David Fu Bests Brother Michael in Inaugural Ping Pong Tournament
Due to the coronavirus, the 2020 school year has seen many ongoing changes to ensure students’ and the faculty’s health. Masks shield faces, and the courtyard is full of young social distancers. However, not all of the effects of the coronavirus at Pace Academy are negative. The push to a safe, outside hangout area paved the way for a revived Pace sporting activity, ping pong.
Now, during free periods or break, competitors flock to the table to test their skills and have fun. Everyone can join in casual round robins throughout the day, but more competitive games led to a crucial question, who is the best player in the entire school? The answer lay in a 62-player tournament to crown the best ping pong player in all of Pace Academy.
The original Google sheet sent out to the Upper School sparked tons of interest, and the players took to the table in early October. “I saw how much fun people were having with the new table and thought that people would enjoy some friendly competition,” said Gabriel Kadoori, the junior who pioneered the tournament.
For over a month, the competitors met during free periods or after school to play a game to 21 with a win by two points scenario intact. Eventually, names filled the bracket until only four players remained standing. On Monday, Nov. 23, the word spread, and many students filled the tented courtyard to watch the super hyped final four. In the first game, senior Michael Fu showcased his impressive accuracy and his formidable spin serves in a win over fellow talented senior Eli Mautner. In the second game, freshman David Fu conquered senior Matt Genser, showing similar glimpses of his incredible talent.
The championship, a brotherly matchup, was set for Nov. 30 during break, and students couldn’t be more excited to watch the Fu brothers battle for the ultimate prize, Chick-fil-A from Head of Upper School Michael Gannon. It may have been the first time the fans had seen this sibling matchup, but the finalists have played against each other for years.
“I’ve been playing since I was six, and my brother’s been playing since he was nine,” said finalist David Fu. “We play each other pretty often, probably every couple of weeks, minimum. We are both pretty competitive, so we like to test our skills against each other every once and a while. And as for who usually wins, that doesn’t really matter.”
The championship match, a real thriller, caught most upper schoolers’ attention as some stood on chairs just to see the table. For the first half of the match, the opponents went back and forth as neither could establish an upper hand. Many were in awe as they watched two great table tennis players battle for the gold.
However, towards the end of the game, Michael Fu pulled ahead, leading 19-16. Michael needed two more points to end the match and claim victory, but David had a different outcome planned. David Fu resiliently made up the difference and took the championship 21-19.