life as table tennis coach and administrator
Part 1: From 1971 to 2005
"digging up" Norwegian champions
(From the Norwegian table tennis magazine)
- I sometimes watched my father having fun with ping pong on
the lunch table at his work place, and last year in high school
I started a table tennis after-school group. I did not know
that table tennis was a sport with clubs and competitions. But
then my school was invited to Oslo School Championships - and
the competition was arranged by a club that was practising at
the neighbouring school!
Too old to become a good player
In 1971, after finishing the compulsory service in the military,
with a bit of ping-ponging in the free time, I remembered the
table tennis club and went to see what was going on. The players
were incredibly good and I learned fast that I was too old to
become a player of their level.
Well, after a while they asked me if
I could keep an eye of a couple of young boys fooling around
on a table outside the hall and I said yes since I always came
I felt sorry for the kids; so I signed
up for a table tennis coaching course. Not long after I had
completed my Level 1 the coach at the club quit, and
the board asked me if I could take over. Quite
for a newbie;
they, Fokus Table Tennis Club, had just (1972) become Norwegian
champions in teams for men!
first team medal
- coach Terry to the right.
champions for boys
Everything happened fast
The coach that quit (Erik Johannessen) was also a member of
the board at the Norwegian Table Tennis Association and he managed
to make me take over his job there as well.
Guess what happened at one of the meetings:
They did not have any coach for the Norwegian Men's team to
the Nordic Championships and since I was the head coach of Fokus
and the best Norwegian player (Pål Guttormsen) they asked
me to take the job! Unpaid as everything was in table tennis
those days. I said yes - and off to Finland we went. It went
better than anybody had expected: We got Norway's first medal
I took four kids at the club to a summer table tennis camp in
Sweden and was convinced by head coach Thomas Stenberg that
you had to train serious every day and do physical training
after each session if you wanted to reach world standard. And
that you needed to start really young.
Well, I had a few kids practising already
and was lucky enough to get
a few more. We
practised three days a week in the small and dark
Primary School but I managed to get permission to practise an
extra day in my
old school, Lambertseter High School, where we also could practise
sometimes in the weekends.
Team champions for girls 1974
Folkeson and coach Terry
kids did not do too bad: Fokus soon became Norwegian Champions
for both junior boys teams and also cadet girls teams!
a ball for a whole year
One of the girls in the cadet team was Tone Folkeson. Tone had
played a bit with her brother at home when she came to Fokus
11 years old. She was keen and trained a lot but she was standing
dead still on the floor when she was pushing the ball with backspin
in tournaments (and the girls did a lot of pushing!). When she
was counter-hitting she was moving, and she and I eventually
made an agreement that she should not push a ball for a whole
year! So she opened up on every backspin serve and only used
counter-hit stroke with backhand as her own serve. It worked
surprisingly well: 14 years old she became Norwegian champion
in senior single!
Tone wanted to become even better and
the next step was to really improve her strength - she did at
first not manage even one push-up! To improve her mental strength
we also made an agreement that she should start running before
school - in addition to the strenght and condition training
we had after each squad session. I took Tone to visit the Swedish
Table Tennis Academy and helped her as best as I could as a
coach and friend (as I also tried to help everybody else).
Tone managed to get a girl from another
club (Kristin Hagen) to be almost as keen as herself, so they
were for may years selected to the Norwegian teams. They won
Norway's first junior team medals in the Nordic Championships,
with me as their coach - and later also the first medal as seniors.
Tone also won junior girls single a large Swedish tournament,
beating the Swedish champion Anneli Hernvall in the finals.
And became a professional player in Germany; before she was
killed in a car accident while playing for Norway in Spain.
Norwegian table tennis
I was not married in those hectic table tennis years in Norway
nor did I have any girlfriend. I was working as a copy writer/director
in advertising and spent all my free time helping to develop
Fokus and the players. The young players were practising hard
at least two and an half hour (squad training every time: 15
minutes warming up, 2 hours systematic training at the table,
15 minutes physical training) three times a week and were playing
tournaments in the weekends. Because we managed to recruit a
number of as many young kids as possible I also tried to make
the veterans keep the partying at a minimum level when playing
in tournaments out of Oslo. Yes, Fokus made a rule that I should
scratch out from the draw any player who was visually
by drinking the night before! I believe that this in fact changed
Norwegian table tennis - the wild parties disappeared, the players
took on the job as President of Fokus two times even if I wanted
to concentrate on coaching. Because I knew that if we were to
develop our club in a proper way I had to make sure that positive
and constructive things happened - and this required more voluntarily
work than most people would not have time for - or interest
|I did not have time to play much myself but I had
to jump in as a reserve in the Fokus-team in both the
National league and the Eastern Norway league.
