The Ping Pong Diplomacy

By Yan Ren, Guest Writer; Peng Gao, Guest Writer; and Lauren Herber, Co-Editor

Last Thursday, Thunderbird’s Greater China Club hosted a ping pong tournament in the Coleman lounge. The event was held to honor the “ping pong diplomacy” that led to the restoration of Sino-U.S. relations in the 1960s, which had been on hold for more than two decades. Chinese diplomat Zhou Enlai described the phenomenon as follows: “A ball bounced over the net and the whole world was shocked. The big globe was set in motion by a tiny globe—something inexplicable in physics but not impossible in politics.”

Patrick "the Spin Doctor" Shields and Peng Gao battle it out. PC Yan Ren
Patrick “the Spin Doctor” Shields and Peng Gao battle it out. PC Yan Ren

In addition to playing a role in Sino-U.S. relations, ping pong is one of the most popular sports in China. “We really wanted to use this sport activity to connect our current T-birds. Also, it’s a great way for T-birds to do something fun before finals,” said Yan Ren (MAGAM ’17). Sixteen T-birds came out for the single-elimination style tournament, with the winner of each round advancing to the next. “It was really fun and we sweated a lot,” commented Peng Gao (MAGAM ’17). “We had long games, good games, and close games. I played against Patrick in the first game. He signed up as Patrick ‘the Spin Doctor’ Shields, but ended up like Patrick whom ‘the Spin Doctor’ shields,” joked Peng about his first victory. “But I lost the second game to Chandra, and I feel so pitiful about it,” he lamented. Ryan Todare (MAGAM ’17), Abishek Munshi (MBA ’16), Chandra Koduri (MBA ’16), and Yan Ren (MAGAM ’17) made it to the semi-finals. In the final game, Yan and Chandra fought a close battle, but Yan ended up retaining his title of Ping Pong Champion and taking home the prize of a handmade jersey and some ping pong balls.

Ryan Todare vs. Lening Li. PC Yan Ren
Ryan Todare vs. Lening Li. PC Yan Ren

 

Chandra Koduri defeats Nick Beaudoin. PC Yan Ren
Chandra Koduri defeats Nick Beaudoin. PC Yan Ren

 

 

 

 

 

 

Champion Yan Ren! PC Yan Ren
Champion Yan Ren! PC Yan Ren

“It was a success and everyone really enjoyed this tournament,” commented Yan. Peng agreed, despite his loss to Chandra. “It was a lot of fun…Yan is really good!” The Greater China Club has done a great job this year of hosting fun events that teach T-birds a little more about the Chinese culture. The Chinese New Year celebration, hosted earlier this semester, and the Ping Pong Tournament have given T-birds an opportunity to bond while learning something new. Stay tuned for more fun events hosted by the Greater China Club next semester!

Lauren Herber

Lauren Herber

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