March 4, 2019

Tip of the Week
Be an Olympian - In Your Mind.

USATT Election, Coaching Committee, and the USATT Committee Selection Task Force

  • The election ended yesterday for my position on the USATT Board of Directors. (As noted previously, I decided not to run for re-election.) Today they are counting the votes between Mike Babuin, Bruce Liu, and Lily Yip. If one of them gets a majority then he/she wins and takes my spot immediately. If none get over 50%, then there will be a run-off between the two highest finishers, which will take about two weeks. Whoever wins, can you PLEASE get 50%+ so we can get this over with???
  • As also noted previously, I decided not to continue as USATT Coaching Chair. (I was appointed to the position two years ago, my second time - I also chaired it for four years in the 1990s.) My term ended on March 1, but according to the bylaws, I would continue as chair until my successor was named. Since they likely wouldn't do this until the in-person board meeting in Milpitas, CA, March 29-31, I took matters into my own hands and called an email vote to approve Pieke Franssen as my successor. (He was the only one who applied, but is highly qualified.) The vote was 9-0, and so he took office on March 1, last Friday. As I pointed out to him via email, at midnight eastern time on Friday night, he became the chair only for the Eastern Time Zone, while I continued in the rest of the country. And then, as the night went on, each hour another time zone hit midnight and March 1, and he took over another region, until finally, after five hours, my coaching chair powers ebbed away as he became coaching chair in Hawaii.
  • Regarding the USATT coaching committees, over 30 people applied to serve as chair or members of our 19 committees, with many applying for multiple positions. This was too much for the USATT Board, so they appointed a USATT Committee Selection Task Force to go over all of them and make recommendations. Board Chair Anne Cribbs called me up and convinced me to join the task force, along with Gary Schlager and Erica Wu. We had a long teleconference Thursday on this, and figured most things out, but there are about three committees that will likely have a lot of debate at the board meeting March 29-31.

Show Biz Pong!
Back in 2013 I had a wild day as a table tennis consultant on the set of the TV show Veep. Here's my blog about it. At their request, I also brought in three other local players, Khaleel Asgarali, Toby Kutler, and Qiming Chen. We all got paid, and I know at least Toby appeared in the episode - but none of us got any official credit, and so didn't get our own IMDB pages. Dang!!! (IMDB = Internet Movie DataBase, which also includes TV shows.)

Recently a student of mine, Navin Kumar, had his first acting and producing job, as "Atul," a "SWAT driver" in the movie Attack of the Unknown. I started wondering how many other USA players have IMDB pages.

I knew of some of the more obvious ones, and others who had bit roles in table tennis movies. But how many were there? So I asked on Facebook - and found there were a lot more than I expected! The reality is that, based on how many I got just from my Facebook friends, there are a LOT more that I don't have here. So if you have an IMDB page and have ever had a USATT rating (my minimum standard), feel free to comment below, including the web address of your IMDB page. Here are the ones I know of.

