Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Features

November 13, 2013

'Pingpong diplomacy'

High school senior's table tennis skills land him trip to China

Kokomo High School senior Craig Simon took off his suit jacket, tucked his tie into his pants, changed his shoes and played pingpong against one of the best players at Donyang Foreign Language School in China.

It was an experience he will never forget.

He was invited to Dongyang by the city’s deputy mayor – a man who leads 800,000 people and is responsible for making 5,000 government appointments.

When the high-ranking Chinese official was in Kokomo in January, he challenged Simon to an impromptu game at the international residence hall.

Superintendent Jeff Hauswald pulled Simon out of trigonometry to play. The 18-year-old dazzled the Chinese delegation with his skills.

“They were so impressed they invited me back there to play,” Simon said.

Simon said pingpong is a pretty obscure sport in the United States. Not very many people play. But in China, it’s the national sport. Kids start playing in kindergarten, kind of like t-ball. They take it very seriously. The fact that they were impressed with his skills was an honor, he said.

Simon got his start in sixth- or seventh-grade playing against much older men at the Kokomo Table Tennis Club. They showed him the ropes, and now he schools many of them during their weekly matches.

But Dave Barnes, director of communications for Kokomo Schools, said Simon impressed Dongyang’s deputy mayor in other ways, too. It went beyond his pingpong skills.

“He was impressed with how Craig handled himself, how courteous he was, how well mannered,” Barnes said. “That really left an impression on him.”

So at the deputy mayor’s request, Simon joined Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight’s delegation of government, business and education officials who recently visited Kokomo’s sister city in eastern China.

He played at least two matches while he was there – one against the Dongyang Foreign Language School’s best player, in his suit and tie, and one against the deputy mayor.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Features
  • Easter assures us God is with us We sometimes ask, “Where is God at?” The Answer: God is here and there, inside and outside. God was before the beginning, is here right now and is already in the future. God knows everything and everyone. God can do everything or God can choose to d

    April 19, 2014

  • Dress Coded-6 [Duplicate] Dress coded EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) — They're called leggings — popular fashion items that are tight-fitting pants to some, and glorified tights to others. Younger girls often wear them as pants with little fuss. But as those same girls approach middle school, leggi

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Homes-White Paint-6 [Duplicate] Different shades of white NEW YORK (AP) — So you want to paint a room white. Sounds easy, until you go to the hardware store to buy paint and discover there are dozens of whites to choose from. Many have familiar yet poetic names that conjure up ever-so-slightly different hue

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mom worries about son who set fire to mouse Q: My 18-year-old son and a slightly younger friend recently found some mice and decided to dispose of them. They drowned one and set the other one on fire. When I confronted my son for torturing animals, his response was "They're just mice."

    April 17, 2014

  • Dress Coded [Duplicate] Dress codes: Where should schools set limits? EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) — They're called leggings — popular fashion items that are tight-fitting pants to some, and glorified tights to others. Younger girls often wear them as pants with little fuss. But as those same girls approach middle school, legg

    April 16, 2014 4 Photos

  • Fewer pro athletes missing birth of children Tony Perez was on the road with the Cincinnati Reds in 1966 when he got the call that his first child was on the way. There was no discussion about leaving the team to attend Victor's birth, no such thing as paternity leave. "They didn't give you any

    April 16, 2014

  • Exchange Be The Match [Duplicate] Be the match JEFFERSONVILLE (AP) — When Phil Meeks went to the doctor for shortness of breath and a burning in his legs, he expected nothing more than a routine diagnosis. "I was a smoker, so I thought, it's probably my smoking," said Meeks, a 47-year-old Jeffers

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Diet Food Backlash [Duplicate] Diet food backlash NEW YORK (AP) — Obsessing over calories alone has left dieters with an empty feeling. The calorie counting that defined dieting for so long is giving way to other considerations, like the promise of more fiber or natural ingredients. That is chipping

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Amish Cook shares Reese's pudding recipe April is here, bringing us warmer temperatures. Monday was nice and warm. We hung all the laundry outside on the lines. By evening all of it was dry. How nice to be able to wash the clothes and put them away the same day. It is laundry day again tod

    April 14, 2014

  • TV Stephen Colbert [Duplicate] Colbert hosting 'Late Show' raises questions, hope NEW YORK (AP) — With the announcement that Stephen Colbert will be the new host of CBS' "Late Show," his fans likely feel a clash of emotions: — Happiness that their hero has landed a sweet promotion. — Regret that he's leaving his Comedy Central pos

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries
Poll
Kelly Lafferty's video on Tom Miller