Vermont Bar Journal, Vol. 40, No. 2 - Page 9

VBA : So if you place in Vermont , do you have a ranking in Vermont ?
BL : Well , I have a rating , so everyone that plays in a tournament has a rating . There are 2 different systems for this one is called USATT and the other is called Ratings Central , and they are different systems , so technically , one ’ s rating in the USATT is a number that ’ s maybe 300 or 400 points higher than a Ratings Central rating .
VBA : Oh , so you tell everyone your US- ATT rating ?
BL : Yes , that ’ s the one to advertise ! From my USATT rating , I am around a 1430 . I am a 1430 , so I only play competitively with people the 1300-1500 range .
VBA : Oh , how high does it go ?
BL : Oh , you know , the best players in the world are up around 3000 maybe . Anyone playing over 2000 , in my book is an exceptionally good player . There are only a couple of people in Vermont in that level .
VBA : There are a range of people in the 1500 range then , but probably not that many though , right ?
BL : There are just a few people in the 1500 range .
VBA : Yeah , so you are pretty darn good , as I said when we started this !
BL : As I say , the best player in Vermont , this guy named Tim Aikey , he is maybe 2200 or something in USATT ratings , so I don ’ t have a chance against him when I play him . You have got to understand , it ’ s all relative .
VBA : It ’ s all relative . BL : There are just not that many players that are playing in Vermont Clubs .
VBA : Do you prefer singles or doubles ? BL : I like them both .
VBA : I always think doubles is hard because your partners , they just don ’ t get out of your way and you have to move so fast . I guess it ’ s a whole different thing from singles , right ?
BL : Yeah , it ’ s kind of a different game . I think overall , I have to say I prefer singles , but , I enjoy doubles too . When we play doubles in our clubs , it ’ s usually a lot of fun , nobody takes it too seriously and there ’ s a lot of laughing and some goofiness .
VBA : Have you always played ping pong ?
BL : Well , I played as a kid , which was literally in a basement , but it ’ s also called basement play , and then here in Montpelier , when my kids were growing up , we had a table and I played with them a lot . Then I would say maybe about 15 years ago , I started playing with a group of guys in Montpelier , which was first in somebody ’ s garage , and shortly after that migrated to
the Alumni Hall Gym at Vermont College at Vermont College of Fine Arts , so we played up there in the gym , and then they decided that they were going to use that space for other things and booted us out . Finally , we were able to get space at the Montpelier Rec Center on Barre Street here in town , so we have been , oh , I don ’ t know , 6 years we have been playing the Rec Center , we keep tables there , we have 5 or 6 tables , they let us keep them there .
VBA : You put your tables there ? BL : Well , we have a couple of decent tables and some not so good tables …
VBA : Is there enough space ? It ’ s my understanding when you get into the competitive ping pong ; you are at least 10 feet behind the table or something crazy like that .
BL : It is great space . At least for 5 tables , there really is plenty of space . There is tons of room to move back , so you can move back for defensive posture , and the ceilings are high . Yes , it ’ s totally different basement play where you are banging into the walls .
VBA : We have a net on our dining room table and we have to make due with maybe 2 feet behind us . It ’ s just not the same . My husband is pretty good , and I dabble .
BL : Oh , well maybe we can get you to come ….
VBA : That was my next question . Are these co-ed leagues that you are in or at least the particular tournaments , are they divided between men and women ?
BL : The Clubs are all co-ed , but frankly and disappointingly , there are very few women that are playing .
VBA : Really ?
BL : Yeah , just not very many women come , and I don ’ t know why that is , but that is the truth . In tournaments , in some tournaments , there are women ’ s events , for example the Senior Games , there is a women ’ s separate from men ’ s as well as mixed doubles , like in tennis . But any Vermont Tournament is not divided by gender , so if you are coming you would just play in open events or your event level . At some , better players are disqualified , for example , this one says , under 1300 , U1300 , so this was a tournament for players whose rating in the Central Ratings System was under 1300 and , in Ratings Central , I am under 1300 , so I could play in this , I came in 2 nd . The best Vermont players couldn ’ t play in this event .
There is always an open where everyone can play in . Additionally , you can always play in an event as long as you are under it , so if there was also , as there might have been in this tournament , an under 600 or under 800 , and under 600 means , really novice , beginners could play .
VBA : So do you have to go somewhere to get rated before you play ?
