Anthony takes a second to acknowledge that he's not a great ping pong player, but Fadi Kaddoura is.
I come from a fairly athletic family. I made varsity in wrestling, baseball and soccer. My brother was varsity on a nationally ranked wrestling squad. My dad played varsity football at Cardinal Hayes High School.
But of all the trophies in my house growing up, the majority had my mom's name on them. It turns out that back in the day, my mom was quite the bowler and ping-pong player.
Still, when I was kid, I didn’t believe there was a chance in hell that my ma could beat me in any sporting endeavor. So it was that when I was about 10 or so, while we were vacationing in Ocean City, Maryland, I challenged her to a game of ping-pong.
Sure, I knew that she had played the game, but that was many years ago—and there was no chance that I was going to lose to a girl. My mom gave me the serve and when she absolutely crushed the return, I knew I was in trouble. I don't remember the final score, but it wasn't pretty as my sweet, dear mother annihilated me.
I learned a valuable lesson that day: People can surprise you by what they're good at.
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of watching Fadi Kaddoura, founder and president of MIK Fund Solutions, play ping-pong. I already knew that he was a good player, but I had never seen him in action.
So I took the C train up to King Pong in Manhattan's SoHo neighborhood, to watch Fadi put on something of a clinic.
There is a scene in the movie "Forrest Gump" when Tom Hanks' character travels to China to play ping-pong, and he and his opponent whale on each other. Fadi and his rival basically looked like that scene—except in this case, there wasn’t any CGI involved.
I bring this up because the best part about being a reporter is learning fascinating tidbits about people. Obviously, my job is to write about the latest happenings in the world of financial technology, but every now and again I like to take a step back and tell stories about the people running this industry.
If you have an interesting story to tell, I'd love to hear it. Give me a call at +1 646-490-3973, or send me an email at [email protected] The first drink will be on me.
(For what it's worth, while I was bounced in the first round of a ping-pong tournament, I did beat my colleague Kris Devasabai of Hedge Funds Review five matches to two. Mom will be proud.)
Bill Murphy, CTO of Blackstone, once again joins the podcast to discuss the private equity firm's new offices, designed to house its innovations team.Subscribe to Weekly Wrap emails