Ping-Pong pandemonium


Megan Lebowitz

Zou serving a ball in a hard-fought game with Qin.

Megan Lebowitz, Contributing Writer

Beads of sweat form on the players’ temples. Their eyes burn into the ball with intense concentration. Yells of triumph and anguish echo off of the brick walls. Ping-pong in Solon High School Senior Commons is intense.

The rarely vacant ping-pong tables contribute significantly to the relaxed atmosphere of Commons. Seniors compete head-to-head to take a break from homework, procrastinate studying and spend time with friends. Some students do not keep score and merely play for fun. Other students play to crush their opponent.

The latter include seniors Lewis Zou and Luke Qin. Friends in school but rivals at the table, Zou and Qin faced off on Feb. 15 in a best-of-three ping-pong match. The first to two 11-point game victories would walk away victorious. Zou and Qin made it apparent that they both gave their 100 percent, but ultimately Zou defeated Qin 2-0 in close, hard-fought games.

In the first game, Zou started off strong with a 3-0 point lead. Qin tended to overpower the ball, giving Zou the early advantage. However, as the game progressed, Qin began to find his rhythm and tied the game at five all.

At 5-5, Zou’s return got caught on the net, and the ball was too difficult for Qin to reach. Zou had a one point lead.

Tension mounted and trash talk escalated. Zou’s and Qin’s Commons ping-pong reputation was on the line. The score was tied at 10 all, but Zou managed to score two consecutive points, winning him the game.

In game two, Qin held a steady lead for the first half of the game. However, eventually he began to lose control of the ball, and Zou made a comeback. The game, once again, was close. At 9-all, energy was at an all time high.

“Let’s go!” both players yelled numerous times, jumping up and down. Zou ran a lap in front of the first row of tables to give high-fives. Zou and Qin both seemed confident that they would win.

Ultimately, Zou managed to score the next two points, winning the match. Qin’s swing was powerful yet sometimes exhibited lack of control, which Zou played to his advantage.

“Hopefully next time when we meet again it will be a little closer. Maybe not a 2-0 shutout, maybe a 2-1 [victory],”  Zou said. Zou said he hopes that both players will improve before their next match.

Qin reflected on how he can improve for his next match.

“I think that I came in a little bit too aggressively,” Qin observed. “I underestimated my opponent a little bit. Next time I’m coming in with a little more practice. I wasn’t really warmed up during the entire thing.”

Qin also remarked, tongue-in-cheek, that he thinks ping-pong has changed his life.

Both Zou and Qin will continue to duke it out on the table before senior year comes to a close.