1984: Marcy Monasterial Wins Two Medals at International Games for the Disabled. 1984: Liz Hornyak Earns Gold at World Senior Championships. 1984: June Tournaments.
Here’s Marcy Monasterial (SPIN, Sept., 1984, cover+)—after winning two gold medals in the U.S. Amputee Athletic Association’s national competition—showing an understandable interest in covering, what those medals had qualified him for, the International Games for the Disabled, held June 16-30 at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, Long Island:
“The most thrilling moment of my table tennis career was 27 years ago when [as an amputee] I was selected as a member of the 1957 U.S. Team [all the others were able-bodied] to the 24th World Table Tennis Championships held in Stockholm, Sweden.
The second most thrilling moment occurred during the 1984 International Games for the Disabled. In this two-week Olympic-styled competition involving 1,800 athletes from 50 countries, I marched as a member of the U.S. Table Tennis Team before President Ronald Reagan who opened the Ceremonies. I saw on the reviewing stand not only the beaming face of the President, but the smiling countenances of such dignitaries as Governor Cuomo, Senator D’Amato, Nassau County Executive Francis Purcell, Official Hostess of the Games Cathy Lee Crosby, Opera Star Elaine Malbin, and United Nations Under-Secretary-General Shuaib Uthman Yolanin. In addition, I knew that my wife, children, and grandchildren were among the 14,000 spectators enjoying themselves at this Mitchell Park Stadium.
At the head of the Opening Parade was the previous host-country Netherlands group. The U.S. contingent, representing the current host country, marched in last. All of us, including our Coach Jim Beckford, had been given our official uniforms, pins, and emblems, as well as the blue blazer and gray slacks we were wearing now. All 1800 athletes and their 700 aides paraded through the stadium accompanied by music, with each country’s flag being held aloft as the teams passed by.
At the conclusion of the Parade, President Reagan took the Torch that would be used for the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles and passed it to an amputee swimmer from North Carolina who then ignited a 20-foot-high torch at the south end of Uniondale’s Mitchell Field complex.
In his address, President Reagan told us that ‘in our utter refusal to give up in the face of our handicap we were sending a message of hope throughout the world.” Sports, he emphasized “has less to do with things like faster times and heavier weights than something very simple—the human heart.” These ringing words really shook me up and inspired me. Let the Games begin—I was ready to do my best….
The day before the matches began, the U.S. players—all of us were staying in the Hofstra University dorm—went over to the University Gym to practice and to observe our competitors. Coach Beckford and Mitch Stephens, the runner-up to me in the Nashville Olympic Trials, were both very helpful. They had participated in the Second International Games for the Disabled at Arnheim, Netherlands in 1980 and told me the strengths and weaknesses of some of our competitors.
My partner in the Team’s was Ted Debiak from Long Island, a Club player at Grummond Aviation who’d never played in a single USTTA-sanctioned tournament. But in our opening 3-0 win against Australia Ted took his match in straight games and won the doubles with me.
Our next tie was against Germany—they’d won the gold at Arnheim. I played first against Hullerman, who uses a combination bat with Chinese long pips and inverted Friendship. It was paradoxical that although I use the same long pips combined with anti-spin, I could not handle another player who used a similar racket—I just hadn’t practiced or played against anyone using such a racket.* Ted then lost to the German Beck. And afterwards we lost the doubles.
Next up: China—and if we could win this tie, we could finish second in our Group and advance to the semi’s. Ted quickly lost his match, but I won mine. The doubles? Maybe we weren’t the favorites, but we took that key match. And then I scored the clincher.
We watched the Yugoslav players, our semi’s opponents, practicing, and they looked formidable—somewhere in the 2200-2400 range. Their serves were severe with a lot of top-sidespin. Their chops were heavy. Their kill shots deadly. Yet in the first game of the tie I handily beat Franz Simonic—he’d been content to chop, block, and play a steady, non-offensive game. However, after the side-change, he talked with his coach—and after that he started to hit every ball off both wings. His forehand and backhand drives were too strong for my defense and he easily won the next two games. Ted got killed in the second singles by Dimitrijevic. But in the doubles he played an attacking error-free game, enabling us to stay alive in the tie. However, Simonic then showed no mercy in beating Ted two straight.
