July 13, 2017

My first Few Hours in Las Vegas
I think I had the worst first few hours in Las Vegas in the history of table tennis in Las Vegas – and I didn’t even gamble. Most people gripe about this type of thing on Facebook or to friends; I get to blog about it! So here is how my first few hours went, starting from minutes after I landed for the USA Nationals on Sunday, July 2. Skip to the other segments if you don’t want to hear my gripes!!!

  1. Right after landing I checked my email, and discovered a “poison pen” email from someone. I won’t go into details, let’s just say it was pretty ridiculous.
  2. As I went out to catch the shuttle, I got to see the shuttle leave, and had to wait for the next one.
  3. I got to the hotel at about 10AM, but the room wasn’t ready and check-in didn’t start until 11AM. So I found a comfortable spot, opened my laptop to check email and web pages . . . and it didn’t work. It was a brand new laptop, bought a week before to replace my previous one, which was about seven years old. But the new one kept freezing up and giving me “Not Responding” messages, so I wasn’t able to use it.
  4. I then got in line to check in. The line was already longer than the Great Wall of China. It took over an hour to get through it.
  5. When I registered for the hotel, I chose the Westgate over the tournament hotel, the Linq, for one simple reason – it was cheaper. When I registered by phone, they assured me there was no “resort fee,” that dreaded add on that they bilk people with. They also emailed me the hotel costs, which didn’t include the resort fee. When I checked in, they added the resort fee. I argued with them for half an hour, but they said it was “standard,” and whoever said otherwise was mistaken. I had little choice at that point, so I was bilked out of $33.96 x 6 = $203.76, which I have to pay out of my own pocket. I will be staying at the Linq next time.
  6. When I got to my room, it was about 48 degrees – I’m not exaggerating here. (If I were to exaggerate, I’d have it below freezing.) Someone had put the AC on full blast at the coldest setting. I tried changing the setting, but it wouldn’t change – the setting was jammed! I had to go to the playing hall so finally had to just turn the AC off, and didn’t use it the whole week I was there, despite temperatures outside reaching 116F. Fortunately, with rooms and a hallway covering three of the four sides, the room temperature was fine.
  7. I walked over to the playing hall, and then discovered I’d left my smart phone at the hotel room. Since I’d need it to communicate with students, I had to walk back to get it, and walk back again. Average walking time each way was 14 minutes.
  8. I got into the USATT check-in line, but so did everybody else. I spent another hour standing in line.
  9. I finally started practice with a student, but at this point I was exhausted. I’d spent over an hour standing in line at the hotel, spent nearly 45 minutes walking back and forth from the hotel to the playing hall to the hotel and back to the playing hall, and another hour in line checking in. My legs were now in full rebellion. My right knee was now bothering me, and that would get worse during the tournament - I'd start wearing a knee brace toward the end. 
  10. I got back to the hotel that night, and the brand new laptop still wasn’t working. I’d finally get it working the next day, but it would freeze up on and off all week, and often go into slow motion mode. It’s now at the Geek Squad at Best Buy undergoing a checkup.

USA Nationals Finals Videos

Kanak Jha, Lily Zhang Each Win Second Straight U.S. Table Tennis Titles
Here’s the article from ESPN.

Butterfly Presents Footwork Drills by Stefan Feth
Here’s the video (1:25). Stefan is the USA Men’s Coach and former member of the German National Team.

Strength Conditioning for Table Tennis
Here’s the articles from PingSkills

USATT Insider
Here’s the issue that came out yesterday.

Table Tennis in the Twilight Zone
Here’s the new article from Coach Jon.

Table Tennis Rabbit Hole
Here’s the article from a relatively new player who has made the plunge, but has some things to say about ratings and enjoying the sport.

Many Roles but Focus Remains Same - Ed Hogshead's Many Avenues to Help Grow US Table Tennis
Here’s the USATT article by Fatemeh Paryavi.

History of U.S. Table Tennis, Volume 19 (1991-1992)
Here's chapter sixteen! Or order your own print copies at TimBogganTableTennis.com, as well as Volume 19!

Bowmar Sports Sponsoring Alzheimer’s Fundraiser Tournament
Here’s info on the event taking place in Salt Lake City on July 29.

Matt Winkler’s 2017 US National Highlight Video
Here’s the video (4:20).

The 10 Points of the China Open 2017
Here’s the video (4:16).

Ding Ning vs Jun Mizutani Training
Here’s the video (3:11).

The Craziest Table Tennis ROLLERS of All Time!
Here’s the video (2:29).

Ma Long vs Ding Ning Funny Table Tennis
Here’s the video (4:39). It’s in Chinese and meaningless to me until you get to 1:42, where they compete to see who can knock badminton birdies off the table! Next they compete to see who can serve into a bucket. Finally, the play each other opposite-handed.

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