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Rashun Singleton's Inspiring Table Tennis Story

I met Rashun Singleton near Fort Lewis in the late spring of 2009. I said, "Do you play pingpong?"

Her eyes lit up. "Yes I play ping pong! Ping pong changed my life!"

I asked her to email me her story, and a picture of herself. Here is what she wrote to me. It's so inspiring, I wanted to share it with everyone.

 
    from  Rashun Singleton
      to  Tom Veatch
 subject  How Table Tennis Challenged Me for the Best.   
I strive to make the impossible a possibility, to make success Reality.

Motivation is always a factor that most of us lack, if not being able to motivate our self, we look for others to help us with it.

Learning things from the view of others' eyes has not always been something I cared to see. If it wasn't my way, it wasn't your way either, but seeing things in another's perspective isn't a bad idea after all.

I wasn't so sure what my coach had in mind, when he told me I wasn't going to be participating in tryouts for the season that counted the most to me.

In fact I was quite discouraged... That's when I was introduced to a table game: the game of ping pong, a game that's was so farfetched I still thought it was a joke until I was not allowed in the gym for 2 months... That's when I realized that he was serious... Standing around a table watching people bounce a ball back and forth, I really couldn't get why I was in this part of the hall... Until I played, and he told me once I've accomplished what I need to as a person with this game of ping pong, it would make me a better focused athlete, when basketball season comes... Not sure of how to play this game, I continued with an attitude that I could beat everyone until I lost game after game... I finally let someone explain to me what I should do to help me, not to win, but to better understand this game...

After learning many, many things about Table Tennis, I redirected my attention back to why my coach wanted me to do this... And once I did that, I understood that it all is a mind motivation. I hadn't realized that. I never paid attention to the little mistakes I made as a basketball player until I saw the little mistakes I made as a ping pong player, and although the games are very much different, ping pong to me has been and still I think is one of the most challenging games of all.

To have to be able to mentally think of where "this ball no bigger than a golf ball" could possibly go... To have to move the mind as fast as you move your hands... To be able to communicate with someone right next to you... To be able to understand where his or her next move might go... After accomplishing what I had to as a ping pong player... Getting to play basketball a month later, I was mentally focused on how to think with my head and not my hands, to be able to make plays without being so quick to want to score, to become a better team leader, to be come a better student athlete... And to never underestimate things until I've tried them...

Success comes in no shape, size, color, or order; it comes with patience. The wiliness to be ready to motivate your mind... Now as a better athlete and person I know that everything I do is a challenge that is waiting to happen.

For example in the month of February I was being once again selfish, needing to understand that all things in life are similar in certain ways... I was challenging my friend, Tenitiya Simmons, in a game of one on one basketball. Seeing that she's a hairstylist, I had already underestimated her and was thinking that her chances of beating me were slim. But thanks to her, although I won, the challenge wasn't as easy as I thought.

Going back to ping pong I think about the mental side of the game, and how this game has changed me as a person and how I became a better learner.

My Life Is A BlEssINg in The WaitING..

Rashun Singleton