In the final, Germany, who’d stopped France in the semi’s, won 3-0 over runner-up Yugoslavia. Both France and the U.S. shared 3rd and 4th Place and Ted and I each got a Bronze medal at an official Olympic-style ceremony.
In Singles, Simonic was in my Group, and not surprisingly, after we’d each won two matches, he, confident after beating me in the Team’s, beat me again. Thus, although we both advanced to the quarterfinals, I had the misfortune of drawing 26-year-old Manfred Koller of Germany, the top seed. Unknown to me, I was (probably intentionally) not forewarned by either Coach Beckford or Stephens that Koller was the Defending World Champion in this event.
While playing Koller, I was pleasantly surprised that I could handle his best spins and drives. From 8-7 down, my steady blocks and consistent backhand flicks really bothered him and, strange as it might seem, I won this game 21-9! And won the second, 21-18! I’d beaten the World Champion and had advanced to the semi’s!
Now I met Philippe Roine, the disabled Champion of France. I was told this player spins a lot, has good serves, and possesses a tremendous two-winged attack. Since the Frenchman was 26 and I was 61, this was to be a classic battle between youth and experience—I was just hoping Koller hadn’t tired me out. Experience won, but with some 19, 15 difficulty. So now I advanced to the final for a shot at the Gold.
But there was Simonic again. Since he’d been steamrolling by his opponents, I was getting anxious, nervous, and despondent, but at the same time I told myself that perhaps I was due to win against him. Anyway, when we met for the Championship I was composed, as confident and determined as I could be. Simonic, meanwhile, exuded overwhelming confidence.
He won the toss, elected to serve, and without much ado won the first five points—hit in everything like a man possessed. I lost the first game at 12. And, unfortunately for me, the second game was a carbon copy of the first. But while I did not become the World Champion, I came close. I won two medals and had a wonderful experience playing for the first time among my peers at these International Games.”
SPIN (July-Aug., 1984, 21) reports that “Liz Hornyak of Michigan City, IN teamed with Japan’s Kikoyo Tasaka to win the Gold in Women’s Over 60 Doubles at the World Senior Championships in Helsinki, Finland June 6-10. Hornyak was the only American to win a medal at the Games, though Yvonne Kronlage was afforded some satisfaction by pairing with a Swede to win the Over 40 Doubles Consolation. The tournament featured more than 650 players from 25 countries playing in Over 40, 50, 60, 70 events. Hornyak and Tasaka were paired by chance, and although neither could speak the other’s language, the duo worked out a perfect strategy. Liz would force a set-up for her partner who would then kill the return. Liz, however, also smashed in a few herself. Congratulations, Liz, on your Gold Medal victory.”
As a June 23-24 warm-up for the June 27-July1 U.S. Open in Las Vegas, an International Invitational was held in Alhambra, CA. Results: Men’s Singles: Final: Wen-Chia Wu (Chinese Taipei) d. Mikael Appelgren (Sweden), 20, 15, 21. Semi’s: Wu d. Chin Long Chih (C.T.), 15, 7, -23, -21, 17; Appelgren d. Hueih Chieh Huang (C.T.), -17, 11, -13, 13, 18. Women’s Singles: Kyung Ja Kim d. Hsiu Yu Chang (C.T.), 12, 12, 12. Semi’s: Kim d. Yueh-Jen Chen (T.C.), 9, 13, -18, 14; Chang d. Li-Zu Lin (C.T.), 15, 15, -16, 18. Two best quarter’s: Kim (in a match she could have lost three straight) d. Shu-Wa Chuang (C.T.), -16, 24, -21, 9, 16; and Chen d. Mei-Jen Huang (C.T.), -17, 17, -9, 14, 16.
