June 30, 2011

USATT Paralympic Camp

I landed in Milwaukee for the U.S. Open around 8AM on Wednesday, and was at the Hyatt Hotel at 8:40AM. At 8:45 I was told that the room wouldn't be available until sometime between noon and 3PM. So I hopped in a taxi and went to the USATT Paralympic training camp, which was being held in a local high school. Dan Rutenberg was the head coach, assisted by Keith Evans. I had coached one of the players, Timmy La, for much of the last year. So for two hours (9:30-11:30 AM) I helped out as a practice partner, coach, and ball-picker-upper. I believe there were 16 players, a mix of wheelchair and standing disabled. Newgy was also there for a robot demonstration, and for an hour the players took turns going through a series of robot drills on four robots.

Visit to Spin Milwaukee

The playing hall wasn't open Wednesday for practice, so I visited Spin Milwaukeewith Tong Tong Gong, the cadet player I'm coaching at the Open. For $16 we rented a table for an hour of practice. I played great at the start, but toward the end - especially when we started playing points - he came alive and things became far more difficult from my end. Since I'm a coach, that's a good thing, right? Then we went out for mint chocolate chip ice cream.

Hyatt Hotel and Roosevelt (non-table tennis related)

There's a plaque at one of the hotel entrances that declares it to be the site of the Oct. 14, 1912 assassination attempt on Theodore Roosevelt by saloonkeeper John Schrank, who'd been plotting the attempt for three weeks. As an amateur presidential historian, I spent some time reading over the old newspaper clippings on the wall. The hotel was then called the Hotel Gilpatrick. Roosevelt was saved by his thick coat, eyeglass holder, and the 50-page manuscript of his speech - folded over once, so really 100 pages - which slowed the bullet down before it entered his body. Before going to the hospital, Roosevelt read the entire speech, taking 90 minutes. The bullet was lodged in the muscles of his chest, and doctors concluded it would be more dangerous to remove it than to leave it in, so it remained there until Roosevelt died in 1919.

Woman in bed playing table tennis

Here's a continuous video of a woman playing table tennis in bed by herself, holding one racket in her hand, the other with a her feet. Enjoy!


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