  • Judah Friedlander - he has 77 credits just as an actor! I've coached him several times, including back when he was a kid. He was in Star Wars 7, 30 Rock, Fresh off the Boat, Rio, Meet the Parents, Zoolander, Along Came Polly, and Ping-Pong Summer - and those are just the ones I saw him in. (We won't talk about Sharknado movies.)
  • Adoni Maropis - he has 48 acting credits, including 15 episodes in "24" as the terrorist Abu Fayed, who nukes Santa Monica. I've also seen him in Troy, The Scorpion King, and Lazarus Rising. I've had many battles with him at the table - he's won a number of hardbat titles at the Open and Nationals. He has a USATT rating of 2103, and that's playing with a hardbat.
  • Adam Bobrow - he has 26 acting credits, including Ping Pong Playa and Balls of Fury. He's now the Voice of Table Tennis for the ITTF, doing commentating at all their major tournaments. He has a USATT rating of 2143, had been as high as 2183.
  • Graciella Evelina Martinez (formerly Tomiko Ly) - she has 20 acting credits. As Tomiko Ly, she was also one of the top junior table tennis players in the late 1980s. She was a member of the Resident Training Program back when I was (at various times) manager, director, and one of the coaches. I practiced with her many times.
  • Frank Caliendo - he has "only" 17 acting credits, but he's better known for his standup comedy and impersonations. I played doubles with him once. He has a 1665 rating.
  • Alex Mayzlin - he has 11 acting credits.
  • Soo Yeon Lee - she has 9 acting credits - and a USATT rating of 2468!
  • Yichi Zhang - he has 3 acting credits. He has a rating of 2631.
  • Elmira Zainabudinova - she has 3 acting credits, including "Entourage" and "Balls of Fury." She has a rating of 2188, has been as high as 2228.
  • Laura Paglin - she has 7 credits as a Producer, 6 as a Director, 3 as a Writer, 2 as an Editor, 4 as a Cinematographer, and 7 as camera and Electrical Department.
  • Will Shortz - he has 3 acting credits, 13 as "Self," and one each for Producer, Cinematographer, Soundtrack, Miscellaneous Crew, and Archive footage.
  • Yau-Man Chan - he was in "Creep," "Reality Obsessed," and 19 episodes of "Survivor." Has a rating of 1573.
  • Chi Ngo - he was in six episodes of "It's Gary Schandling's Show," 1988-1990. He was also a member of the USATT Resident Training Program in the late 1980s, when I was (at various times) manager, director, and one of the coaches. I practiced with him many times - he was about 2200 at his peak.
  • Navin P. Kumar - he has 1 acting credit as Atul, the SWAT Driver in Attack of the Unknown. He is also credited as an executive producer. He's a student of mine, with a rating of 1385 (was 1434).
  • Barney D Reed - he has 1 acting credit for "Ping Pong Playa," and 2 as Self for the documentary Top Spin and with "Late Night with Conan O'Brien." I've known him since he was a kid. He was on the 1994 U.S. Junior Team that I coached that upset a bunch of teams to make the semifinals of the World Youth Cup Championships in Taiwan. He was on the USA Men's Team for many years.
  • Eric Finkelstein - he has 7 producing credits and 1 writing credit. I coached him at training camps when he was a kid! He is rated 2235 and has been as high as 2293.
  • Diego Schaaf - he was a consultant and technical advisor for Ping Pong Playa and Balls of Fury. He has a short cameo play in the latter. He was 1800-1900 at his peak.  
  • Wei Wang - she was a consultant and technical advisor for Ping Pong Playa and Balls of Fury. She has a short cameo play in the latter. She was the 1990 U.S. National Women's Singles Champion and about a 2400 player at her peak.
  • Jimmy Pelletier - he was in Ping-Pong Summer (actor and crew). He's a sandpaper expert, also plays hardbat. I've hit with him before.
  • Mike Meier - he played an umpire in the movie "As One" - and in real life, is an International Umpire! He has a rating of 1652.
  • Steve Hoch - he was a writer and producer for "Whacked!" I've played him a few times. He has a rating of 1963 and has been as high as 2101.
  • Wally Green - he has 2 acting credits, "Rockstar Games Presents Table Tennis" and "Grand Theft Auto IV." He has a 2331 rating. I've hit with him before.
  • Nicky Garratt - he has 2 credits for Sound Track, and one for "Self. He has a USATT League rating of 1798.  
  • Biba (Todorovic) - she has 1 acting credit for "Ping Pong Playa," and for crew in "Rockstar Games Presents Table Tennis."
  • Sid Naresh - he has 4 credits as "self" as a star table tennis junior - he's on the USA National Team as a Cadet. He has a rating of 2426.
  • Nandan Naresh - he has 4 credits as "self" as a star table tennis junior - he's on the USA National Team as a Cadet. He has a rating of 2291.
  • Arcot Naresh - he has a credit as "self" in "No Days Off" - he's the father of Sid and Nandan. He has a rating of 2057.
  • Sangita Naresh - she has a credit as "self" in "No Days Off" - she's the mother of Sid and Nandan.

HW Global Foundation Talent Development Program - They need your support!
I'm one of their coaches on Saturdays and Sundays, and I hope some of you can help out! Here is their GoFundMe page, where they are trying to raise $15,000. Until April 1, Hans & Wen Hsu, the HW Foundation founders, will match all donations for this Campaign, up $10,000. Here's the first paragraph from their page:

"Continuing last year's fundraising success, which brought our coaches to the U.S. Nationals in Las Vegas, this year we are establishing the HW Global Foundation Annual Campaign. Our annual campaign will partially fund the participation of our talented, young athletes in training camps and tournaments all year long. To stand out among other rising stars, our kids work hard all year to qualify for these special events, and we do not want their families' inability to pay for these events to hinder their progress. It is important to note that our annual campaign will not cover any operational costs HW Global Foundation may have; 100% will go to our young athletes to allow them to train and compete at a high level at national training camps and tournaments. We will have a process for families to request funds to help their worthy kids attend special training and competition events. We will summarize these events on our website."

Weekend Coaching
Or should I say - non-weekend coaching? I did coach the Thursday Beginning Junior Class, where we introduced pushing. The Saturday Junior League (which is half league, half coaching) was on hiatus as there was this big Chinese Alumni Tournament at MDTTC all day and night. Meanwhile, we were watching the weather forecasts, which predicted snow all day on Sunday, starting around noon and going past midnight, with up to six inches. By Sunday morning the forecasts had changed, with mostly rain, and then snow starting around 3PM. But that was still a problem, with a Beginning Junior Class at 4PM and the advanced Talent Development Program at 5:30PM. So we ended cancelling both around 11AM on Sunday. But it turned out we were right on the edge of the storm, and after we cancelled, it took a slight turn - and almost completely missed us! There was light snow, but not enough to stick on the roads.