Tom Wintrich (SPIN, July-Aug., 1984, 26) covers at least part of the Rocky Mountain Closed, held June 9th at Fort Collins, CO. Results: Open Singles: “Three-year-old Austin Bhushan waddles into the gymnasium and causally announces to no one in particular: ‘My mommy beats everyone.’” How right he was—Insook’s the Champion over her winning Doubles partner Bohdan Dawidowicz. In the one semi’s, “President Tim Boggan took time out from his USTTA Headquarters trip to come up for the tourney and, before losing to Insook, knocked off Howie Grossman in a five-game battle. To reach the other semi, Roger Kuseski (rated 1838) scored two upsets—over Kasia Dawidowicz (2006), then Dana Jeffries (2066).
In the A’s, Kuseski won by defeating in succession the Prez, Thomas Schlangen (in three games), and Bob Leatherwood. It was a fine showing by the blocker/hitter who is to be congratulated for his day of victories.
Tournament Director Paul Williams again ran a tight day of competition that finished on time thanks to control-desk help from Debbie Dixon and George Weissberg. Personal thanks to Paul from the Editor and the President for his generous hospitality.”
Bob Tretheway tells us (SPIN, July-Aug., 1984, 30) that “27 Juniors gathered at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, June 20-26, to be coached by Henan Li Ai, assisted by Scott Preiss and Karen Thompson….In becoming surrogate parents for 20 kids from the ages of 9-16, Karen and Scott were frequently tested to the limits of their creativeness and occasionally their patience.
Each camper had two two-hour coaching sessions and about one hour of physical training each day. Free time was occupied with movies, video games, talking with athletes bound for the Olympics, and just ‘hanging around.’
The players were special guests of honor at a ceremony for the Olympic Torch Relay Team arriving in Colorado Springs. They were also the subject of a two-page story in Arena Magazine, a supplemental sports publication appearing in the Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph.
The camp ended with a tournament, and 10 of the participants won blades donated by JUIC….Also, Sitco of Portland, OR donated the use of their RIII robot—and many found it to be a very effective training tool.
The following juniors participated in the camp: Charles Baker, Scott Bakke, John Elwood, Steve Fink, Leslie Garrad, Brad Gelb, Toni Gresham, Lloyd Hansen, Keri Herman, Dan Legters, Joe Lomas, Greg Lonnon, Michelle Mantel, Erik Naugle, Karl Schulz, Jon Self, Jenny Slootskin, Todd Sweeris, Thor Truelson, and Tryg Truelson.”
Winners at the June 9th Panda Open in Akron, OH: Open Singles: 1. John Tannehill. 2. Dave Strang. 3. Po Lee. 4. Norman Kilpatrick. A Singles: Greg Brendon over Beka. B Singles: Rick Hardy over Beka. Senior Singles: Kilpatrick over Neil Myers.
Larry Beal gives us coverage (SPIN, July-Aug., 1984, 21) of the Open Team Tournament held in Orlando, FL, June 9-10. The format “featured round robin competition between 12 three-man teams.” Preliminary play decided what four teams would play tor top honors in Groups A, B, and C. Results: Group A: 1. Larry Gold, Greg Gingold, and Pat Patterson, 3-0. 2. Ron Rigo, John Elliott, and Scott Beauregard, 2-1. “Larry Gold of the Class A Tampa Team was voted the tournament’s Most Valuable Player by virtue of his third-game win over Scott Beauregard in the decisive ninth match of their tie. Beauregard had a 15-10 lead in the third game, but Gold won 12 of the next 14 points to clinch the tie for his Team.” 3. Olga Soltesz, Lenny Chew, and Mark Herbert, 1-2. 4. Steve Federico, E. Oliver, and Harry McFarland, 0-3.
Group B: 1. Rene Tywang, Brian Miezejewski, and Cameron Phipps, 3-0. 2. Steve McLaren, Scott Rousky, and Genevieve Hayes, 2-1. 3. Dean Andrian, Jose Lopez, and Kevin Chew, 1-2. 4. Bev Patterson, Clint Steffan, and Randy Hess, 0-3.
Group C. 1. Jeff Kellott, Morris Wong, and Rob Stone, 3-0. 2. Dan Kutzer, Charles Ogburn, and Hugh Babcock, 2-1. 3. Beal, Mike Binford, and Joe Long, 1-2. 4. Ron Martin, Jerry Lin, and Ron Paukstys, 0-3.
