What did you dream about when you were a kid? Have any of those dreams come to true?
One of my BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goal, thanks Frank Reinelt!) as a kid came to fruition in 2018. I’m now a corporately sponsored table tennis athlete! What’s more, I’m sponsored by my employer, Compello Group. How cool is that?! My journey starts now. Thanks for being part of it!
Let me share how this came to be.
I’m Swedish and growing up in Stockholm in the 90’s, table tennis was very popular. My hero early on was Jan-Owe Waldner. Arguably the best table tennis player ever.
I started playing as early as my local club would allow me, at age 7. One thing you should know about me is that I was born with a light form of Cerebral Palsy, called Hemiplegia. This mainly affects the right side of my body. Predominantly moving my right arm and leg has its limitations.
My CP has never really stopped me. Quite the opposite. It has made me stronger, and more determined. It gave me an internal hunger to prove that I can do it better than my “regular” peers.
It gave me an internal hunger to prove that I can do it better than my “regular” peers.
I quickly excelled and was a rising star at my club and the Stockholm table tennis circuit. Most weekends I’d find my way to the podium with a medal or a trophy in hand. At the peak, my team was undefeated in Stockholm and awarded best team of the year. With me as the star player. On the individual side I reached as 3rd in the district of Stockholm for my age group. This even resulted in me being interviewed by the local newspaper Söder om Söder.
The sky was the limit for me at that time! Dreams of becoming a professional table tennis player were formed and within my grasp. But when my friends and teammates quit table tennis to play other sports I did the same shortly after.
How could I not? My team went from undefeated to last place and a laughing stock of the league. Believe it or not, I burst out laughing once at the terrible play of my doubles partner. I was swiftly told off by my mom, of course! 😊
Fast forward, approximately 15 years and living in London I found myself playing table tennis again thanks to getting to know Olav Stahl who was a table tennis coach in London. I played for his club and was on one of his London league team. When I started I was probably the worst player on the roster. Towards the end of the season I was the player with the best record. I came to see that I have a great upside in developing and improving my abilities in leaps. The one reason I attribute to this is that I’ve fallen in love with practicing on the things I suck at!
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Did you know that..
- CP is a collective name for several types of muscle control disorders.
- Hemiplegia is a type of CP
- Population-based studies from around the world report prevalence estimates of CP ranging from 1.5 to more than 4 per 1,000 live births or children of a defined age range.
- In Sweden, 200/100 000 are born with a CP injury
- The 6th of October is the World CP Day