By Ethan Volk
He has ten points, only one to go. He tosses the ball into the air – SMACK! His shot flashes past his opponent’s eyes. Game. Set. Match. Senior Danny Rosenfeld throws his hands into the air claiming victory.
Rosenfeld began playing ping-pong at the age of eight. The game didn’t become a serious passion, however, until he turned sixteen when he competed in his first official tournament. After realizing his true passion for the game, Rosenfeld began to train competitively. “I currently train for about ten hours per week and compete in monthly tournaments,” said Rosenfeld.
“Table-tennis brings all kinds of people together, regardless of stature, physical ability, gender or age,” Rosenfeld added. Recently he and his partner Will Shortz, editor of the New York Times crossword puzzles, placed second. In addition, Rosenfeld has recently become involved with the Paralympics after he participated in a training camp in June of 2013. His involvement with the Paralympics led to his entry in the Mike Dempsey Tournament.
From Dec. 3 to Dec. 8, Rosenfeld competed in the 2013 Mike Dempsey Memorial International Table Tennis Championships, the only Paralympic table-tennis tournament in the United States, in San Diego, California. Mike Dempsey, for whom the tournament is named, is known as one of the greatest Paralympic table-tennis players of all time, winning ten medals throughout his career.
At the tournament, Rosenfeld was one of the 32 athletes representing the United States; there were a total of 150 athletes participating from 30 different countries. Throughout the competition, Rosenfeld competed against world-renowned Paralympic athletes, and even won his first-ever international match.
“The most exciting part of the tournament was when I defeated Belgium’s representative by a score of three to zero,” said Rosenfeld. “I also really enjoyed watching my teammates compete and work hard.”
“I got to meet three-time Paralympics Gold Medalist Jochen Wollmert,” said Rosenfeld.“I had been looking forward to meeting him because he was the London 2012 Gold Medalist in my disability class.”
While at the tournament, Rosenfeld also learned a lot about both ping-pong and himself. “I gained many beneficial tips from the coaches there,” he said.
Nevertheless, Rosenfeld is dreaming big. “My ultimate goal is to compete in the Paralympic Games,” said Rosenfeld. “I’m not quite there yet, but I know I can accomplish anything with a little time and determination.”