March 16, 2020

Tip of the Week
Practice Attacking the Middle in Rote Drills.

<Start Coronavirus Section>

Everywhere you turn, all we hear is "Coronavirus, Coronavirus, Coronavirus!" It's like this Brady Bunch clip. So we'll start off with an entire section just on coronavirus items. As to me, I'm so used to going out to local restaurants in the afternoon where I combine lunch and 3-4 hours of writing-related work that I'm not sure what to do. Yesterday I finally ventured out and spent two hours at a Wendy's - but is this appropriate in the Age of Coronavirus?

Why the Coronavirus Hates Table Tennis
Here's the cartoon by yours truly! (Yeah, that's me, at the 1983 Pan Am Trials, age 23, where I made the Final 16. Thirty-seven years ago. Wow. Photo by Donna Sakai.) Also, a reminder that Coronavirus is an anagram of Carnivorous! (I think I was the first person- in the world? - to notice that when I put it in my blog last week. They are coming for us!!!)

USATT Announcements on Coronavirus
They've been busy. We also had to postpone the Regional Hopes Camp and Tournament that was supposed to be held at my club, MDTTC, this past weekend.

ITTF Coronavirus News

From Steve Hopkins

Japan's Efforts to Host China Table Tennis Team Face Challenges
Here's the article from the Japan Times (English version).

Cancelled or Postponed Events
I started keeping track of events cancelled due to coronavirus, and then I realized it would be much, much easier to just list things that are not cancelled. Like breathing, eating, sitting around watching TV (but carefully keeping six-foot distance from anyone else, lest they secretly have the coronavirus and are conspiring to infect you). Some cancelled or postponed events include (and many of these are repeated elsewhere in this blog):

What Is Left to Do for a Poor Table Tennis Player
Well, there's always online table tennis! I Googled "Online Table Tennis Games," and an enormous number of such games appeared. There is Hypergalactic Psychic Table Tennis 3000, which I wrote about last week. At the other extreme is classic Pong, good for many hours of mesmerizing mesmerization. But there's so many it was like looking into the abyss - just way, way too many for me. But I'm guessing there are some out there with some experience in these online games. And so...

...Is there anyone out there who'd like to create a Guide or Review of Online Table Tennis Games? On behalf of millions of table tennis players desperate to do anything pong-related during these hard times, we thank you! It would make a great USATT news item. If interested, contact me, and I'll try to get it published.

Who Says You Can't Play Table Tennis in the Age of Coronavirus?
Here's the picture! (Here's the non-Facebook version.)
</End Coronavirus Section>

US Table Tennis Hall of Fame Class of 2020
Here are the four new members and the Lifetime Achievement Award Winner!

USA Table Tennis Board of Directors Teleconference
It happened last Monday, March 9. I listened in on the call - there were about 15 of us, including I think four other USATT members who were just listening in. (My only current "official" connection with USATT, besides being a member, is as a member of the USATT Coaching Committee, which I've also chaired.) It's an open meeting, so whatever was discussed outside of executive session is pubic.

After the roll call and call for conflicts of interest, there were updates on the US Olympic Trials, an upcoming USATT Audit (which they hope to move from May to April), the US Nationals (prospective almost done, over 100 events, I helped proof a draft of it), and SafeSport. Next came committee updates. This included the one vote of the meeting, one of major consequence - by a 5-0 vote, the interim USATT Board of Directors voted to "reconstitute" the High-Performance Committee. The committee (before the vote) was chaired by Carl Danner, with members Stellan Bengtsson, Wen Hsu, Erica Wu, and Khoa Nguyen. Presumably they will soon appoint a new chair and new members, though of course they could invite any of these members back.

There was also some discussion of the timeline for the upcoming USATT election for two board positions. Presumably there'll be a news item on that soon. If you are interested, keep checking the USATT news page! I'll post it here when it comes up. The board then went into executive session (to discuss legal or personnel issues), and so I, along with most other non-board members, had to get off. I was on the call for close to an hour.

Non-Coronavirus News from USATT - Yeah, there is some!

Oman Open
Here's the ITTF home page for the event held in Muscat, Oman, March 11-15, with complete results, articles, photos, and video. It's probably the last major ITTF event for a while!

Polish Open
They played two days of the Polish Open, and then cancelled, due to coronavirus. That's a first! Here's the ITTF home page for the event partially held on March 11-12 in Gliwice, Poland, with some results, news articles, photos, and video. (See article by Steve Hopkins in Coronavirus section above.)

Other ITTF News

New from Samson Dubina

Table Tennis Footwork Challenge
Here's the video (4:45) from eBaTT.

Ball Control & Ball Brushing 1000 Reps Challenge
Here's the video (13:23).

New from Steve Hopkins (see his other two coronavirus-related articles above)

The Table Tennis Control Freak
Here's the article by Coach Jon.

"I Take the Winner!
Here's the cartoon! (The caption is the headline above in French. Here's the non-Facebook version.)

New from Pongfinity!

Non-Table Tennis - New Story in New Myths Magazine
Here's High Plains Centaur, a new fantasy story I wrote that was just published by New Myths. (Yeah, they pay me!) It's a humorous western as a gunslinging centaur canters into town to run for mayor - but has to face off with the current mayor and his two sidekicks, a vampire and the red-eyed unicorn! The other story I had that came out this month is Blood Wars, which came out in Galaxy's Edge earlier this month. It's about a world where vampires have taken over, with humans as farm animals they raise for our blood, with corporate wars between the major blood brands. It's a satire on the Coke-Pepsi cola wars.

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