The excitement of training at a sport, improving, and then finally winning, is a bug which many people find irresistible. Of course there are hundreds of sports to choose from. The author’s sport of choice is table tennis, or as they say in France ping-pong.
Bill Rees had been living and working in the south of France for ten years, as a bookseller in beautiful Montpellier. Though not having played table tennis for many years, his interest in the sport was rekindled by an article he read in L’Équipe newspaper whilst sitting in a café. Childhood memories rapidly came flooding back of training, and then successfully competing in tournaments…
The years may have passed, but he still retains a love of the game. So, when he sees an advertisement to join a ping-pong club stating “experienced players only,” he starts retraining. After all, it’s like riding a bike, isn’t it? Once you know how to do it, you never forget. It becomes an obsession.
The story which follows covers an epic Sunday tournament held at the Mèze Lycée, Hérault, in May 2019. The author’s team are trying to reach the National Finals, and the author gives his readers an in-depth, insightful, and humorous account of the events of that very important day.
Anyone who loves competitive sports will soon be deeply involved in the story. Readers meet the players, both on Bill’s team and the competitors, and the author brilliantly brings their characters to life. The banter between the players, the shrewd observations and the well written and witty descriptions draw you in. Bill and team go through the stages of anxiety, exhilaration and despondency but I’m not going to tell you what happens in the end…
People often commented to me when I lived in France that nothing happens, but oh yes it does. Behind those sleepy villages are many clubs, and a big social atmosphere exists. This book really highlights one of the very popular sports played in France, and the seriousness of the competition. For those interested in the technicalities of bat colour, the rules, etc., your questions will be answered, after all ping-pong is a serious business.
This story is unique and told from the heart. The author’s passion for the sport, and the comradeship of the team are wonderfully portrayed, making it a brilliant read for fans of France and table tennis.
By French bookworm
A Late Return – Table Tennis à la Carte by Bill Rees is available at Amazon and all good book shops online and in the high street (on order).