We did a lot to save and make money
so that the club could help the young players with their expenses
when it came to travelling to tournaments and training camps
(too read what Fokus thought about my work - click here).
We decided that the uniform of Fokus
should be all black, and then we bought cheap white t-shirts
and coloured them black! I designed the emblems, we got them
printed on black material, cut them out and sowed them on. I
made agreement with my job that we could help packing advertising
material for money - so now and then we were all sitting in
my parent's flat packing and chatting!
hours a day
I was quick getting so involved in table tennis that it was
my life 24 hours a day (yes, I was thinking/planning table tennis
at my job and dreamt table tennis night time!). I coached the
club at least three times a week and I coached my players at
tournaments and leagues about every weekend (I even managed
to get a league for cadet teams started in eastern-Norway in
addition to the ones for the seniors). I was a
member of the board of Oslo Table Tennis Association and coached
Oslo's best juniors/seniors at training sessions once a week.
I visited all the clubs in the southeastern area of Norway to
help them develop their coaching plans and administration.
In addition to being a member of the
board of the Norwegian Table Tennis Association I also was the
chairperson of the Education Committee and a member of the Youth
Committee. I wrote compendiums/books that I used when I educated
coaches in Oslo and else. Many of the coaches that I educated
are working as coaches in the associations/clubs today. One
of them is Jan Bergesen who also is the national coach of the
very successful Norwegian AWD (disabeled players) team. What
Jan Bergersen thought about my work - click here).
I was usually the man behind the organising
of coaching clinics in the shorter holidays and one of the leaders/planners
of summer holiday camps lasting up to four weeks.
I did not loose the contact with Sweden. As often as we could
we travelled to Swedish tournaments, and we also had holiday
camps in Sweden together with Swedish clubs. The club we had
most contact with was Falköping, and we had a summer camp
with their players - among them was European junior champion
Nicklas Persson and the later European (singles) and World (in
doubles and team) champion Peter Karlsson (to read what Falköping
thought about my work - click here).
Yes, to improve my skills as a coach
I also travelled to Sweden to take coach education there - I
got my Level 3 at a national training camp and had a chance
to test my skills coaching all the Swedish world champions!
I also was selected to be the Norwegian
coach to the first European Coaches' Conference in Germany -
and got many ideas and impulses there. And I was also the Norwegian
coach to Scandinavian training camps - as well as the coach
to several European junior championships and other international
Top Swedish coaches
I was fortunate enough to work together with many top Swedish
coaches during our camps in Sweden and else. Yes, the Norwegian
associaton managed to get two of Sweden's most merited coaches
to Norway: Allan Dahlgren
and Christer Johansson. Allan had coached Stellan Bengtsson,
Swedens first world champion, while Christer had been the national
coach of Sweden when they won a number of world championships
in teams, singles and doubles.
as the national coach a short time before we managed to secure
Allan. He stayed about a year but Christer that took over after
him worked as the national coach of Norway for almost 10 years.
He looked after the seniors while I was responsible the juniors
(together with Otto Hatlebakk and Terje Hopsdal) and "fed"
him with the most talented and dedicated ones. I felt that I
learned quite a bit from Christer. His methods were somewhat
different, and he also wrote a table tennis book showing that
season planning is important also in our sport. Not all the
players liked Christer's "thought-demanding" exercises,
but they improved!
Also the young ones I called in to regular
training camps in southeastern Norway improved a lot. Yes, it
was a proud moment when Norway's cadet team of Guttorm Christensen
and Kenneth Strøm reached a position of number 10 in
the European junior championships.The two boys were a couple
of years younger, and a couple of heads shorter, than their
opponents and Norway started so low ranked in the groups that
they could not manage to climb higher! The best Norwegian team
A big hindrance
The first years when I was thrown into the coaching of Fokus
was very interesting and rewarding but the venue at the school
was a big hindrance for development. I wrote a letter to the
newspapers telling that top table tennis players in Norway had
to practise in a small auditorium with concrete floor, bad lights
and no wardrobe/shower. Not enough space behind the tables,
not the required hight to the ceiling - and with only four tables
it was impossible to take in the kids that wanted to play table
tennis. Surprisingly enough the largest Norwegian newspaper
Aftenposten contacted me and wrote a full two pages article
in their weekend magazine - with pictures in colour!
