I’ll never forget that inaugural tournament. It was one of the most glorious days of my life. We had a crowd of colleagues cheering for us and we won free Royals tickets. I really wanted those tickets and had to figure out how to win the ping-pong games while not looking like I was being ruthless or trying too hard. (unfortunately the game the tickets were for wound up experiencing a 3-hour rain delay, but no complaints. Volquez was throwing fire that night). The follow-up tourney happened while I was in Ecuador. I almost canceled the trip but the Hacienda I’d booked did not take refunds, only credit for free llama rides for the kids, which sounded unsafe. The following year, the tourney was a blind-draw where you got paired with someone randomly. And the year after that I got overly drunk on expired Shiner Bock and was disqualified before I was even able to lift a paddle. In short, we never really got a chance to defend our title. And for that I think the universe owes us both a generous slab of grief bacon. Who knows, maybe the planets will align again and we’ll get one last crack at glory and the Blazing Paddles can compete for the gold cup once again. In the great game of doubles ping-pong, one can hope and another can dream, but only two can win.