One thing I’ve grown to love about our Stanford campus is its welcoming and open aura. Whether it was your RA’s screaming your name on move-in day, your first real conversation with a professor or your first college football game, we’ve all experienced Stanford’s open arms at one point or another.
Like many other freshman, I experienced these first moments of community within my dorm, especially while playing ping pong and pool. Though pool and ping pong may be nothing more than leisurely table games for some, these two activities helped me form countless caring relationships during my first weeks of college.
I came to Stanford with little to no knowledge about pool and average ping pong skills. Yet, as I ventured out of my comfort zone, I found myself drawn to the pool table. By observing the finesse of my dorm mates, I slowly but surely learned the rules of the game. I struggled in the beginning, but my errors were always met by people who were willing to help me improve my technique.
I learned the art of holding a cue stick and how to use the slant of Serra’s pool table to my advantage. I gained a greater sense of humility from the consecutive losses I took at the beginning of my pool career. But most importantly, I found a community of people who stood behind me when I wanted to try something new and picked me up when I failed.
I couldn’t imagine my Stanford experience being the same without pool and ping pong. On days when I need a break, I can turn to these activities for laughter and friendship. I can pick up a paddle or a cue and just de-stress from the busy day. Though our games can get quite competitive at times, we all know that the greatest victory is the community we’ve built through two simple table games.
Contact Ayushi Tandel at atandel ‘at’ stanford.edu.