A few days later a person called me
on the phone: "Hi Terje, I have the hall for you!"
It was Arne Haukvik; a well known politician and the man behind
the famous Bislet Games in athletics.
og Arne Nordby
Well, he drove me from school to school to look at unused rooms
but it was first when we came to the Høyenhall Primary
School that I saw something that might be big enough - an empty
space under the floor of the school hall. A big, dark hole with
no floor - just dirt.
Well, I said ok and the venue was ours
to use. So we started digging. It was Kerstin and Kjell Schierning
that had founded Fokus BTK in 1960 and they got everybody going
by taking the fist shovel-full together. The dirt was gravel
and hard soil - I could hardly get out of bed after a few nights;
my hands and wrists were so sore. No - this did not work. I
wrote a flyer telling about our problem - and that we desperately
needed help - and got the art director at the company where
I worked to make an illustration that showed that you could
get four table tennis tables on one tennis court.
We took the flyers to a large meeting
between politicians and public/sports people and started handing
them out outside the gate when the meeting was finished. It
did not take long before the leader for the politicians came
running and asked us to please stop - he guaranteed that something
should be done. And yes, it did not take long before something
happened: might be because one of our players working for the
next largest newspapers in Norway wrote an article telling about
Community workers turned up. They blasted
a large hole through the concrete wall and drove inn with a
small bull dowser.
But we discovered that the workers
had no idea what we wanted. So we formed a three person hall
committee (Arne Nordby, Jan Folkeson and I) and had a meeting
with the architects and the workers. "Dig all the way out
to the walls and down as deep as you can - we need maximum space
and maximum hight!", was our message.
The grand opening
The grand opening of Fokushallen was in 1979. Kerstin and Kjell
cut the ribbon, officials and club members gave speeches, and
world champions Stella Bengtsson and Kjell "The Hammer"
Johannson (Christer's brother) performed their entertaining
table tennis show.
So we had a Norway's first table tennis
hall and some good players. Plus a handful of keen juniors.
But I had read that you needed about 500 kids to find one true
talent - so there was a lot of work to do!
had to do some serious planning. Well, we applied and got funding
to a sports club development course - and since I had taken
administration/leader courses in sports I was allowed to conduct
the course and adjust it to our own situation.
for the juniors
to the mountains
So the committee members and I had a free weekend at a hotel
up in the mountains outside Oslo. No, I did not have to "scratch
out" some of the participants the next morning but we had
a lot of useful social fun - and we did a lot of hard and good
We made objectives and goals: We
be a club that first of all should look after the players that
took table tennis serious as a sport and we should become the
biggest and best club in Norway. We planned how we should reach
our goals and a timeframe for when we should get there.
Rached our goals
We reached our goals. From being one of the smallest clubs we
became the largest in Norway. We started to dominate more and
more; in all age groups for both boys and girls, men and women.
We practised a lot. I used the input
from the Swedish coaches when it came to training methods -
and invented a few of my own (like hitting cups and two-player
multiball). I managed to get the internationally acclaimed sports
psychologist Willi Railo to teach us how to do mental training
and relaxation (it cost a lot but it was worth it!). We did
physical training after each session; like circuit strengthening
and long distance running (often around a sea so no short cuts
were possible!) followed by stretching.
considered the social bonding to be very important so I tried
to have many girls in the squads. We always travelled together
to tournaments and we had social activities as often as we could.
We went out eating (Chinese food) together, we went swimming,
we travelled to my parents' cabin in the mountains. Yes, we
even staged our own musicals (!) and had our own band at our
yearly meetings! We even were singing live on national tv dressed
as pacific islanders (video here)!
We travelled as often as we could to
Sweden to play in tough competitions and it was a proud moment
when we won the trophy in a large Swedish tournament for being
the best club!
I ended up winning more than 65 gold
medals in Norwegian championships as the coach for Fokus (and
I was given a honorary lifetime membership - here)!
I also wanted the clubs and players I had learned to know during
camps and tournaments in Sweden and other countries to come
to Norway to play in our tournament. So we invited them to a
tournament we called Fokus International, what became a yearly
event. We rented a sport hall (for free) at Linderud school,
where we could get in 20 tables. Of course we had to apply for
money so we could buy more tables, and we also had to borrow
from other clubs in Oslo. I am not sure how many of the heavy
Stiga Expert halves I have carried, but I became quite good
We managed to get clubs coming from
Sweden and also a few players from Denmark and even Germany.
