The finals turned out to be more than team versus team, it was also mother against son.
After successful round robin play and victorious semis, Sunday’s Whitehorse Table Tennis Club’s Doubles Event finals featured Dave Stockdale and Malkolm Boothroyd against Wendy Boothroyd and Ryan Bachli. Playing the only best-of-five match of the day, Stockdale and Boothroyd edged out their competitors for the win with a score of 11-8, 7-11, 11-8, 5-11, 11-6.
Ironically, when the two teams met in round robin the result was reversed, with Boothroyd and Bachli winning two games to one.
“We should have beaten them actually,” said Stockdale, who is also the club president, speaking of the round robin encounter. “Ryan is a very good player, but he’s only half the team. Malkolm and I are both fairly good players. Two fairly good players should beat a very good player and a weaker player…
“Ryan is so steady, when they beat us all his shots were on,” continued Stockdale. “He didn’t miss any of his shots at all, and Malkolm and I both missed shots — easy shots.
“In the finals (we were) a little more steady — a little more concentration, I guess.”
The doubles teams were not determined by the players, but by the organizers with the intention of evening out the field of competition.
“No,” said Wendy, when asked if playing against her son was difficult. “He’s actually nice to me. In that game I was the weak player — they were having to be nice to me … I was playing with a hot player, but I’m not hot…
“He was being nice to me so I really don’t care how I do in the tournament.”
The event was originally supposed to be mixed doubles, but was changed to regular doubles because of a shortage of women players in the club. However, perhaps that’s just as well since mixed doubles is fading from competitive table tennis.
“Mixed doubles, actually is being fazed out,” said Stockdale. “In all the national competitions and international competitions they don’t have mixed doubles anymore. They’ve just gone away from that.”
At the end of the month, Bachli will be competing in tournaments in Baltimore, Maryland, and in Phoenix, Arizona.
For the Baltimore tournament, a team event, Bachli will be joining an American team made up from Brooklyn, New York residents of Egyptian decent, prompting the name the Brooklyn Pharaohs.
“If you don’t have a team they have an internet site that has all the players that don’t have a full team,” said Bachli, who will be the only Yukon competitor. “So you can ask and they might let you join if your ratings are high enough.”
The Whitehorse club holds two events a month on average. Currently, according to Stockdale, the club is planning a “handicap singles event.”
Inspired by an Alaskan tournament, the handicap system incorporates points players have earned through competitions to level the playing field between players of unequal skill. So in the case of 50-to-1 system, a player with 500 points will get a 10-point head start over a player with 1,000 points.
The alternative is “a negotiated handicap, where you sit down a decide amongst yourselves what you’ll give the other person. And you can have an arbitrator if you want,” said Stockdale.
“It works out great because even the poorer players have a chance at winning,” said Stockdale.
Family to discuss
Last year, the Boothroyds conducted a massive bird watching-cycling trip that took them from Whitehorse to Florida and back to Texas.
Over the year that the trip took, the Boothroyds saw 548 different species of birds.
“A ‘big year’ is trying to see as many birds as you can in one year — it’s kind of a competitive aspect to birding,” said Wendy. “Traditionally, in order to see rare birds, people travel gazillions of miles. So the record holder for a big year saw 745 species and he flew back and forth across North America … And the total distance he flew was further than the moon and part way back …
“So we read about that and thought that that amount of fossil fuel use is not good for birds. We decided to do a bird big year with no fossil fuels, so that’s what we did.”
This Wednesday at 7 p.m. the Boothroyd family will be discussing their trip in a public forum at the Whitehorse Public Library. Admission to the event, which is hosted by Whitehorse’s bird watching club, is free.
Contact Tom Patrick at email@example.com