BL : You first get rated by entering a rated tournament . You enter as an unrated player , and depending on how well you play against rated players , the system will generate a rating for you . You beat higher rated players , your rating goes up . You lose against lower rated players , and your rating goes down . The Ratings Central number which becomes your record in a computer software program created by the Ratings Central organization .
VBA : So you play a few times a week and you still have time to practice law ?
BL : Yeah , our Montpelier club is Sunday morning , so every Sunday morning , we play all year , and the Champlain Valley Club is every Friday night . I also play in the summer on Wednesday nights .
VBA : So where is the furthest you have travelled for ping pong ?
BL : Cleveland was the furthest for the National Senior Games .
VBA : And you are going to Alabama ?
BL : I don ’ t know yet . I don ’ t know if I have even qualified yet , because we haven ’ t had the state games , so I could qualify in either New Hampshire or Vermont because I will enter both and I ’ d have to be either a winner or runner up in my age group .
VBA : You could do that . I have faith . BL : Well , there are a few people in my age group who play better than I do !
VBA : They may show up and they may not , you may beat them and you may not … but you enjoy it , right ? It ’ s a good balance for you in your life and if you play that many times a week , you must really love it .
BL : Oh , yes ! It has become a lovely thing for me .
VBA : That ’ s great . Well , we are finding so many lawyers that have special talents and outside interests that keep their life in balance and this one struck me as particularly fascinating . Not very many people know that about you , I think , was it your intention to keep it quiet ? BL : Well , not anymore !
VBA : [ Laughs ]. Well , thank you ! We really appreciate you agreeing to let me interview you and sharing your little secret , but it ’ s a great story , and for that I thank you . BL : Thanks , Jennifer . ____________________ Do you want to nominate yourself or a fellow VBA member to be interviewed for Pursuits of Happiness ? Email me at jeb @ vtbar . org .
Pursuits of Happiness
www . vtbar . org THE VERMONT BAR JOURNAL • SUMMER 2016 9
VBA: Oh, so you tell everyone your USATT rating? BL: Yes, that’s the one to advertise! From my USATT rating, I am around a 1430. I am a 1430, so I only play competitively with people the 1300-1500 range. VBA: Oh, how high does it go? BL: Oh, you know, the best players in the world are up around 3000 maybe. Anyone playing over 2000, in my book is an exceptionally good player. There are only a couple of people in Vermont in that level. VBA: There are a range of people in the 1500 range then, but probably not that many though, right? BL: There