ezekiel's chariot - 張敦楷 (pjammer) wrote,
ezekiel's chariot - 張敦楷

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Chinaman Jedi Mind Tricks

Like many Asian-American teens who watched a 15-year-old Michael Chang storm world tennis rankings in the late 80s, I wanted to be a tennis star; upon starting high school, I promptly joined our school's team with hopes of touring the world and living high off endorsement deals and tournament winnings. I wasn't alone in my racket-wielding ambitions; in a school that was 95% white, our tennis team was about 25% Asian-American (Old team T-shirt: "Two wrongs don't make a right, but three Wongs make up half our Varsity Team!").

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?
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