May 3, 2018

North and South Korea Unified at Worlds
Here's some breaking news - rather than play their Women's Team quarterfinal match, the two Koreas will join forces. They will advance into the semifinals, where they'll play Japan, who defeated Ukraine in their quarterfinals. It's the first time they will have a unified team since they won Women's Teams at the 1991 Worlds, as commemorated in the 2012 movie, "As One."

My first thought on this was, "Is this legal, for two different countries joining up like this in the middle of a tournament? Can USA join forces with China perhaps?" But we'll let this Ping-Pong Diplomacy take precedence over such niceties.

Here's what USATT CEO Gordon Kaye posted on Facebook: "I am truly moved by what is unfolding in front of my eyes in table tennis, and more importantly, the world. A few moments ago, the teams from North Korea and South Korea, due to meet in the quarterfinals of the 2018 ITTF World Team Table Tennis Championships, both elected not to compete against each other and instead have decided to compete together for the remainder of the tournament as a unified Korea. This is what sport is supposed to be about. Peace. Friendship. Changing the world."

Here's the actual video (1:57) of the announcement at the Worlds. Here are articles on the breaking news.

World Team Championships
The World Team Championships continue in Halmstad, Sweden, April 29 - May 6. You should be able to follow the action there with news, results, photos, and live and archived video. You can get the latest news on the ITTF Worlds New page. Make sure to check out the Point of the Day and the Daily Review! Here's a great new article from USATT, Kanak Jha the Backbone as USA Advance in Favorable Standing, by Matt Hetherington. See more USATT coverage from yesterday on the USATT news page.

Four Big Decisions for the Future made at the 2018 ITTF AGM
Here's the ITTF article. Here's their new Strategic Plan.

New from EmRatThich
Over the lasts two days he's put up a 16 new videos from the Worlds. Why not browse over them? On interesting one was, Did Japan lose on purpose? This was about their losing to England, where some thought they might have dumped to get a better draw. But the video actually debunks that theory, showing they gained no advantage by dumping, and that it only hurt them.

World Teams Championships Part A
Here's the podcast (13:15) from PingSkills

Shoulder Update
As noted in my (short) blog yesterday, in the morning I went to the Piccard Surgery Center in Rockville, MD, for a Shoulder Cortisone Injection with Arthrogram. Although they gave me a local anesthesia so it wouldn't hurt so much, they correctly warned me that it wouldn't reach all the way in - and it was VERY painful. Those screams you heard were not Darth Vader, but me, retroactively used in Star Wars. The arm hurts a lot this morning, and I'm told will do so for a day or so - and then, by Monday, the prediction is it'll be a lot better, just in time for me to rush out to Sweden and beat the Chinese.

Tuesday, May 1 Blog
For technical reasons, the last four segments of my blog on Tuesday didn't come out. I thought I'd fixed it, but I just discovered the fix was only temporary. I just redid it so it works now (but lost the 700+ "reads" that were there, alas - it now shows 76). So perhaps visit it again and learn about:

  • New from EmRatThich - Eight new videos from the Worlds.
  • How to Glue Long Pips Without Sponge
  • Soccer Pong?   Jon Persson of Sweden (world #63) demonstrating his foot juggling skills with a ping-pong ball.
  • Cats and Pong!

"What if Frank Caliendo played table tennis as Morgan Freeman against a 12-year old?"
Here's the video (4:13) as comedian/impressionist Frank Caliendo talks about ping-pong on the Rich Eisen Show. Here's another video (2:31) also on the same show where you see him play table tennis. Frank's got a 1665 rating - he's played in two U.S. Opens. But his last tournament was in 2015, and he's not only lost a lot of weight since then, I'm told he's improved at table tennis as well, probably to 1800+. He came to MDTTC once, and I got to play doubles with him! (I played awful.) My question is - When will Caliendo do Trump commentating as he plays table tennis?

Tournament Officials: Learn 4 Keys to Maximizing Your Performance!
Here's the article from Samson Dubina. "Before I begin this article, I need to first say that table tennis umpires and referees are present at tournaments for your own good.  Without rules and officials, table tennis would be chaos.  With that said, I want to give you a few tips that I have learned during the last 400 tournaments that I have played."

What in the Wood? A Creative Exploration of the Ingredients of Table Tennis Blades
Here's the article by Coach Jon.

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

Exclusive interview with Nigeria's Aruna Quadri
Here's the interview.

Revealed: From ping pong to taking your dog to work, these are the weirdest and wackiest ways to stay young
Here's the article from Britain's Daily Mail - with an interesting TT cartoon. "You may need a bigger house, but it turns out that the humble game of ping pong could be a lifesaver. As well as improving your co-ordination and muscle strength, it can even make your brain grow." (Do you really need a "bigger house" to fit a ping-pong table?)

Horacio Cifuentes vs Wang Yang at the WTTC 2018
Here's the video (10 sec) of this wacky point. Here's the entire match (11:33).

Spider-Man Pong
Here' the picture from Japan, celebrating Avengers: Infinity War! (Here's the non-Facebook version.)

More Airport Pong
Here's the video (41 sec) as Adam Bobrow meets up with the New Zealand team at the airport, and all Pong breaks out.

Bad Sportsmanship - Demolition Pong!
Here's the video (7 sec). Did the flying racket survive? Did the kicked umpire table survive? Will the umpire have to undergo years of therapy after this attack? Oh wait, that's for the player!

Non-Table Tennis -Larrytt (Alias Larry Hodges) Top Ten Reasons Manny Machado Will Leave the Orioles
Here's my new article from Orioles Hangout! It's my 33rd article for them. For you non-baseball fans, Manny is the Orioles best player, and he's having an incredible start to his season, unlike the rest of the team - and since he'll be a free agent after this season, will likely be traded for prospects.

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