are just a few people in the 1500 range. VBA: Yeah, so you are pretty darn good, as I said when we started this! BL: As I say, the best player in Vermont, this guy named Tim Aikey, he is maybe 2200 or something in USATT ratings, so I don’t have a chance against him when I play him. You have got to understand, it’s all relative. VBA: It’s all relative. BL: There are just not that many players that are playing in Vermont Clubs. VBA: Do you prefer singles or doubles? BL: I like them both. VBA: I always think doubles is hard because your partners, they just don’t get out of your way and you have to move so fast. I guess it’s a whole different thing from singles, right? BL: Yeah, it’s kind of a different game. I think overall, I have to say I prefer singles, but, I enjoy doubles too. When we play doubles in our clubs, it’s usually a lot of fun, nobody takes it too seriously and there’s a lot of laughing and some goofiness. VBA: Have you always played ping ۙ[ H^YY\HY X\›]\[H[H\[Y[ ]]8&\[[Y\[Y[^K[[\H[[۝[Y\[^HY\Hܛ[\ BYHXH[H^YY][HH [H[^HX^XHX] MHYX\˜YH\Y^Z[]Hܛ\و^\š[[۝[Y\X\\[YXx&\™\YK[ܝHY\]ZYܘ]Y˝\ܙ‚H[[[H[[H]\[۝YH]\[۝YHو[H\H^YY\\H[H[K[[^HXYY]^H\H[\H]XB܈\[[Y\] [[KH\HXH]XH]H[۝[Y\X[\ۈ\HY]\H[ۋH]HY[ H۸&]ۛ YX\B]HY[^Z[HX[\HY\X\\KH]H H܈ X\^H]\Y\[H\KN[H][\X\\O[ H]HH\HوX[X\[YHX\)N\\H[YXO]8&\^H[\[[[[H][H\]]]H[ۙ[H\H]X\ LY]Z[HXH܈Y][ܘ^HZH] ]\ܙX]XK]X\܈ HX\\HX[H\[HوXK\H\ۜ›وH[ݙHX[H[[ݙBX܈Y[]H\K[HZ[[˜\HY Y\]8&\[HY\[\[Y[^H\H[H\H[[[H[˂NH]HH]ۈ\[[BXH[H]HXZHYH]X^XBY]Z[\ˈ]8&\\H[YK^B\ؘ[\]H [HXK [X^XHH[][H˜Yx)N]\^H^]Y\[ۋ\B\HYYXYY\][H\H[܈]X\H\X[\\[Y[\H^B]YY]Y[Y[[Y[HX\H[YY ][H[\\[[K\H\H\H]Y[]\H^Z[˂NX[OYXZ \\HX[HY[YK[H۸&]ۛH]\]]\H] [\[Y[[YH\[Y[\H\HY[&\][܈^[\HH[[܈[Y\\H\HY[&\œ\\]HHY[&\\[\Z^YX\ZH[[\ˈ][H\[۝\[Y[\]YYH[\Y[H\BZ[[H[\^H[[][›܈[\][][ ]YK]\^Y\˜\H\]X[YYY ܈^[\K\ۙH^\[\ L LL \\H\[Y[܈^Y\H][[H[[][\[H\[\ L [ [][[[ H[H[\ L H[^H[\H[YH[ H\\[۝^Y\[&]^H[\][ \H\[^\[[\H]\[ۙB[^H[Y][ۘ[K[H[[^\^B[[][\ۙ\[H\H[\] Y\H\[\\HZY]HY[[\\[Y[ [[\ ܈[\ [[\ YX[X[HݚXKY[\[^KHTSӕTTS8(SSQT MN[H]HY]\B]]YYܙH[H^O[H\]]YH[\[H]Y\[Y[ [H[\\[[]Y^Y\[\[[ۈ[[H^BYZ[]Y^Y\H\[H[[\]HH][܈[K[HX]Y\]Y^Y\[\][\\ [HBYZ[\]Y^Y\[[\][™\ۋH][[[\XXY\[\Xܙ[H\]\ٝ\Hܘ[HܙX]YHH][[[ܙ[^][ۋ\Z]و\[\‚NY[HXH[\[۝ [B]HH[[[\[۝[ H]HH][]\[ۙH]^\[H\[Y[\H][ˈ\B\H Y\[\[\܈\ۙH\[YTU[H\\[Y][[[ [^H\HY\[\[\XX[Kۙx&\][[HTU\H\]8&\X^XH ܈ [Y\[H][[[][˂N[H^HH][Y\HYZ[[H[]H[YHXXH]YXZ \[۝[Y\X\[^B[ܛ[]\H[^H[ܛ[H^B[YX\[H[\Z[[^HX\]\HY^HY H[^H[H[[Y\ۈY\^HY˂N\H\H\\[H]B][Y܈[ۙ][[\H\\܈B][ۘ[[[܈[Y\˂N[[H\H[[X[XOH۸&]ۛY] H۸&]ۛYB]H][]X[YYYY] X]\HH][&]YH]H[Y\H[]X[YH[Z]\][\\H܈\[۝X]\HB[[\[x&Y]HHZ]\B[\܈[\\[^HYHܛ\ N[H[] H]HZ] [ \H\HH][H[^BYHܛ\^H]\[HBN^HX^H\[^HX^B [HX^HX][H[[HX^H8)][H[H] Y]8&\H[[B܈[H[[\YH[Y[H^H]X[B[Y\HYZ[H]\X[HݙH]  Y\H]\XYHHݙ[H[™܈YKN]8&\ܙX] [ H\H[[œX[H]Y\]]HXX[[[˜[]YH[\\]Y\Z\YH[[[H[\ۙHXYH\\X[\H\[][ˈ\HX[H[Hۛ]X][KH[\][\[[[ۂY\]]ZY][ [[[ܙHBN]YK[ [[HHHX[B\XX]H[HYܙYZ[]YH[\Y]ž[H[\[[\]HXܙ] ]]8&\BܙX]ܞK[܈]H[[K[[Y\‘[H[Z[]H[\[܈H[HY[X\H[\Y]Y܈\Z]و\[\[XZ[YH]X\ܙ˂B