Table Tennis Books by Larry Hodges
Yep, this is one of those periodic postings where I ask you to support a poor (relative to Jeff Bezos), starving (I had a small breakfast and it's almost lunchtime) table tennis (and science fiction) writer by buying my books! Here are my table tennis books that are currently sold on Amazon:

Or you can try out Tim Boggan's History of U.S. Table Tennis series; Dan Seemiller's Revelations of a Ping-Pong Champion; or Samson Dubina's 100 Days of Table Tennis.

2019 USA Nationals in July
The USATT page and entry form are now up! The Nationals will be in Las Vegas, June 30- July 5. (The first day, Sunday, June 30, is only for Junior and Mini-Cadet Teams.)

2019 Pan American Games Trial and First Adult National Ranking Event Tournament Homepage
Here's the USATT page with complete results, video, and photos. Here's an article on it, Pan Am Games Team Trial Review, by Steve Hopkins.

ITTF Coaching Courses in the U.S.
There is a Level 1 and a Level 2 course coming up in Tigard, Oregon - see below. (Here's a USATT news item on the Level 2 course.) There is also a Level 3 course scheduled September 4-11 at the Samson Table Tennis Academy in Ohio, but info on that is not out yet.

Simple Foundations of Balance and Movement in Table Tennis
Here's the article by Matt Hetherington.

Backhand to Forehand Grip Change and Footwork
Here's the video (5:32) from Eli Baraty.

New from EmRatThich

New from Tom Lodziak

Friction Videos
Here are the two video (3:31 and 3:04) from Samson Dubina.

'Inside My Mind': Bernadette Szocs
Here's the ITTF article and video (1:12). She's the world #21 (previously #12) from Romania.

Timo Boll Signs Off in Style on Dramatic Weekend of National Championships Action
Here's the ITTF article on Timo Boll winning Men's Singles at the German Nationals for the 13th time.

Fan Zhendong and Chen Meng Book Budapest Places
Here's the ITTF article on the two winning the Trials to represent China at the Worlds. Includes results at the end. Here's a related article, Ding Ning responds, Fan Zhendong stands alone. Here is another, Marvellous Twelve Review, by Steve Hopkins.

The Academy Awards of Table Tennis
Here's the article by Coach Jon.

History of USATT – Volume 22
Here is Chapter Eleven of Tim Boggan's History of U.S. Table Tennis, subtitled "1996 U.S. Open." Or you can buy it and previous (and future) volumes at Volume 22 is 469 pages with 1447 graphics, and covers all the wild things that happened in 1996-97 - and I'm mentioned a lot! Why not buy a copy - or the entire set at a discount? Tim sells them directly, so when you order them, you get it autographed - order your copy now!

Unbelievable - Table Tennis
Here's the video (3:14) from GT Table Tennis.

The Incredible Boy Harimoto
Here's the video (6:02). Tomokazu Harimoto (JPN) is #4 in the world (and #1 outside China) at age 15. (He'll turn 16 on June 27.)

John Travolta vs. John Travolta Pong
Here's the video (24 sec)! It's really about a 2-sec video repeated over and over, but it's kind of mesmerizing.

Happy Table Tennis Birthday
Here's the video (1:23)! Make sure to send it to table tennis friends and family on their next birthday. (Now I can't get that irritating tune out of my head…)

Goping Pong
Here's the video (30 sec) of this huge lawyer vs. insurance adjuster battle!

Around-the-World Against Lob
Here's the video (35 sec) with Adam Bobrow doing the nonchalant lobs.

Super Trick Shot
Here's the video (16 sec) of one of the more elaborate and impressive trick shots I've seen. I especially like the rebound shot off the block!

Non-Table Tennis - "Plop Plop"
My humorous science fiction story "Plop Plop" is now up at Galaxy's Edge! What happens when you are trying to murder your skydiving father and uncle, but they must hit the ground in the right order ("Plop Plop") to get your inheritance . . . and unexpected visitors from the future keep dropping by?

Send us your own coaching news!

Re: March 4, 2019

Were USATT election ballots sent via email this year or were we supposed to get them some other way? I don't remeber ever getting one...

Larry Hodges's picture

Re: March 4, 2019

They were emailed to every USATT member over age 18, but only if USATT had your DOB and email in their database. I blogged about this several times over the last few weeks, and USATT ran news items. Alas, the election ended yesterday, so you can't vote now. However, the odds are none of the three will get over 50%, and if so, there'll be a runoff, and you can get into that if you contact USATT and make sure they have your DOB and email. 

Re: March 4, 2019

Just checked and my email and DOB are in my USATT profile. Weird...

Larry Hodges's picture

Re: March 4, 2019

Contact USATT to find out what happened.

Re: March 4, 2019

Given that I voted in the previous election, I suspect this info was in there at some point (unless something happened). I'll double check my USATT profile, just to be safe.