I made the illustration and design for the front page of the
program, and helped out doing the seeding and the draw. And
I even ran around to the shops and businesses and asked if we
could get items we could use as trophies, even if I am a very
To get our tournaments to run smoothly we uses Jan Folkeson
(Svein and Tone's dad) as the referee. In addition to making
sure that the players followed the regulations (Jan was a tall,
large and very convincing man), he also walked continuously
around the tables to make sure the matches was stared on time
(one minute warming up - no more!). He also spotted when the
matches were finished and immediately brought the ball and the
score sheet back to the control table, after he had written
the results in the draw hanged up a place where player and friends/family
could see them.
We also announced all the matches from
quarterfinals and up to the finals, and also the results; again
so that players and friends/family could follow what was happening.
When we arranged the Norwegian championships for seniors then
we invited the king to come and watch the finales and also residents
at old people homes and also students at nearby school. This
way we got quite a few spectators. The king could not come but
I tried to get as much as possible in the newspapers; which
was not easy, because the attitude towards table tennis was
not exactly positive. Therefore I always went down to their
offices after tournaments and used their typewriters to write
the results. This way I managed write a few stories in two of
the largest newspapers in Norway and a bit more in the local
newspaper. And the results always went in on the sports' result
I was the only coach in Fokus, and even if it was unpaid I always
travelled to the tournaments with the players (somebody was
usually driving and we most often stayed privately with players
from the other clubs, or in the competition venue or school
hall). It was hard work; we usually had a good number of players,
so I had to run from table to table from start to end. Sometimes
I was coaching at four tables at the same time in the quarterfinals!
The easiest player to coach at the
table was Pål Guttormsen with his international experience
(number 2 in cadet single in the European junior championships
playing for England, before the family moved back to Norway)
- all I had to do was to ask how he wanted to play in the next
set (Pål did not loose a match in Norway with me coaching
at the table)! One of the more difficult was one of the good
juniors who always tended to get a headache when he was about
to play important matches. I usually gave him a vitamin pill
and said it was medicine against headache - it worked!
course I was too busy. So one day late in 1981 I jumped on a
remote Truk in Micronesia to get a break.
me but can you tell me how to get to the city?" was my
question when I left the airport and was standing on a dirt
road with a few thatched huts under the coconut-trees on both
sides. No hotels. No cars. A few half naked natives strolling
"You are in the middle of the city!"
was the answer.
Oh yes, I got a break from table tennis
and deadlines in advertising! Slept next to a giant turtle the
captain had caught from the missionary schooner I sailed with
to a few of the outer islands. Was adopted by a family on a
tiny coral-island where the kids ran screaming away when they
saw the white man. Sat eating raw fish and baked breadfruit
on the floor with my fingers. Tried to live like a Robinson
Crusoe on a deserted island (but had to give in after three
days when I got too hungry).
Left the meeting
I met Mikael Appelgren of the Swedish national squad at the
airport in Bangkok on my way back to Norway. He had, without
permission, left the training before the European championships
because he was too tired of the hard practising. Well, it does
not work for everybody to stop training like that but it obviously
did for him: He became European Champion in men's singles!
in Norway again it was back to work in advertising and back
to coach Fokus. The men's team was struggling to keep the position
in the team league so I managed to convince Dag Vavik that he
should find his racket again. In Swedish tournaments Dag usually
had reached the quarter finals in the cadet events where he
lost to Erik Lindh or other national players (Lind is when this
is written the national coach of Sweden). In 1978 Dag had hardly
lost a match in Norway, and he won three Norwegian Championships
in the junior events the next year, and won all his matches
when Fokus became Norwegian champions for mens team in 1979.
I felt so sorry for Dag when he quit; burned out because it
was hardly anybody besides me did season planning and understood
that Dag needed rest after a season of very hard practising.
Dag came back, and refreshed I started to work as hard as I
could to get best possible result for Fokus. And we did very
well. So everybody was happy. But I wanted us to take it a step
further - we should aim to become better internationally! My
motivation would disappear without new and more ambitious goals.
And I knew very that to stand still in sport is the same as
taking steps backwards - the others will pass you!
- first a deff
So at a board meeting I reminded the
members that we had reached the end of the timeframe for our
development plan - that it was about time to make a new.
"But Terry, you should be very
happy now. We are the best club in Norway, and you have 65 Norwegian
championships as the coach. No more planning, just run our club
on day by day basis!", were the replies.