Bard Brenner (SPIN, July-Aug., 1984, 22) reports on another and much more extensive warm-up for the U.S. Open—the 200-entry $3,000 Capital Bank Masters Invitational, held June 23-24 at the Fontainebleu Hilton Hotel in Miami Beach.
“The two-day competition,” says Bard, “was divided into three separate tournaments. Saturday’s action featured the amateur Age and Rating events, while on Sunday the Celebrity/Media/VIP ‘Paddle Battle’ preceded the 100-entry play-for-pay Masters events.
The Celebrity event hosted real stars and athletes. The feature match was between U.S. tennis legend Gardner Mulloy vs. Miami Dolphin kicker Garo Yepremain, neither of whom was a stranger to a table tennis paddle. Abel Holtz, Chairman of the Board and President of the tournament sponsor, Capital Bank, successfully took on Miami Beach Councilman Alex Daoud. In the battle of the mayors, it was Miami Beach Mayor Malcom Fromberg who beat North Bay Village Mayor Vogel. Duke Daniels, former lead singer for The Platters, played against National Wheelchair Champion Terese Terranova, and then sang a beautiful rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner before the Masters final.
Sunday’s action took place in the famed ballroom of the Fontainebleu Hilton, which the Fontainebleu generously provided at no charge. Pre-event publicity was excellent thanks to Publicity Director Bob Gordon and the 20-separate write-ups in the local papers such as the Miami Herald, News, Sun-Reporter and community newspapers. Also, the tournament received television coverage from all of the network affiliates in the Miami Beach area. Thanks to longtime Miami table tennis supporter Joe Newgarden, a first-class Program was produced for the event. In addition, Delta Airlines was instrumental in supporting the tournament by bringing in the top two American stars, Eric Boggan and Danny Seemiller, and offering convention-rate discounts for anyone flying in on Delta to Miami and Las Vegas, or both.
By any standard, the Capital Bank Masters Invitational was a great success. The support from the sponsor, the Fontainebleu, Delta, Miami’s city officials, and the local table tennis players who worked so hard organizing the competition couldn’t have been better….”
Also, the day after the tournament, the Herald followed-up with an article on Eric and Danny. Here’s an excerpt:
[The Men’s final, won by Eric in straight games over arch-rival Danny] “‘was a lot closer than the score showed,’ Boggan said. ‘But I really had my killer instinct going tonight. I made the important points when I had to have them.’
Boggan trailed in the later stages of all three games, but battled back each time to win. In the first game, Boggan won six of the last seven points to win 21-16. In the second, Boggan trailed 16-14 but won seven straight points to run out the game. [Perhaps it was then that Danny could be heard saying to himself, ‘C’mon, make a match out of this! You can play better than this!’] And in the third, Boggan broke an 18-all tie by winning three straight points….
[Jim Carson, the Herald writer, in taking up the oft-made analogies—Boggan to John McEnroe and Seemiller to Jimmy Connors—drew this response from Eric:] Boggan does concede that the comparison of him to McEnroe is accurate. ‘I’ve been taught to speak my mind, and if something bothers me, I say so,’ said Boggan, the Defending U.S. Open Champion. ‘I guess it’s good for table tennis that I have this rivalry with Danny, and I do enjoy playing him. I’ve got the psychological edge now and am confident when I’m playing him’
Seemiller conceded that Boggan was the better player Sunday night, but said that he, Danny, is better when there’s more at stake. ‘I play better than Eric in the bigger tournaments,’ said Seemiller, who beat Boggan in the final of the U.S. Closed Championship last year. ‘It’s a great rivalry, but I think over the years I have the edge. It won’t be long before I’m No. 1 again.’”
