I guess Papa at the ping pong table epitomizes the way he has lived his life: playful, constantly on the move and irritatingly cheerful (Mama would totally agree with me on that last one).
Let me paint you a typical situation at the ping pong table:
Sweat glistening on my brow (and other parts of my body not appropriate to be mentioned on a U-rated blog), I deftly stroke the ping pong ball across the table. It is beautifully hit, spinning through the air I am convinced that my 51-year-old Dad would be unable to reach it. I am wrong. Somehow he stretches forward and replies with a brilliant cross-court ball. Caught off guard, I cannot touch it even if my life depended on it. It is my Dad's 21st point of the game. Victory for him. Another spirit-crushing defeat for me.
The insidious smile on his lips grows, and a primordially evil sound arose from them:
I have so far won a not-so-grand grand total of ONE game against my Dad. My Dad, on the other hand, has won…let's just say more than one. I've lost count, to be honest.
And it is killing me! This is a man 3 decades older whose me beating me constantly…how can this be happening, you ask?
No, it's not skill. I'm just as good as Papa in that respect (seriously!). Fitness? Come on. Practice? My Dad has barely played ping pong in the last few decades. So how then?
This is how: Papa plays with a composure befitting his years. He plays with a smile on his face. And irritating as it is, I respect him for that. The smile gets wider (and more evil) the bigger his lead, and eventually erupts in evil celebratory laughter after 21 points. Never have I seen him without that evil smile. When my Dad plays, he does with the belief that he will win. A confidence that has come with age. Evil confidence…
But there is one area though where Papa's confidence is, I think, misplaced: his health. Mama constantly lectures Papa to not drink cold drinks, or oily food, but Papa goes on with it anyway. There's little anyone can do to stop him. Hell yeah, "Stubborn" is a prominent feature on Papa's CV.
Papa, when it comes to matters of health, you should LISTEN TO MAMA! And I'm sure you will eventually. Like a player who initiates a last minute comeback to win the set, I am sure you will make the right decision in the end. There are a few things that comes with age. Sometime in the last half-century (yeah, you're that old Pa), Papa has added "Wise" to his CV after "Playful", "Cheerful" and "Lame" :p
Pa, this is not an insult to you. When we call you an old man (and I speak on behalf of Mama and Adik too), it is in a lovably respectful way; as one would describe wine made flavorsome by age. (Not that I would know how wine tastes like).
In the end, this post is not (just) the rant of a son who has lost to his dad (unfailingly). It is a tribute to a Dad who is a credit to his 51 years.
A friend of mine (his name won't be mentioned to protect his identity) at the futsal court told me: "for his age, your Dad is a very fit guy". Of course, as most sons would do, I answered with a shrug and a "nyehh…!", but honestly, I agreed with him. I can only wish to have Papa's futsal skills when I'm 51.
As a son, I just hope he will keep it up. It would be a shame for all that skill to go to waste just because you can't run anymore. So, once again, LISTEN TO MAMA when it comes to eating habits! *high-five from my Mum* :p
I am a sore loser (I got it from Mama). But Papa, if there is anyone I am to constantly lose to, I am happy it is you. It is an honour, sir.
Stay healthy, Pa. We all want you around for another 51 years. I may need that amount of time to finally beat you at ping pong :D
Happy Birthday, Pa.