A few years ago Gordon Lee decided he’d like to write down some of the stories from his eventful life. “Just for the family.” I’d heard some of them but when Gordon told me he’d been a partner in a BYO nightclub and one of his partners was called Barbecue Jack, ‘the most feared fighter in Fremantle’, I knew the stories deserved a wider audience.
So Gordon kept writing and I started editing and hopefully shaping it all into something like a book. The stories of how Gordon became a top junior table tennis player and then nearly 50 years later the top player in his age group in Australia are told in My Serve. The book also tells of high-jinks around the Swan River in Bicton and East Fremantle along with nightclub capers, school life, murder and smuggling. Gordon even touches on one of his least favourite things – work – and there’s a family connection to the Titanic.
I got to know Gordon before he returned to table tennis. We worked on publications for the Fremantle Dockers and the South Fremantle Football Club. Me as editor, Gordon making sure they paid for themselves.
Then he was playing table tennis again. Some tables were set up and at Hilton Park Bowling Club and the former WA state junior champion set about being a top player again – he was 65-years-old and wasn’t interested in becoming a passable social player. Gordon hired former world-ranked player Dennis Chen as coach and even brought Fremantle Dockers Paul Hasleby and Byron Schammer along for the ride.
Soon he was off to tournaments all over the place – Germany, Brasil, New Zealand, China and when I last checked he was ranked number one in Australia in the Over 80-years category.
One of the river adventures involves former Fremantle coach Mark Harvey who watched on as Gordon went fishing for mullet using an ancient method – and no it wasn’t the kind of mullet favoured by Essendon footballers in the 1980s.
My Serve isn’t strictly a sport book but you will come across some of the greats of an East Fremantle Football Club golden age, a tennis premiership, something about boxing champ Danny Green and even a table tennis sting.
Proceeds from the sale of My Serve will go towards the building of a table tennis hall in or around Fremantle.
Order a book by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org it will cost $30 + $5 postage (in Australia).