My concerns were not heard. It was
decided that we should not make a new development plan but run
the club on day by day basis. I stood up and left the meeting.
Wanted to quit table tennis
I wanted to quit table tennis but the father of two girls (Siv
og Vibeke Thoresen) that used to practice with Fokus managed
to convince me that I should help him to revive the club where
the girls belonged (Sørli/Lynild). So I tucked in my
disappointment. I helped him and I also kept on doing my work
for Oslo; I coached the clubs' best juniors and seniors once
a week, and I also visited all the clubs to help them to develop
their own coaching and administration, and to convince them
to educate their own coaches and administrators (to read what
Oslo thought - click here).
I also educated new coaches using the coaching manual I had
written ("Treners Veileder - A guide for the coach").
And I initiated a team league for the youngest players in the
south-eastern part of Norway - with teams for boys and girls
down to the age of 9 years. I also kept on working with Christer
Johansson and the national juniors.
But if started to miss the warm climate
of the Pacific and the friendly smiles of the islanders, and
when I saw my father reading a yachting magazine I got the idea:
Buy a yacht and sail back!
So I worked hard and saved every cent. Juli 1983 I could cast
off from Oslo in my yacht Coco Loco.
"You are totally nuts, in that
small yacht you will sink before you reach Denmark!", was
what everybody told me. Well, the meaning of "Coco Loco"
is "Crazy Coconut" but I had learned by studying sailing
for more than a year that a small yacht often was more safe
than a large and that it was quite ok to sail alone.
My yacht was run into alongside a wharf
in Solomon Islands - after four incredible years. I had sailed
between remote islands in the Pacific and learned a lot about
the Pacific culture. Yes, I was even adopted on a couple of
I did some table tennis coaching on
my way. I stayed for several months in the capital Honiara when
they tried in vain to repair Coco Loco, and the national table
tennis association asked me if I could help them. I coached
the best players in weekly sessions, organized a league and
got youngsters to try our sport. Yes, I was surprised when I
some years later met the Oceania coach in tennis in Fiji and
he told me I had taught him how to play table tennis in Solomon
ticket to the Pacific
and Emma, Motuloa
did not do any serious table tennis coaching when I got back
to Norway in 1987. Of course I met my table tennis friends but
Høyenhall School had burned and the table tennis hall
could not be used. Well, I did not plan to stay long anyway;
I had a return ticket to the Pacific in my pocket!
After visiting friend and family and
publish a book on my adventures in Coco Loco I returned to Solomon
Island and then via Nauru to Kiribati. I stayed about two months
and then I travelled by plane to Tuvalu to visit a friend. He
was now on the outer island of Nukulaelae as a radio-operator.
I met him; but also Emma Toematagi. "Are
you coming? I am getting married!" was the telegram to
We settled down on the uninhabited islet
of Motuloa, three kilometres across the lagoon. Built main house,
cookhouse, outhouse and guesthouse. Had pigs, ducks, and chicken
- and a cat and a dog. And after two years our daughter Sonia
She was born in the hospital in the
capital Suva in Fiji, and while attending a wedding there somebody
said that Fiji needed a coach to prepare the national table
tennis teams for the South Pacific Games and asked if I could
help out. I did and the men's team managed to win their first
I got sick on the ship on the way back
to Tuvalu with our new born baby and had to take the first ship
back to Fiji, and then the plane to Auckland in New Zealand
to see a neurologist and other doctors. And it so happened that
they should have weekend training for national players and they
asked if I could conduct it. I did, and among the players was
Chinese lady who practised as intense as Pål Guttormsen.
So it is no surprise to me that Chunli Li still (2015) is New
Zealand's best female player!
Director of Coaching
I enjoyed the island life but unfortunately the weather changed.
We had three cyclones in a country too close to the equator
to have cyclones. The waves washed into our house. Tuvalu has
a mean hight above the water of less than two meters, so we
looked at our little daughter. We left for Fiji.
And there I accepted an offer to be
a part time coach in Australia. Well, when we landed in Brisbane
I was told that I had to take the job as the State Director
of Coaching for Queensland instead. Full time job but to half
time pay - and I should do a pilot project for Logan Table Tennis.
I got a table tennis academy going for the
senior players, recruited kids from the schools, had shopping
mall demonstrations and took part in festivals. I approached
the Sports Development officer in Logan and he got us on the
local radio every week (to see what he thought - click here).
