Watching 73-year-old Carol Klenfner play table tennis, making me look silly, you would think she has been playing her whole life.
She has, sort of.
"I played Ping Pong in my basement when I was a kid, well of course it's completely different these days," Klenfner said.
That's because Klenfner has become a champ on the senior table tennis circuit, medaling at tournaments all over. Her road to ping pong prowess has been an adventure.
After growing up in Bayside, Queens Klenfer became a rock 'n roll publicist in the 1970s working with The Who, Elton John, and the Rolling Stones, hobnobbing with stars like John Belushi and Kris Kristoferson. She says it was tough to be a women working in what she called the man's world of the music business.
"I had to be very professional if I wanted to get where I wanted to get and be taken seriously, so that's what I sorta did, stayed above it all, most of the time," Klenfner said.
Nine years ago, her life was thrown into upheaval. First her husband, well known music biz executive Michael Klenfner, died and then her job fell victim to the Great Recession.
"I had to find a place to live, found a little apartment, and I was like who am I? What is it that I do," Klenfer said.
She started her own PR firm and four years ago, rediscovered table tennis after watching a documentary about tournament players over the age of 80. She says playing the sport has helped fill a gap in her life, though she didn't get good at it overnight.
"I got tired of losing. So I thought, I'm going to get some coaching, this is something good. That lead me to all kinds of wonderful things and new friends and new business and a new book club and a new kind of vitality and fitness," Klenfner said.
Klenfner runs the women's league at the Spin table tennis club in Flatiron, and hopes to play as long as the players she watched in that documentary.
"For someone that started four years ago, it's unexpected and delightful and I'm loving it," Klenfner said.