me. I figured I should keep it up and maybe do a few more entertaining tricks. I look over and a see a guy in glasses who looks a LOT like Jeremy Lin. From this point on, I had a huge smile on my face because I had a strong feeling it in fact WAS Jeremy Lin.
Now for those of you who’ve been in touch with me on FB for over a year, you KNOW how strong my Linsanity was. I was watching Jeremy Lin highlights and interviews every day for a while. So the group gets up and starts to walk out. I am always trying to get better about going for what I want and not letting opportunities pass... so I immediately told the dude I was hitting with “just a minute” and walked over to the tall Asian guy with glasses.
“Excuse me, would I be able to get a picture with you?” “Sure!” he said. I asked the drunk guy I was playing with if he could take the picture for me. Right after the picture he says “hey! What’s your name?” and the tall Asian guy with glasses says “Jeremy.” The drunk guy screams “OMIGOD!!!!!!!!!! It’s JEREMY LIN!!!!!! It’s JEREMY LIN!!!!!!!!” Then Jeremy came back over to me and said “So I have a friend who’s really into ping pong and I want him to play you. He might be coming over tonight. But I think you’re too good for him” I said “No problem. We can just hit for fun... whatever you guys want... I’ll make it fun.” So I gave him my sticker/card and said “if you need anything, let me know.” We high-fived and Jeremy and his group headed out.
For a while I was gleaming and my eyes were tearing from how excited I was. Girls were saying things to me and I responded by saying “I am sorry... I can’t really hear anything you’re saying right now because I can’t stop thinking about the fact that I just met Jeremy Lin.” After talking about it for 15 minutes or so I realized, it might not be very likely that he would come back.
Suddenly, a group walks back into the room and Jeremy is in the front with this big smile and points at me with the “MYYYY man!” sort of look. He immediately introduces me to his friends and then to his friend who loves ping pong. We start playing and Jeremy says “We’re gonna cheer for this match.” So he and the gang all walk over and sit in the bleachers next to the table. I do some trick shots and tell some stories about table tennis and interesting rules or fun facts that people aren’t aware of and even tell the crowd where my opponent would hit his next 3 shots... which made them laugh a lot when it came true.
Afterwards, I asked Jeremy to play. As always, he was very humble and said “I am not very good. My friend you just played is much better.” Well, Jeremy and I played a bunch and he was pretty impressive. He could handle some spin, had good touch and as you can imagine... could hit the ball pretty hard against a lob. He then asked me to give him 3 crazy serves because his friends were ready to go. The first one jumped and hit him in the stomach and he blurted “WHAT?!?!?! What was THAT!” and both he and his group were laughing. Then he hit one that went way off into some couches and the third one he popped up and I pulled back like I was going to hit it hard, he covered himself and I softly dropped the ball on the table. Everyone laughed, I walked over and gave Jeremy a high-five and a hug. He said “thanks for taking the time to entertain us and play with us” and of course I said “no problem. My pleasure.” Him and his friends asked for more stickers/business cards and one guy told me he recognized me from college which was pretty cool. And that is what happened on a random Tuesday night at SPiN Standard.