EDitorial ± 8-Oct-2001

Spin Doctor

Growing up at home with my brother, the fold-away dining table in the living room got used for many diverse sporting activities. It supported the 5ft slate-bed snooker table that my dad built in the garage. It made an ideal surface for shove-ha'penny football, played with unbreakable plastic rulers, loose change from the phone box, and with small wooden goals clamped to the shiny topside (much to the annoyance of my mum). Despite being oval in shape, it also made do for ping-pong.

Me and my big bro' also played a bit of table tennis at our youth club, where I think he usually beat me. At college I maybe played twice in three years, then it was out into the big bad world of gainful employment. There, at BT Research Labs (as they were called back then) at Martlesham Heath, I stumbled across the BTTTC one lunchtime. Rather than heading for the canteen with everyone else, a gang of people would queue to play doubles on one of the two available tables. Then we'd go to the canteen afterwards.

Super Friendship 729 FX (black), Coppa (red)

I wasn't much cop, but I was keen, and joined one of the many BT teams who took part in the local Ipswich & District league, each named after a World War 2 aircraft since the BT site was on top of the old airfield. My lot were called the BT Defiants, who had finished bottom of division 6 the previous season. Above us were divs 5a/5b, 4a/4b, 3a/3b, 2a/2b, 1 and premier. There were no divisions beneath us.

This was October 1987. Fourteen years later, in spite of no longer being employed by BT - a technicality - me and the Defiants are battling on. As I write, four matches into the new season, we remain unbeaten. Although we do mysteriously find ourselves back in the bottom division. Still, it's not the winning, it's the taking part, at least if you're a member of the BT Defiants.

Fancy a knock?

Be seeing you!