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MOUNT VERNON — Most people know Drew Adams for his throwing skills as quarterback of the Mount Vernon High School football team.
But when Adams is not on the field throwing touchdown passes he can be found in his garage putting some wicked spin on the pingpong ball.
Adams has been playing pingpong since fourth grade. It all started when he got a table from his neighbors. He put his newly acquired table in his basement where he and his dad would play frequently. Since then, he has played off and on, sometimes taking a break from his game, but really picking it up over the past two years. The junior is a very competitive — even in the smallest of things.
Just like the Mustang athletics programs have great rivalries, Adams has a nemesis in pingpong. He has beaten classmate Nick Leopold one time in his career and thinks they are the top match up when it comes to playing time. Adams also battles junior Casey Noska. Adams explained how their matches always are back and forth every time they play. He will win some and Noska will win the others. No matter what happens, at the end Adams always wants it to be fun for everyone and not get too serious.
In every game, you have to have a strategy. Adams said he likes to pick apart his opponent’s weakness in warmups and use it against them in the game. But when his opponents figure it out, he just goes with the flow of the game. Adams made clear he is an aggressive player with room to improve.
“The feeling after a nice smash or drop shot gives me that adrenaline to keep swinging,” Adams said.
As an aggressive player, his strength is his offense and ball placement on the table. But just like superman has Kryptonite, Adams too, has a weakness. His backhand is the weakest aspect of his game.
“That would be the one thing that I tell beginners to practice most — backhand,” Adams said.
Having a home advantage always is nice, but it is hard to do that when you don’t have a table. Adams’ favorite place to play is at Chris Grice’s house but also on his homemade table — he had to get rid of the one his neighbor gave him — which consist of a fold up table and a spare piece of drywall.
This is where he gets most of his practice time in before “game days.”
In the end Adams said all pingpong is “two paddles, one table, one ball and a whole lot of spin.
“Ping ... Pong. Take it one hit at a time and don’t think about the game too much and just be one with the paddle and the game will come to you,” he said.
Adams plans playing for as long as possible, maybe even taking his talents and skills to the college lounge and showing others how it’s done. But in the end, he’ll always keep it as a friendly competitive competition.