Carolina Traveler | The Hair meets The Old Man

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by By MIKE REDDING / Carolina Traveler E-mail Mike:

WCNC.com

Posted on August 15, 2009 at 4:55 PM

Updated Sunday, Nov 1 at 6:16 PM

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Battle of the Ages

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STATESVILLE, N.C. -- On an average day a 12-year-old boy is not going to come across an 82-year-old man. It's just not in the cards. Unless it's his great grandpa it's just not going to happen. OK, maybe a crossing guard. But that's it.

So when a 12-year-old strikes up a friendship with an 82-year-old my ears perk up. It happened in Statesville, N.C. A Ping-Pong league for old people got this whacky idea to allow anyone of any age join, so long as they took Ping-Pong seriously.

What happens next is the stuff of legend. Or maybe just friendship.

In walks this punk kid with his posse and challenges the oldest man there to a game. This old man is old. Really old. Old enough to be the punk kid's great-grandfather. The old man wins the first match. The kid wins the next. The old man wins the one after that. And back and forth it goes... and goes... and goes.

Separated by 70 years, they found common ground -- a Ping-Pong table. And out of a fierce rivalry a mutual respect started to grow. And you know what they say is the key to any great relationship? Respect. I guess it was only natural these two oddballs would end up friends.

Michael Hernandez, the kid with a mop of hair, and John Traino, the old bald guy with liver spots, are the unlikeliest friends you can imagine. But I guess friendship doesn't stop to ask for my opinion. It just does what it does.

Enjoy our TV version of this story and hop on out to your local Ping-Pong league and make some new friends!

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