December 21, 2020

Tip of the Week
Proper Strokes Are 1-2-3: Don't Forget the Neutral Position!

USA Table Tennis Museum
Wouldn't it be great to have one? A place where we could all learn about the greats of our past? Schiff and McClure. Miles and Reisman. Seemiller and Boggan. O'Neill and Butler. Cheng and Zhuang. Aarons, Fuller, and Green. Neuberger and Shahian. Martinez and Sweeris. Bhushan and Lee. Gao and Feng. And so on.

There are various table tennis collections around the country, there's the online USATT Hall of Fame, and Mike Babuin maintains the Cary TTA museum in North Carolina (but the link to the actual museum is no longer active) - and Mike just sent me a video of the Cary Museum (10:52). So maybe that's something we might build on? Or do we start something new? I'm talking about a really serious one, with a dedicated building and curator, like the ones they have for just about everything you can imagine. Here are some other museums, so why not table tennis?

There is an ITTF Museum in Shanghai, but that's a little tricky to commute to unless you're in China. USATT, Scott Gordon, Tim Boggan, Will Shortz, Paddle Palace, Mike Babuin, and many others have extensive table tennis historical collections, and I've got a lot as well, especially my table tennis book collection. (I'd seriously consider donating it to start up the Larry Hodges [Memorial?] Library Wing of the USATT Museum!) I'd love to see it all put together in some dedicated location, with an actual curator.

Here's a listing of just some of the top sports museums in the US. It includes skateboarding, mountaineering, mountain biking, polo, lacrosse, archery, in-line skating, and flyfishing. There are four on surfing alone!!! And this isn't even a comprehensive listing. There's even a Marbles Museum!!!

Notice what's missing? The Olympic Sport of table tennis.

Of course, writing about it is a lot easier than actually making it happen. For something like this, we'd probably need a wealthy owner or investor, or someone who knows how to raise money. Or just someone who is such diehard at such an opportunity that they'd do whatever it takes to make it happen. (Here's a web page on How to Start a Museum.)

So . . . who's going to do this?

Weekend Coaching
This Sunday we completed the junior group tournament we started last Sunday. The kids were in three groups by level, with ten in each group, and played a complete round robin. Due to new restrictions how many people could be in the playing hall at one time, I actually spent half the sessions in the back room working on my computer. Parents weren't allowed in for that same reason. When I was in the hall, I took extensive notes on their play.

During a break, I came up with a non-table tennis joke that I shared with the kids - though I had to write it out for them to see it. What do you have when a father dog in the capital of Bolivia lifts its front legs in the air and freezes? A La Paz pa's paws pause. They wanted more, so I gave them a follow-up: "You walk into a room and there are three gorillas in it. One is holding a banana. One is holding a knife. One is holding a smart phone. Who is the smartest in the room?" It was hilarious listening to them debate this, though most finally settled on the gorilla with the smart phone as the smartest. Then I said, "So the gorilla with the smart phone is smarter than the other two gorillas, and smarter than you, since you are also in the room?" (Note to self: Need to create a list of table tennis jokes to tell them.)

Political Table Tennis Cartoons
Here are two that I recently put together. When I say I put them together, that means I found images online, and then Photoshopped them. (So I didn't do the actual artwork.) If you are a Trump fan, you probably don't want to click on the first one. I warned ya!

Blast from the Past - Butterfly Europe 1970s Coasters . . . and My Meeting with Surbek
Here's a picture of six table tennis coasters from the late 1970s. Someone put up a picture of one of them, and so I ran to one of my shelves of table tennis stuff and found the complete set! They'd been in storage for the last 40 years or so. The six are the three Hungarians and the three S's - here's the picture of Jonyer, Gergely, Klampar, Secretin, Stipancic, and Surbek. My whole table tennis career is sort of bookended by my "meeting" Surbek in 1976, and meeting Jonyer at the 2018 World Veterans Games. With Jonyer, we just shook hands - a hugely memorable moment for me, just another Tuesday for him. Here's the story of me and Surbek.

I started playing early in 1976 at the late age of 16. I went to my first US Open that year, in July, in Philadelphia. One day I went out for lunch and sat at the bar. The place was jammed. Surbek and Milivoj Karakasevic walked in - and the only place to sit was on the two empty chairs on each side of me. So that's where they sat, with me in between!!! I didn't know at the time who Karakasevic was (top 20 in the world and father of Aleksandar, who would have been seven months old at the time), but I was fully aware that Surbek was #3 in the world and top seed at the tournament, which he'd go on to win. I'd been studying his game from a photo sequence in a Japanese book. I couldn't decide whether to get up and let them sit together, so I sort of just sat there, scared to death, while they leaned back and talked behind my back in Serbo-Croatian. I ate quickly and left, and then Surbek moved into my spot. Perhaps the most nerve-wracking moments of my table tennis life!!!

US Open and US Nationals Historical Results
Here is the page,, created by Vince Mioduszewski. It now has all results from every US Open and Nationals (even rating events!) 1933 to present. (I linked to it last week while it was still being updated.) All results are now up, but a number of scores and some results are still missing. Vince is working to get the missing data. Vince has been hard at work compiling all these results from old magazines (including a box I sent him, and from others), Tim Boggan's History of US Table Tennis (he bought the complete set of 23 books), and online results for more recent years.

