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Pingpong Tournament 2004
Richard Middleton
(under Elvis)

Geography held its first pingpong tournament Winter Quarter 2004, courtesy of graduate student Richard Middleton's organization and Prof. Keith Clarke's pingpong table, loaned to the grad student lounge. Forty-one people signed up: 25 grad students, eight staff/researchers (four of which were from ICESS), and eight faculty. One undergrad managed to slip in, though counted as a grad student. Of those that signed up, one staff/researcher and three faculty dropped out without playing.

Richard set up groups of players, and the players signed up for practice and game time using a Yahoo calendar. Five rounds were played, starting February 26. The first round involved ten groups of four (except the one group which had five), with the top two players advancing. The second round was five groups of four, with the top two advancing. Round 3 was three groups of five. Round 4, the semifinalists, and Round 5, the finalists, played March 11.

ICESS, inhabiting the uppermost (6th) floor of Ellison Hall, proved to be tops in pingpong as well. Three out of the four semifinalists were from ICESS: JC Shi, QC Zhang, and Toby Westberry. The best woman and the best faculty person was one-and-the-same and was ICESS: Catherine Gautier. She played through the tournament until just before March 11th's final games. Jack Zhou, who is a grad student and not employed by ICESS, was the fourth semifinalist.

In the seminfinals, Jack played JC; Toby played QC.

Warming up Warming up Watching Jack & JC game Jack & JC game
Watching Toby & QC game QC & Toby game QC & Toby game

It came down to JC and QC. Both held the paddle in the manner westerners have seen world champion Chinese pingpong players use. Both had clever spins and wicked strategies. (Players earlier in the tournament talked of being creamed by them!) Nice men, but don't expect to win pingpong against them!

With only a brief rest after the semifinalist games, JC and QC played three intense games, QC winning two out of the three.



Richard presents
QC with award

Richard presented QC with a certificate Richard had just printed. It was signed by the Department Chair.

Side-note: When the tournament began, the grad student lounge was the dump it had been for years — crammed with beat-up sofas ("a sofa cemetary," one student quipped), a dead VCR and TV, and other left-over brick-a-brack. The walls probably had the original paint on them: they looked as cheerful as 50 years of cigarette smoke. Thanks to the energy of the Department's new MSO* — who herself washed walls — furniture carcasses were hauled off, the walls painted, and a sink (which had been waiting on the sidelines for years) was installed. Hallelujah! By the time the semifinalists were playing, the room was no longer an "art installation" depicting depression, but a lounge in which one can relax.


* MSO: Managing Staff Officer, the top staff person, Mo Lovegreen

(All photos are by Susanna Baumgart, which,
due to the dimness of lighting, are pixelated.
Apologies for the limits of current technology!)

March 18, 2004