Friday, August 12, 2005

Table Tennis Tournament - August 6

In the fall of 2003, I began to have pain in my left buttock … roughly vertical … centered … felt as if it were about two inches below the skin. The problem steadily worsened and by Christmas, I had given up lunchtime walks in the park with co-workers. By spring 2004, it hurt to stand and walking was worse. I played a tournament in March and debated forfeiting my last two matches. I lost them both - one to a rival. Clearly, something had to be done.
My doc recommended a course of medicine before she referred me to a rheumatologist. She put me on Etodolac, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory. There seemed to be no result. I was pretty discouraged. I had changed my table tennis playing style to a defensive one that didn’t require much movement.

While reading the patient information folder, I came across a statement that it took up to two weeks for the medicine to work. I decided I would wait til then to jump the doctor. On the morning of the tenth day, I woke up pain-free and limitation-free and have been so ever since. Etodolac has truly been a miracle drug for me.

My playing style had caused my opponents so much trouble that I decided to make the change permanent. From May 2004 to April 2005, my rating increased 200 pts. (100 pts difference in rating converts to 80% probability of winning. 200 pts is about 96%.) The average tournament player is rated 1400.

Last Saturday, I played in the most successful tournament of my career. I entered three events: Under 1600, Over (age) 55 and Under 1750. I won 1st place U-1600, second in O-55 and third in U-1750 (losing only to the winner 3 games to 2). This involved playing 18 matches (best 3 games of 5) from 9:00 am ‘til 8:30 pm. I was weary, dehydrated and tired of the clothes I had been wearing since dawn … I drove home beat but happy.

I’ll play in Austin on Aug 27.

The picture shows me and the winner of the O-55 event, David Pham. The picture was recovered with GIMP. Note, the scene is strongly backlited. This caused the faces to be underexposed. I selected David’s outline and mine separately and brightened them considerably. I took out a basketball goal above David’s head and replaced it with a blend of wall color.


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