Always a welcoming smile, Andre Scott the man in charge in San Diego
Photo By: Richard Xue
A silver medallist in the Men’s Singles Class 5 event at the Para Panamerican Games in the Mexican city of Guadalajara in 2011; just over one year later it is a very different role for André Scott.
He is the Tournament Director for the Mike Dempsey Memorial Tournament which is being staged in the spacious Town and Country Resort and Convention Centre in the city of San Diego, situated on the west coast of the United States.
Proceedings start on Thursday 29th November 2012.
Tournament Director is his official title but in reality he is the guy where the buck stops; there is no higher point of reference.
Bruce Springsteen might have earned the nickname, the “Boss” but in San Diego, he would have to stand aside. André Scott is the governor!
He is the man at the helm, his unassuming manner, his courtesy and care for others makes him well liked by all concerned. There is always a bright welcoming smile; immediately you feel at ease in his company, it’s as though you’ve known him all your life.
The result is a motivated group of volunteers listen to his every word; all have a quiet determination to make everyone welcome and the inaugural tournament a great success.
Learned a Great Deal
André Scott was a very close friend of the late Mike Dempsey who sadly died in 2009 when 53 years old; a sad loss.
“He was more than a friend”, reflected André Scott. “I first met Mike in 1988, we played together in Class 4/5 Team events; always I was learning from him.”
It was Mike Dempsey who set the example.
“In 1987 we were on our way to the National Championships; we were both in wheelchairs and the bus had no lift”, reminisced André Scott. “So Mike crawled out of his wheelchair, crawled on to the bus and then dragged his wheelchair on to the bus; I followed and did exactly the same!”
The actions sum up Mike Dempsey, he was never beaten.
Look After Yourself
“Are you someone who needs help or are you someone who can look after themselves; look after yourself and that puts you on an equal footing with everybody else”; those were the sentiments of the indefatigable Mike Dempsey.
André Scott followed the example and he is putting theory into practice by organising the Mike Dempsey Memorial Tournament.
Hails from Georgia
Now 47 years old, André Scott hails from Georgia.
He moved to New Jersey and at the age of 14 was unfortunately hit by a car, the result was that ever since he has been wheelchair bound. Later he moved to Maryland and Texas before eventually finishing up in San Diego where he is very much at home.
The all year round very pleasant climate is very much to his liking and to everybody else for that matter, who is playing in the tournament!
“Table tennis is my life”, enthused André Scott who won a bronze medal in the Men’s Class 4/5 Team event at the World Championships in Assen, Netherlands.
“That’s not my best result”, André Scott stressed. “That was the first time I beat Mike, I beat him at the National Championships in 1990 in Berkeley, California”
Supported Local Hospital
They were friends and rivals but more importantly, he had beaten a man against he suffered several defeats and he had beaten a man everybody respected; the man who made regular donations to the Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego.
Now André Scott is the proud organiser of the tournament that bears his friend’s name.
“After Mike died I was somewhat reluctant to speak up, I was reluctant to ask for help for a tournament in Mike’s name”, explained André Scott in a thoughtful tone of voice. “The Dempseys are a generous family, his sisters Jenny, Judy and Mary spoke to me, they were in total support of a tournament to remember Mike; the support they have given has been simply fantastic.”
The support has been one hundred per cent; the Dempsey family has backed every move, every request made by a most grateful André Scott.
“They are my family”, smiled a nostalgic André Scott who has secured an absolutely superb venue for the tournament.
“Everything is on site, the playing hall, accommodation, restaurants; everything”, added André Scott.
The Town and Country Resort and Convention Centre is situated in a picturesque garden setting, internal travel in the equivalent of golf carts is provided, a large shopping centre is the other side of the road, as is the tramway station; also the airport is only 20 minutes distant.
“We started planning just about one year ago, there is a really good atmosphere amongst everybody; I’m looking forward to a great competition”, concluded André Scott. “I suppose the only problem is that everything comes to me!”
That’s life, in San Diego it’s “Ask André”; he is the “Boss”, in the words of Bruce Springsteen “Born in the USA!”