Audio ShowcaseStory ShowcasePhoto ShowcaseOpening CeremoniesDonor Recognition CeremoniesQuilt PinningClosing CeremoniesVolleyball CompetitionTennis CompetitionBowling CompetitionTrack & Field CompetitionTable Tennis CompetitionSwimming CompetitionRaquetball Competition5K RaceGolf CompetitionCycling CompetitionBasketball CompetitionBadmiton CompetitionKidsTeamsDonar Families1999 Summer World Games1999 Winter World Games1998 U.S. Games1997 Summer World Games1996 U.S. Games
Visit TransWeb
Press ReleaseMessagesBehind the ScenesWebcast Sponsors
by David Katz
Available at Intramurals.com
Shrewd Game, Silly Name by Randy H. Milgrom

Shrewd Game, Silly Name

Say "table tennis" and most people will say, "You mean ping pong?" But ping-pong is too silly a name for this shrewd game.

At the highest level of play, the table tennis table seems too small to contain the tendencies of its players.

At the highest level of play, the table tennis table seems too small to contain the tendencies of its players. Some apply spin to the little plastic sphere so that it is sent hopping, on a single bounce and in the opposite direction, by a distance exceeding the width of the table itself. Others deliver a slam so powerful that retrieval of the ball, if not returned - which it occasionally, and seemingly miraculously, is - would require many minutes and a full trot across the fieldhouse were it not for the Games' clever strategy of always having additional balls on hand.

By the time the finals of the men's 40-49 competition began, the crowd had grown accustomed to these outsized feats of legerdemain and strategy. Still, they thrilled to the ebb and flow of the match between Dan Kutzer, of Team Florida, and Alfons Schulze-Boing, of Germany.

These players are well-matched, and a study in contrasts. Schulze-Boing is more of a defensive player, while Kutzer risks more slams and other incursions across the net. Schulze-Boing delivers his backhanded-spin serve quickly and unobtrusively, while Kutzer's delivery of his European-derived high-toss serve is rhythm-busting and exaggerated.

Kutzer won the first game rather handily by a score of 21-12, but Schulze-Boing fought back into the match with a 21-17 second game win. In the third game, Kutzer went out to an early lead, but went into a bit of a shell protecting it. As Schulze-Boing scratched his way back, Kutzer made an unforced error, and he yelled at himself, "Come on Dan, bear down." And he did so, hanging on and winning off the strength of his outlandish serve, 21-17. Even in the well air-conditioned fieldhouse, both players were drenched in sweat. Schulze-Boing, who does not speak English, crossed immediately to the other side of the table to congratulate Kutzer with a warm, wordless handshake.

Schulze-Boing received a kidney transplant in 1993 and can now add this silver medal to the ones he has already won in Sydney and Budapest. Kutzer received a kidney in July 1999, and just find out about the Transplant Games two or three months ago when he noticed a sign about it in his doctor's office. This is his first Games, and he was thrilled to be a gold medalist in his first attempt.

Kutzer began playing as a pre-teen when he participated in tournaments around the country. Schulze-Boing started playing about 25 years ago, and is currently president of the Table Tennis Association in his area of northeast Germany.

New kidneys, and superior table tennis, are in their bloodstream. A rematch looms.


Back to the top