October 27, 2017

Ten Miscellaneous Mostly Table Tennis Items

  • Lucy at the table with backspin. She just turned nine, and she just learned how to put enough backspin on her serve so that it comes back into the net. This is the most memorable moment in any kid's life, as we all know. Once she learned how to do it, she didn't want to stop.
  • Halloween. Lucy will be a witch for Halloween. I pointed out that in a fight between a witch and Superman, all she has to do is turn Superman into a frog and she wins. Another student, Aarya, is going to be Wonder Woman – and during our session we argued on and off about who would win in a fight, Wonder Woman or Superman. Aarya worked hard that session, so at the end I admitted that she was right, that Wonder Woman would win, and she was very happy. (But seriously, since Superman's only weaknesses are supposedly kryptonite and magic, why hasn't he ever been turned into a frog by some magical creature?) I may give a full report on costumes by our juniors next week. Meanwhile, if you stop by my house, I'm giving out your choice of Snickers, Milky Ways, or Skittles. I'll probably be giving out the leftovers all week at the club.
  • Injury update. My shoulder is still hurting – I still have to avoid smashing high balls or extending my arm for shots. Worse, I can't do my 50-foot serve, which I normally do several times a night. However, the breaking news is somehow, someway, I managed to injure my hip yesterday. It's painful to move around. However, it seemed to go away after a time while I was coaching – but this morning it feels like it's on fire.
  • Contagious injury? Matt, who I coached last night, had to stop five minutes early – his shoulder was bothering him. Did he catch it from me? Actually, he hurt it playing ultimate Frisbee the day before. (He's captain of his team.)
  • Double-Contact No-Return Serve. I picked up this "serve" from USATT High Performance Director Jorg Bitzigeio, and have been using it on students for weeks. Basically, you toss the ball up, then sidespin it one way with your racket, then hit it again with the opposite sidespin. It's not legal, but it's fun watching opponents attempt to return this almost unreadable serve. I have several variations. Ask me to demonstrate it at the US Open.
  • Volunteering at the World Veterans. I'm a volunteer there – I'll be doing daily press coverage. Here's the info page. You'll get all or most of your expenses paid. The event takes place June 18-24, 2018, in Las Vegas. About 5000 players are expected. If you are age 40 or over, you should be there!
  • Early Deadline for US Open Ends Today. After today, the rates go up. Here's the info page. It's in Las Vegas, Dec. 17-22. I'll be there, attending meetings, coaching, and playing.
  • History of U.S. Table Tennis, Volume 20. I finally managed to put all 28 chapters together and send them to Ryan, the USATT Webmaster. He still has to do some work on them, and then they'll publish them, one by one. There are a few rather large chapters that might be broken into two. Why not buy one of the volumes?
  • Or one of mine?
  • Non-Table Tennis – Running with the Dead. It's a dark fantasy I wrote that just went up at Astounding Outpost this morning. It’s the story of a dead high school kid – yeah, a zombie – who just wants to go to school and try out for the track team as a miler, and the rejection he faces from everyone, especially the “Mile Mafia,” the high school kids who rule the track team. (It’s basically a civil rights allegory.) Strangely they put my name at the end of the story instead of the start, as is the norm. I have another short story coming out on Nov. 1 at Galaxy's Edge, "The Nature of Swords" – in addition to my current story there, "Theater of Death." More importantly, my science fiction novel, "When Parallel Lines Meet," which I co-wrote with two others, comes out Oct. 31. (I get paid for each of these. But table tennis still primarily pays the bills.)

2017 Women's World Cup
Here's the info page – follow the action! The event starts today in Markham, Canada, Oct. 27-29. Here's the player listing. Lily Zhang (world #80) is representing USA. In the preliminary RR she'll be playing Hyowon Suh (KOR, world #27) and Mo Zhang (CAN, world #59). The top eight seeds are seeded out of the preliminaries.

2017 ITTF World Cadet Challenge
It’s being held right now in Suva, Fiji, Oct. 21-29. Here’s the ITTF page with results, articles, pictures, and video. Team North American (USA and CAN) just got the silver in Cadet Girls, losing to Team Asia in the final, 0-3. Here's the article, Asia Doubles Down on Gold. They are now playing singles and doubles. USA players are Nikhil Kumar, Michael Tran, Rachel Sung, and Amy Wang. 

Coaching Videos from PingSkills
Here are two new ones.

How Table Tennis Saved My Life
Here's the article by Eli Baraty. "Pulling out a knife on another person is one memory I wish to forget."

Gionis Panagiotis​: A Modern Defender in Table Tennis​
Here's the video (5:08) about the 37-year-old Greek star and world #32. He was #27 last month. Unfortunately, in the new ITTF ranking interface that just went up, there doesn't seem to be a way anymore of finding a player's highest ranking ever, just his current one and last months. I'm not happy about this.)

Most Viral Table Tennis Rallies from the Internet World!
Here's the video (6:11).

Watch a PGA Tour Rookie Take Down Table Tennis Legend Matt Kuchar
Here's the article and video (42 sec) from Golf Digest as he loses to PGA Tour rookie, Zecheng "Marty" Dou. However, I'm pretty sure neither of them would win against Baltimore Orioles shortstop JJ Hardy, who I've coached at my club, where he beat players over 1800 and made it to deuce one game against a very surprised 2450 Nathan Hsu. He's around 1850-1900 level.

Aussie Pair Bounce Ping Pong Balls Off Walls, Tables and Kitchen Containers for Trick-Shot Game
Here's the article with lots of pictures.

Your Lies Bounce Off Me Like Ping-Pong Balls
Here's the repeating gif image of Chris Farley!

The Animated Ping-Pong Song
Here's the video (3:34), with great animation! (This is from 2008, but I'm not sure if I've ever linked to it.) 

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