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The Patron Saint of Ping-Pong
The retired Bill Meiklejohn, W'42, used to turn on the TV and see seniors golf and tennis tournaments. One day, he says, "I thought to myself, 'Why not seniors table tennis?'"
   He created just such an event in one of the clubhouses at Leisure World, a 25,000-member retirement community in Laguna Hills, Calif., where, he says, "if you can't find anything to do, it's your own fault." Since he first sponsored the MeiklejohnNational Seniors Table Tennis Tournament eight years ago, it has become the country's leading table-tennis event for players over 40. Today, with $10,000 to $12,000 in prize money donated annually by Meiklejohn, the competition comes from all over the country. "We get more participants each year, and we have to limit it now to the first 175 to sign up."
   The 79-year-old Meiklejohn, a retired manufacturing-controls coordinator at Northrop Aircraft, recalls enjoying lunchtime games of table tennis while he was a Wharton student. But it wasn't until he came to Leisure World that he started to play the sport competitively.
   The ping-pong patron missed out on his own tournament this year, because of a recent cornea transplant. "Hopefully I'll be able to get in there next year," he says. "I've been banging the ball around and trying to get back in shape. My vision is coming around well enough now that I can practice."
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Copyright 1998 The Pennsylvania Gazette Last modified 10/28/98