Rick the Ping-Pong Star

Enzo wasn`t very excited as he walked up the stairs to the 5th floor of Modulo high school. He knew what he was about to confront.  He had been going from class to class all morning, recruiting kids to the school`s Olympics. Everything was going well so far, but now it was time for the “problematic” class, to quote the principal, to be asked to take part on one of the most important events of the school. If he could simply ignore that class he would, but he had to make sure every class would get the chance to participate.

The philosophy teacher didn`t mind at all Enzo`s interruption. He was barely interrupting anything; the students were doing anything but paying attention to the lesson. It took a while for them to notice Enzo standing there, and some struggle from the teacher to get their attention to him. When everybody quieted down, he started:

–          Good morning, everybody! As you all know, every year, we have the school`s Olympics and I`m here to know which of you will represent your class in each sport. – he heard some boring sighs – Well let`s make this quick, shall we? When I say the name of the sport you`d like to compete just raise your hand, ok?

Two or three of the 36 students gave a sign to be listening, so he continued:

–          Volleyball; – he looked over his clip board, no answer – Soccer; – a few boys raised their hands, barely enough to make a team – Basketball; Dodge ball; Race; – he kept listing the many sports with no answer at all from the students and was already putting his papers away when he finally said – Ping pong.

 

He wouldn`t realize someone had volunteered if it wasn`t for the student`s cheering screams coming from all over the class. He turned around to see Rick, the class`s pet, with one hand up, looking straight at him. Enzo couldn`t tell if that was some kind of joke, or if he was just going to ask the teacher a question, as he often did, or if Rick actually wanted to play ping pong. Well, if it was any of the first options, it soon became the third. The students were cheering so loud, yelling Rick`s name and making a party out of the situation; that made Rick feel so wanted that he couldn’t say no to ping pong.

The rest of the students were as puzzled as Enzo. Rick wasn`t sportive at all and the general opinion was that he was a very awkward kid. First of all he was bald, with a little hair on the sides of his head, which is pretty weird for a 17-year-old. He wore glasses, the kind of glasses that if any person with a perfect vision looks through he would probably see micro-organisms. Besides his strange look, it was also a little difficult to keep a conversation with Rick, he had some trouble expressing himself and he could only talk very slowly. He was also known by his frequent questions. Every time he raised his finger the class would listen to the next unnecessary question and the teacher`s obvious answer.

Despite all that he was now the ping pong star. Maybe that was a talent that nobody knew about and would now be revealed so Rick would upgrade from the class`s pet to the class`s champion. At least that was what Rick expected right before his first game. He was afraid to go down the stairs to where the ping pong table was. A massive group of students, not only from his class but from the rest of the school, was waiting for him to play, cheering with such a fervor he had never seen before. Everybody was screaming his name; there was even organized cheering. One girl would shout: “I want to hear an R!” and all the rest: “R!” Every time they finished spelling RICK they would jump and sing, repeating his name over and over. Nobody cared when he lost the game. The party continued in the class room and the next games until the end of the Olympics. At some point there was a huge sign with Rick`s picture in the class room, and he`s name was everywhere in the school.

None of the students knows exactly why Rick was such a success on their last high school year. They could be just making fun of him or maybe it was just a reason to have a good time. But at the end Rick became an icon, a hero, and nobody in his class will ever forget him.

These are Rick`s Youtube videos:

Rick`s Game

Rick Before the Game

 

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