USA Table Tennis Announces Election Results for Board of Directors' Positions
Here's the news item. Elected to the board were At-Large Members Thomas Hu and Dan Reynolds, and Club Representative Will Shortz. Congrats to the new members! (But see my cartoon above, Well, Ya Won the Election, Kid!)

Casting Call for a Sports Drink Commercial - Looking for Ping Pong Experts
Here's the info page on how to apply. They are looking for Ping Pong Experts who are ages 10-13 or 50+ years old, who can be in Los Angeles for one or more shooting dates in January. Deadline to apply is Jan. 8, 2PM Pacific time. The ones chosen will be paid $2500 . . . and you'll be a professional actor!!!

December Chop and Smash Blog 
Here's the article by USATT CEO Virginia Sung.

Free 6-Week Table Tennis Workout Program
Here's the info page from Peak Performance Table Tennis.

New from Samson Dubina

Snake Serve
Here's the video (8:35) from Adam Bobrow. At first, it sounds pretty basic, but it's actually pretty advanced - the serve he's teaching is my favorite serve - I do it all the time, and it's short and looks like backspin, but it's actually topspin. Players tend to push the serve, so it pops up - but even advanced players often misread it the first few times, and continue to be tentative against it even when they read it correctly. (Adam, stop giving away secrets!!!) Like his other videos, this is funny, but this time he's teaching something that can really help your game.

New from Tom Lodziak

Serve Technique: Ma Long Serve Analysis, Footwork Pattern
Here's the video (2:11) from inMotion Table Tennis.

How To Forehand Pivot
Here's the video (2:04) from Rachid El Boubou

Reverse Windshield Wiper Serve Tutorial | Short Topspin
Here's the video (6:49) from Joey Cochran at Table Tennis Junkie.

Don't Forget Flexibility
Here's the article from Coach Jon.

New Racket and Ball Colors
Here's the article from EmRatThich at PingSunday.

Here's Why Ma Long Is The Greatest Table Tennis Player Of All Time!
Here's the video (9:55) from Table Tennis Daily. One thing that jumped out to me while watching the action shots - note how on even his biggest forehands, he rotates in a circle, with head and body not moving forward. This keeps him balanced, maximizes centrifugal force, and keeps him in position immediately for the next shot. Many players move their bodies forward in this shot, and never understand why they have trouble doing two in a row.

Jim Butler Matches
You should go to Jim Butler's Facebook page and watch the almost daily videos he puts up of his practice matches. They are great - he edits out time between points, puts in background music, and often starts with something humorous, such as the tribulations of Huijing Wang's dog. He regularly plays Huijing Wang, with other videos of him playing Kewei Li, Robert Roberts, Linda Shu, and Daniel Tran.

ITTF World Professionals Make Debut at Chinese Table Tennis Super League
Here's the video (4:43), featuring Lily Zhang (USA), Adriana Diaz (PUR), Cheng I-Ching (TPE), Jeon Jihee (KOR) and Doo Hoi Kem (HKG).

Highlights with Sean, Tahl, Hank, Jimmy
Here's the video (3:34) from Sean O'Neill.

New from the Malong Fanmade Channel
Lots of new videos here!

11 Years of ITTF - Global Sports Development Collaboration
Here's the ITTF video (2:03).

Three Thousand Days of Table Tennis
Here's the article by and about Will Shortz and his ongoing herculean feat!

New from Steve Hopkins

ITTF Statement on Matches Manipulation
Here's the statement.

Here's their home page and news page.

Bets, Lies and Table Tennis: How Police Pinged an International Pong
Here's the article from the Sydney Morning Herald.

Booba World Table Tennis Day
Here's the video - it's over two hours, but link should take you to 2:06, where there's ten seconds of "table tennis"!

Watchin' Sid & Nandan's Guest Appearance on Ryan's Mystery Playdate!
Here's the video (2:52) - "It's table tennis champs!" And that's a great entrance!

Ping Pong: Expectations vs. Reality
Here's the video (5:38) from Pongfinity.

Santa Claus Table Tennis
I found these for you so you don't have to! You're welcome.

Mostly Non-Table Tennis - "Pinning the Egg" and "The Pushovers of Galactic Baseball Fame"
My science fiction story, "Pinning the Egg," came out this week in the Sci Phi Journal. When a Murt egg lands on Earth, it's up to the resident Zinh to stop it before it hatches and destroys all life, as part of the galaxy-wide war between the malicious Murt and the Zinh defenders, with the taunting as nasty as the fighting. The story starts with a Go game with Emperor Qin in China 2200 years ago and then moves to England, where even Excalibur makes an appearance.

I also just sold another story, "The Pushovers of Galactic Baseball Fame," to Paper Butterfly Flash Fiction. It's the humorous story of baseball's spread through the galaxy, except instead of highly skilled players that make viewers feel inferior, they want the most uncoordinated, incompetent players possible, so the aliens feel good about themselves. Just how bad can a player be? Maybe I should have done this with table tennis spreading through the galaxy, where the "stars" were the worst players?

I actually have another story making the rounds, "The Beijing Galactic Table Tennis Championships." In it, table tennis has spread to the galaxy, and now they are holding the first Galaxy Table Tennis Championships - in Beijing - with aliens (mostly non-humanoid) from around the galaxy coming to compete. However, that story is rather long, over 10,000 words (about 40 pages double spaced), so a more difficult sale.

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