Results: Men’s Singles (only nine U.S. players made it to the second round): Final: Eric Boggan ($600) over Danny Seemiller ($400), 16, 16, 18. Semi’s: Boggan over Peru’s Tosikiro Tanaka ($200), 9, 14, 14; Seemiller over Germany’s Engelbert Huging ($200), 5, 7, 20. Quarter’s: Boggan over Peru’s Walter Nathan ($100), 15, 5, 18; Seemiller over Jerry Thrasher ($100), 11, 5, 14; Tanaka over Dominican Mario Alvarez ($100), 9, 15, -20, 9; Huging over Sean O’Neill ($100), 17, 9, 18. Women’s: Peru’s Monica Liyua ($200) over Peru’s Patricia Moreno ($100), 12, 14, 19. Semi’s: Liyua over #1-seed Canada’s Mariann Domonkos ($50), 19, -17, 20, -17, 18; Moreno over Jamaican Champ Nadine Senn-Yuen in the quarter’s, then over Olga Soltesz ($50), -15, 19, -19, 20, 16. Men’s Doubles: Seemiller/O’Neill ($200) over Tanaka/Nathan, 14, 7, -10, -14, 13, then over Boggan/Huging, 10, -17, 12, 15. Mixed Doubles: Seemiller/Domonkos ($100) over Tanaka/Moreno, -17, 14, 14, 18.
U-2300’s: Jamaica’s Keith Evans over Jamaica’s Dennis Brown, 12, 15, 15. U-2100’s: Dickie Fleisher over Dominican Nicolas Caffaro, 19, 13, 15. U-1950’s: Juan Ly over Larry Gold, 15, 16, -15, 20. U-1750’s: Carlos Estrada over Earl Haley, -18, 9, 15, 17, after Earl had squeaked out a win over Mark Herbert, 23-21 in the 3rd. U-1500’s: Maira Fonesca over Sean Hanley, 9, 15, 14. U-1250 Men’s: H. Bronson Graves over Scott Collins, -19, 20, 19, then over Ates Baydu, 17, -18, 20, -12, 12. U-1250 Women’s: Sylvia Rosenthal over Terese Terranova, 22, 17, -15, 14. Senior’s: Juan Chan Wu over Brenner, 14, 11, 14. Intercollegiate Men: Tanaka over Alvarez, 11, -18, 8, 12. Interscholastic Women: Domonkos over Fonseca, 10, 14, 12.
Regarding the June 9-10 Northern Virginia Open (SPIN, July-Aug., 1984, 26) where in the Open Singles Dave Sakai beat Barry Dattel, 3-0, in the final, and Sean O/Neill, 3-1, in the semi’s, Larry Hodges tells us that in the contested Sakai-O’Neill match “there were many hard topspin points, with Sean trying to go for the winners but too often being forced back from the table by Sakai’s strong forehands.”
“The best match of the tournament,” said Larry, “was the five-game semifinal between O’Neill and Enoch Green. Enoch is the only player I can think of who can play shakehands, penhold, and Seemiller-style within the same rally! Green can chop, loop, block, hit, and lob—but against O’Neill he mostly chopped and made strategic use of his long pips on the backhand.
Sean tried to overpower Enoch on the forehand side, but Enoch kept chopping balls back. It seemed like Sean wanted to loop every ball, even the high ones rather than smash them. Up 2-1, O’Neill almost ended it, but a few great chop returns by Green, and a few mishits by Sean, forced the match into the fifth. There, however, Enoch never threatened.”
Other Results: U-2300’s: Dattel and Green didn’t play, split the prize money. U-2150’s: T. Karlsson over Hodges. U-2000: Hodges over Tom Steen who’d gotten by Morris Jackson, 19 in the 3rd. U-1850’s: Jim McQueen over Steve Delp. U-1700: Steve Johnson over Rick Mundy who’d escaped Bernie Lisberger, -15, 20, 15. U-1600: Barrymore over Ron Lutz. U-1450: Barrymore over Kevin Walton. U-1250: David Surti over Herman Sprattling. U-1000’s: Nulph over Diehl. Senior’s: Gregg over Nate Sussman. Senior’s U-1700: Bob Powley over Marty Staehlin.
