Local Table Tennis Player Drives 3,000 Miles and Saves the Day
by Barbara Wei
Clinton Veach, a Charleston, South Carolina local and long-time table tennis player, received a surprising call from a table tennis buddy Joey, who said “the Argentinian and Brazilian youth national team players booked their flights to the wrong Charleston. They are coming to Charleston, South Carolina, your hometown – can you do something to help get them to Charleston, West Virginia for their competition tomorrow?”
500 miles separate the two Charlestons, equating to an 8-hour drive.
Clinton, known as Clint, got right to work trying to figure out a solution for the stranded players. After a quick calculation, Clint realized he needed at least one 12-person passenger van to fit the entire team, their bags, and coaches. He went above and beyond to secure a van, even pitching a commercial opportunity to the car rental agencies to see who had van available for him to drive immediately. After many trials, he finally received notice that a passenger van was available but was a little too small. In the end, he drove a few players in his car as well. 8+ hours and 500 miles later, the players made it to Charleston, SC for their event the next morning.
Panic and alarm turned into a display of international good will and love of table tennis over the next two weeks, as Clint continued help transport the teams back and forth between the two Charlestons. All in all, he drove 3000 miles or ~50 hours to ensure the players could make their event and flights!
"It was a great experience for me, I felt honored. It was a privilege for me to do it. I did what anybody would do who loves the sport. You'd have done the same thing. I found a way for the kids to get from point A to point B," Clint said as he reflected on the experience.
Clint also got to show off his table tennis skills against the best youth players at the event. Iulia Takahashi (BRA), who rode in Clint’s car up to West Virginia, “totally thrashed me, but I had a lot of fun”!