Thanks to my 6'0 frame, I developed a powerful serve; unfortunately, my mediocre in-game shot accuracy kept me out of our team's top ranks even into my senior year.
An IM conversation this evening with foobiwan reminded me of those years - and in particular, our school's star player, Steven Lee whose Evil Chinaman Jedi Mind Trick I still recall with great fondness.
It should go without saying that nobody gets to be a top-ranked player in a school of that size without serious athletic credentials, and Steve had plenty: strong serve, deadly volley game and lightning-quick ground shots. But when opponents of equal ability face off, subtle factors can tip the scales; in that, Steve employed one of the most devious and elegant mind-jobs I've witnessed: on tournament/match days against rival schools, he'd show up wearing mismatching socks - one black, one white.
The distraction he forced on his opponents was subtle but undeniable - seasoned players would keep sneaking glances at Steve's feet during matchs, rather than devoting their complete attention to beating him. While it's anyone's guess the extent to which his sock-switch antics contributed to his success on the court, he did compile a record-breaking win/loss ratio in his years at our high school's Varsity team that was unbeaten upon my graduation two years after him.
Though I have lost touch with the estimable Herr Lee since high school, I must admit a lingering curiosity as to where he ended up employing his devious, underhanded ways. Tobacco attorney? CIA Agent? Psy Ops Operative?
What would YOU do?