August 16, 2017

Bob Tretheway RIP
He died yesterday, at age 69, of congestive heart failure, which he’d been suffering from for several years. Bob was the director for USA Table Tennis from the early 1980s to around 1989. (He was never officially the Executive Director of CEO – his formal title was National Program Director – but since we didn’t have an ED or CEO in those days, he essentially was it.)

In 1985, Bob was instrumental in starting up USATT’s Resident Training Program, starting in September that year. This was primarily a junior program for the best USA players, where they’d live in a dormitory (“Building 83”) at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, go to school (East Middle School and Palmer High School), and train at the table tennis hall (“Building 65”).

In December he brought me in, officially as a player (though I was too old for the program at 25), but really to help develop various coaching manuals, including Instructor’s Guide to Table Tennis. Soon I was named assistant manager, then manager, and later I became the director and one of the coaches. Many players went through the program there, including Sean O’Neill, Jim Butler, Todd Sweeris, Eric Owens, Randy Cohen, Brian Pace, Sean Lonergan, Dhiren Narotam, Chi-Sun Chui, Rocky Wang, Diana and Lisa Gee, Nan Li, Li Ai, and many dozens of others (apologies for those not named). Coaches, practice partners, and other staff at various times included Li Zhenshi, Li Zhang, Henan Li Ai, Liguo Ai, Cheng Yinghua, Jack Huang, Xu Huazhang, Ty Hoff, Mark Kennedy, and Scott Preiss. (The program ended around 1993.)

Bob was perhaps our most successful director at bringing in sponsorships, from Brother International to Ground Round. After his years with table tennis he brought his fundraising skills to Christmas Unlimited in Colorado Springs as their executive director.

Over the last week many dozens of players have been posting messages to him and among ourselves via a private Facebook “Bob Tretheway’s Buddies” group. I wrote, “Bob was one of the true doers in our sport, as well as one of the nicest. The RTP days will always hold great memories for many of us.”

Here are some other links.

Seamaster World Tour Bulgaria Open
Here’s their home page. It started yesterday, and is held Aug. 15-20, 2017, in Panagyurishte.

A Guide to Social Media and Online Marketing for USA Table Tennis Clubs
Here’s the new Guide, by Matt Hetherington, USATT’s Digital & Social Media Manager. Sections include:

  • Introduction
  • Starting Your Own Facebook Page or Group (what are the differences)
  • Effective Posting for Facebook and Useful Features
  • Other Social Networks – Instagram, Twitter etc.
  • How to Maximize Your Partnership with USA Table Tennis to help grow your club’s social presence.

USATT and Cournilleau Introduce Average Joe and Jane's – 'Not Your Average Table Tennis Tournament' - Promoting socially competitive Ping Pong
Here’s the USATT info page. “The third most popular sport in the world, table tennis is enjoyed by over 300 million people around the world. It’s good for your mind and body, and fun to play. It’s social and competitive – and virtually anyone can play almost anywhere there is a table, two paddles, and a ball. But the real question you have what it takes to win an Average Joe and Jane’s crown?”

Off-Table Footwork Training
Here’s the video (2:21).

Who is Mr. Sportsman of the Table Tennis World?
Here’s the article from SportsFlu, featuring 4-time world men’s singles champion Richard Bergmann.

The Out-of-Shape Table Tennis Player One Mile Challenge
Here’s the video (4:27) as these three former 2200+ players – Larry Bavly, Rich DeWitt, and John Andrade – battle it out for fun and glory!

GIANT Ping Pong!
Here’s the video (13:13) as they play with giant paddles and I’m guessing 400mm balls.

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