One day [in 1976] we were in Chateau d’Herouville in France, outside Paris, taking a ping-pong break. Never in my life had I been able to play ping-pong. I never had the coordination—literally, couldn’t play. David said, “Come on, give us a game.” “I can’t, David, I can’t play.”
But I tried it, and suddenly that day I could play, and I’m playing and we were about tied and I said, “You know, man, this is WEIRD, really weird. I always failed at this game and now I can play it.” He said, “Well Jim, it’s probably because you’re feeling better about yourself.”
In the most gentlest way he said that, because usually, you know, nobody wants to be anybody’s teacher or learner—you know what I mean? In the very gentlest way he said that. I just thought that was a nice answer. Three games later I beat him and he never played me again. I got good REAL fast.