Where age hardly plays a role

Where age hardly plays a role

Ping does it. One second later pong. A sneaker squeaks on the hall floor. Its carrier stretches and stretches, reaches the small, white ball with the bat in his hand, plays it back with pressure. Ping! Otto einbecker has placed his shot so precisely on the edge of the ping pong table that his opponent can no longer reach it. Winning points!

More than two million times this scene has happened in one way or another. Otto einbecker, 75, has been a passionate table tennis player since 1980. The 1.88 meter tall man is the best advertisement for his sport, which has kept him fit for decades. "The beauty of table tennis," says einbecker with a friendly grin, "is that age hardly matters.". Even as a pensioner, he says, it’s no problem to achieve great success at the plate.

Table tennis, according to the lexicon, is tennis in miniature. A ball made of celluloid with a diameter of four centimeters is played back and forth on a plate. The plate is divided into two halves with a net. As in "rough" tennis, the goal is to outplay the opponent so that he can no longer reach the ball.

"Anyone who thinks table tennis is a boring or slow sport is sorely mistaken," says einbecker. "You do need a bit of fitness." Twice a week, the market einersheimer trains together with about ten teammates in the multipurpose hall of the village. In addition, there are the games of the second team, for which the team travels within a radius of about 40 kilometers. Einbecker often helps out in the first team when the need arises.

Originally, otto einbecker was, like so many mannerists, a pure fubballer. But then he had to struggle with a leg injury for a long time and finally found more and more pleasure in "mini tennis". That’s why he joined the subdivision of SV markt einersheim. "Table tennis keeps me fit," says the 75-year-old, who worked for many years in the local building yard and was a lifeguard at the markt einersheim swimming pool in the summer. "It’s a lot of fun for me, and the camaraderie is also worth a lot."

Over time, he has learned to size up his opponents. "I can take it easy today and wait for the best situation until I can score the point. Earlier I was perhaps a bit wilder."

Table tennis is also a good mental workout, even if you don’t think so at first glance. "But you have to look closely and observe the guy opposite," the right-hander makes clear.

Of course, otto einbecker notices that he is no longer quite as agile as he was decades ago. But first of all, he makes up for it with experience – and secondly, it is a kind of fountain of youth for him to play against players who could be his grandchildren. "Of course, you always play to win. But at my age I’m not as crazy as I used to be. It is precisely the age-spanning aspect that makes the sport so."

Dieter schafer, head of the table tennis department at the markt einersheim sports club, can only agree. He invites old and young: "all you need are sneakers and a hit song – and you’re ready to go. If you are interested, you are welcome to come for a trial training session!"

INFO: practice times are every tuesday and friday from 19.30 to 10 p.M. At the mehrzeckhalle in markt einersheim. "Just drop in," is the motto.

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