I made a table tennis media kit for the TV, radio and newspapers
with information about the sport plus names and phone numbers
to persons and
could contact. It was a hard cover file folder that they could
stack between their other folders - and with "table tennis"
in large letters so that they could be reminded about our sport
every day! Here they also could put in the news releases I was
planning to send them on regular basis (which I already had
started to do). I made a simular kit for the teachers in the
primary and secondary schools and was surprised when the principal
education officer in Queensland told me that he had used my
kit to show the schools and other sports how it could be done!
I arranged the first cadet tournament
in Australia. Yes, I was fairly busy!
was a state league for teams in Queensland that time and our
club should meet Brisbane in the first round. Brisbane had all
the top ranked players in Queensland but we practised hard and
prepared well for the event. And won 6-0!
It must have been the biggest upset
ever but nobody but me and the players seemed to be happy. And
short time later I was told that they did not have use for me
anymore. What the heck was going on here???
Well, believe that hardly anybody has
seen my Logan Pilot Project report, that was meant to be a blue
print for table tennis in Queensland. (to read the report click
was much later told by one of the players that my job as State
Director was promised to another person but that he was busy
with the cricket season down south and that the just put me
temporary in the position to get the money from the government.
So we had to break the lease on the house
we rented, sold our TV and car - and left for Fiji.
of my table tennis friends of Chinese decent wanted me to help
him to get a run-down hotel he had bought going; he knew I also
had my background in marketing. I said ok and got my own little
office in the hotel but after discovering that the ashtrays
were nailed to the table so that nobody should throw them at
each other - and seeing all the fire extinguishers in a heap
behind the hotel I decided to pull out.
how well they had done
to Norway but returned to Fiji after about a year, in 1994.
And the table tennis association now remembered how well they
had done in the last South Pacific Games and offered me to be
the National Coach of Fiji. I said yes, but I did not want to
commit too much - no travelling; only working in the capital
Suva. I did not want any salary, just permission from the immigration
to do my writing.
I got back again the players that had
not touched their rackets since the games in 1991. Held squad
training a couple of times in a week, started a league for teams
and arranged tournaments.
I also wanted to raise the profile
as table tennis as a sport, so after each league and tournament
I typed and photocopied the results and brought them by taxi
to the newspapers, tv and radio the same day.
Nothing happened for some weeks but
then the second largest newspaper in Fiji wrote a full page
article about me. This changed things. The journalists and radio-reporters
started to turn up at our events and we even had several tv-reports!
Well, the person who used to be the
best player if Fiji, a doctor from India, was beaten in a live
tv-broadcast from a tournament by one of the younger players
in my coaching squad. He did not like that. He quickly made
himself President of the Fiji Table Tennis Association (without
an annual general meeting!) and a one-man selection committee.
And while I was away a few days to pick up our belongings in
Tuvalu - we believed that we now should settle for good in Fiji
- he cancelled all my coaching plans and changed the practising
venue from the university to a night club (where he had invested
money). And offered me some of the money I had managed to get
to coaching from the Olympic Committee and said I would have
to travel all over Fiji - and also stop my writing. He knew
very well that the salary he offered me was far from enough
to live from. So bye-bye to Fiji!
Life in a colder climate
After a short visit to Tuvalu we travelled to Norway; we bought
at flat in the suburb of Lambertseter in Oslo and prepared for
a life in a colder climate.
wanted to dance and play soccer and tennis. So I helped out
a soccer coach for her team and tried to help her with some
multi-ball training in tennis.
I watched some table tennis and hang
out with my table tennis friends but no coaching or involvement
as administrator at all.
Our son Olav was born in 1998 and he
could hardly walk before he also wanted to play soccer. And
later also tennis.
We missed Fiji. We missed the life on
our island in Tuvalu. And after a visit to Tuvalu so that Emma
could visit her father and our kids could see where we used
to live we felt that the Norwegian climate was not for us. We
decided to leave - again.
Tuvalu would be too dangerous because of the climate change
with cyclones and rising sea level, so it had to be Fiji.
rented a house in the capital Suva and our kids started in school.
But things had changed; the crime rate
in Fiji had soared while we were away. Sonia told us that people
tried to steal her school bag almost every day, and I had a
person's hand in my pocket at the market.
We gave up and moved to Australia -
in September 2005. To Townsville in Queensland. Tropical climate
and a small city close to the sea.
I had made up my mind to never get involved
in table tennis again.
But I should have learned: You shall
never say never.