November 16, 2017

To Dream the Impossible Dream
I’ve always thought that this should be the national anthem of table tennis. After all, aren’t we all dreaming of beating that unbeatable foe, and achieving that impossible dream of being a champion? And of course, along the way there are those bad losses, leading to unbearable sorrow? But if you want to be a champion, you have to face that and go where the brave dare not go.

Here’s the version (8:50), perhaps the most classic (or at least the most views on Youtube at over 3.2 million), from the 1972 movie “Man of La Mancha,” sung by Peter O’Toole. (Yes, the same O’Toole who, ten years before, was Lawrence of Arabia.)

NOTE - I've been advised by John Olsen that the truly iconic version is actually by Richard Kiley in the Broadway musical. Here is Kiley singing it at the 1972 Tony Awards (2:39). Listening to it, I think he's right. 

But my favorite version is the one from the old comedy TV show “Gomer Pyle: USMC,” which ran from 1964 to 1969. Here’s the video of the scene (8:08), which starts at the Lincoln Memorial, and ends with Gomer Pyle’s rendition of To Dream the Impossible Dream. It’s from the 1967 episode “The Show Must Go On,” where Gomer (played by Jim Nabors, a comic actor and professional singer), has a loss of confidence when he’s supposed to sing in front of a crowd – i.e. he gets nervous, just as we all do before a big match. He’s so nervous he loses his voice. Depressed, he visits the Lincoln Memorial, where he is given good advice by a stranger, as well as seemingly from Lincoln himself. He overcomes his nerves, gets his voice back, and gives a brilliant rendition of the song.

Here are other renditions of the song, including versions by Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Hank Williams, Susan Boyle, Diana Ross, Jennifer Hudson, Plácido Domingo, and Luther Vandross. The music is by Mitch Leigh and the lyrics by Joe Darion. I actually spent part of this morning creating a table tennis version of the lyrics – but you know what? While they might be considered “clever,” I think they just cheapened the song, and so I deleted them and will stick with the original.

Maximum Spin
Here’s the video (2:34) from Samson Dubina. “Check out this $0.01 tool that you can use today!”

Tomorrow Table Tennis - How to backhand loop against a deep fast push
Here’s the video (6:28) from Andy Zou.

Ping-Pong for Puerto Rico
Here’s info on the fundraiser at Philadelphia Spin this Saturday, Nov. 18.  

Seamaster Swedish Open
Here’s the home page for the ITTF event in Stockholm, Sweden, Nov. 13-19. 

Old Man Table Tennis
Here’s the article by Coach Jon.

Table Tennis New Generation
Here’s the article from Sports Flu.

Set and Match: Table Tennis as Performance Art
Here’s the article and pictures. “Simon Grenier-Poirier and Dorian Nuskind-Oder’s ‘Speed Glue’ turns table tennis into performance art.” I’m not sure why it is called “Speed Glue” as it doesn’t seem to have any connection with the old speed glues used in table tennis (now illegal), so it’s probably just some poetic name.

Japanese Instructional Video from 1950s
Here’s the video (14:58), which I believe is the one created by Ichiro Ogimura for Japan and later studied by the Chinese. The Chinese and Swedes attribute much of their success from learning from Ogimura, the 1954 and 1956 world men’s singles champion and future ITTF president. Here’s another video (3:42) of Ogimura playing against Toshiaki Tanaka, the 1955 and 1957 world men’s singles champion. These two Japanese players dominated table tennis in the late 1950s before the rise of China. (Here’s my blog on the book, “The Life of Ichiro Ogimura.”)

Martina Navratilova Thrashed Piers Morgan at Table Tennis and He Wasn’t Very Happy About It
Here’s the article and hilarious video (1:38)!

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