Results of the Howard County Circuit #9 tournament, played June 2-3 at Columbia, MD: Open Singles: 1. Sean O’Neill, 7-0. 2. Brian Masters, 6-1. 3. Barry Dattel, 4-3. 4. Eyal Adini, 4-3. 5. T. Karlsson, 3-4. 6. Bill Sharpe, 2-5. 7. Larry Hodges, 2-5. 8. Pat Lui, 0-7. U-2000: 1. Sharpe. 2. Hodges. 3. Karlsson. 4. John Wetzler. U-1800: 1. M. Trumbore. 2. Jerry Goldman. U-1600: 1. Irv Goldstein. 2. Erich Haring. U-1400: 1. Steven Banks. 2. Dennis Spellman. U-1200: 1. D. Critchlow. 2. P. Seymour. U-1000: 1. Critchlow. 2. P. Vodris. Sat. Handicap: 1. Kevin Walton. 2. Jeff Harris. Sun. Handicap: 1. Dattel. 2. Wetzler (51-49 over Goldstein).
Final Circuit Standings: 1. Sean O’Neill ($1,000). 2. Prakash Chougule ($500). 3. John Wetzler ((Color TV). 4. Erich Haring (Color TV). 5. Irv Goldstein (Stereo). 6. Kevin Walton (Stereo). 7. Pat Lui (Radio). 8. Craig Bailey (Radio). 9. Jeff Harris ($25 Gift Certificate). 10. Hank McCoullum ($25 Gift Certificate). 11. Warren Wetzler (Free Entry). 12. Robert Fallon (Free Entry).
On June 16-17 (Timmy’s, June, 1984, 24), the Shelton-Derby Boys Club and VARCA (Valley Association for Retarded Children and Adults) sponsored—with the help of the local Evening Sentinel—a $3,600 12-man Invitational that was played at the Shelton High School Gym in Shelton, CT. The Tournament Director was an industrious Pete Schuld, assisted by Stan Meyers, Executive Director of VARCA, and Jack Ribas, Director of the Shelton-Derby Boys Club. In the field were 7 of the top 8 players in the country. Only B.K. Arunkumar, now somewhere deep in the South, was missing.
But, oh, despite media saturation of the area, and despite a special free-entry Valley Closed Tournament (Novice, High School, and Grammar School events) held Saturday in conjunction with the two-day tournament, the spectator response was very poor—proving, I would think, once and for all, that sponsors and a USTTA PR Committee must work hand in hand, and that everyone involved has to do more than assume people are naturally gonna come out on Father’s Day, or any other, to watch even super table tennis. Personal commitments must be gotten—and a considerable number of tickets pre-sold.
Still, spectators aside, there were some marvelous plusses here in Derby. Not only was the prize money very good (1st: $1,000; 2nd: $700; 3rd-4th: $350; 5th: $250; 6th: $200; 7th-12th: $100 each), but the local Kiwanis Club got involved and each player was given $75 expense money. TV and newsmen were on the scene, and since Dennis Kaminsky taped many of the matches, a promo film can be made from them in readiness for next year’s Invitational which, with what everybody’s learned this time, figures to be much, much better planned.
This weekend’s playing format? A beginning three round robins of four men each (after that controversial Baltimore Invitational, comparably-rated players here were drawn from a hat), with the top two from each group moving into an all-deciding six-man round robin (players to carry over the result of their match with the other advancer in their original group). Here were the opening pairings; Group A: Eric Boggan (2728), Brian Masters (2475), Dave Sakai (2314), and Ron Lilly (2243). Group B: Danny Seemiller (2648), Ricky Seemiller (2459), Scott Boggan (2459), and Pete Schuld (?). Group Three: Rey Domingo (2503), Sean O’Neill (2480), Scott Butler (2356), and George Brathwaite (2302).
In Group A, Eric, waking with a slight temperature, had to sweat out a match or two. He lost a game to Dave, whom the Sentinel called the “Joe DiMaggio of New England table tennis” (for the effortless ease he roamed, deep or half-distance, back from the center of the table?). Then Eric really had to struggle against 4th-place finisher Ron who, with his combination pips/anti play, his flat, one-ball attack, had the near 500-point favorite down 1-0 and 20-17 in the second…only to lose that game and the next two. “I kept waiting there at the end to forehand-counter one,” said Ron, “but Eric never gave me the chance—just backhanded me to death.” In their carry-over match, Boggan beat Group runner-up Masters in straight games.
In Group B, neither Danny nor the Long Island-commuting runner-up Scott Boggan had any difficulty with longtime World teammate Ricky. Pete Schuld was of course just happy to be playing in such prestigious company.
In Group C, Rey, down 2-1 to George, topspin-lob recovered. But lost an important carry-over match to Sean. “The Chief” also took O’Neill to five before losing. Showing the most stamina in this Group was Scott Butler who, sharing the driving and if necessary the speeding tickets with his dad, endured a back-and-forth 40-hour trip from Iowa…to play just three matches (winning the one against Brathwaite).
The six quarterfinalists played their remaining (given the carry-over) four matches on Sunday (and so gave Scott Boggan a Saturday evening back on Long Island to do…whatever).
Eric, who, after 10 hours sleep, began another morning complaining he had no strength, seemed as though he was going to succumb to Rey—for, easy on the table, Eric, easy with the language, after being -16, -14 badly beaten the first two games, was saying, “F---! I don’t WANT to play today!” But right about then the Cable TV guy showed up, and, thrusting the long-wired mike tablewards, seemed to give Eric a transfusion of sorts, for he won the third game at deuce. Then the juice in him started to circulate. He quipped, after losing a spectacular point to Rey, “Hey, you’re an old man—you’re not supposed to get all those balls back.” Still, after Eric had won the fourth comfortably at 15, 20-20 down to the cliff’s edge in the fifth they battled—with Eric sharply attacking…until Rey fell.
So having recovered from that crisis, Eric had no other. His last match for the $1,000 1st Prize would be against Danny.
Or would it?
For Danny, too, was being extended (too much summer vacation—golf, softball?). First, he’d had some 18-in-the-4th problems with Rey (whose 6th-Place finish would not accurately reflect the danger he often was to the other players). Then Seemiller found himself in major trouble. Not only was he down 2-0 to O’Neill, who in Baltimore had 4-4 split games with him, but, despite a reprieve, was behind 10-6 in the fourth as Sean scored some world-class winners. “You gotta work! You gotta EARN points!” Ricky was calling grimly to Danny. But it was Sean who abruptly couldn’t continue earning the points. No longer was he whipping in that barrage of forehands. His arm got tired? Occasionally he lapsed into bad shot selection. And his very real threat gradually subsided
Earlier, Sean, showing an effective backhand loop, couldn’t hold a 2-0 lead against an out-of-practice, slow-moving Scott Boggan. Scott’s come-from-behind rallies against both Sean and Brian (whom he was down 2-1 to) were struggles because it took him a while to steady his up-at-the-table half-containing, half-forcing backhand, and also to find what he called his at first “non-existent” crack, carefully-placed forehands.
Sean beat out Brian for 4th-Place—and I’m happy to say that each of them during the course of their play on Sunday showed excellent sportsmanship: in the absence of umpires, they voluntarily called a point or two against themselves.
The final between Danny and Eric featured some excellent play—and though Eric won three straight, the first two games were 15-all and the third 16-14 Eric, after Danny had been down 12-0! Said Danny to me at match’s end, “From now on I’m gonna live on Eric’s forehand.” Said Eric to a local reporter, “I’ve a very bad practice situation during the summer, so playing and doing well in this tournament was very good for my head.”
*The Long Island paper Newsday (June 20th) speaks of a dispute at the Hofstra Gym during these Games for the Disabled:
“…In first-round Table Tennis Team competition for one-arm amputees, West Germany took the No. 1 and No. 2 singles matches from China. But after the second match, China’s coach Wu Rongsheng protested that the West German player used an illegal paddle.
It seems the West German paddle was black on both sides. According to Rainer Muller, West German coach, the two sides of a racket must be different colors. But apparently there’s a catch: ‘In some places,’ he said, ‘this International Table Tennis Federation rule took effect Jan.1, 1984. For others, such as in our country, it doesn’t take effect until Sept. 1.’
Table Tennis officials decided none of that mattered since Rongsheng made his protest after the match. [Uh, o.k., that’s two matches for West Germany. What about the ensuing doubles match?...Anyway, Monasterial wasn’t the only one with paddle problems at these Games.]”