Weird Happenings

August 17, 2012

Weird Camp Happenings

Lots of strange things happen in regard to table tennis camps. Here's a sampling.

  • Someone once emailed interest in our camps, and asked if they could stay at my house to save money. I reluctantly agreed (since I didn't know the person). They thanked me profusely, and then asked me to arrange their travel and every other aspect of the trip. I emailed back agreeing to let him stay at my house, but that they'd have to make their own travel arrangements. I didn't hear back from them.
  • A player made all the arrangements to attend one of our camps, and only at the last minute emailed asking if we really were teaching table tennis. He thought he had signed up for a tennis camp.
  • Over the years I've received dozens and dozens of emails from Nigeria and other countries trying to arrange for large numbers of players to attend our camps. All involve me sending out invitations, after which they'd send payment. Of course they only wanted the invitation so they could get into the country. We went along with this a few times in the 1990s, then were contacted by the State Department, who asked us to stop.
  • Every few months we get an email from someone letting us know that a "top junior player" from some other country would like to attend our camps, and asking us how much we'd pay for the honor.
  • One 1800 player caused great havoc in our camp. He refused to do the drills, instead insisting on randomly hitting the ball all over the table with a hardbat while aggressively lecturing others about the wrongness of their using sponge and other apparent shortcomings. After two days of this, a delegation of players approached me and said they'd no longer hit with this player. I was going to have to talk to the player the next morning, but he didn't show up. I later learned he'd gotten into his car and driven halfway across the country to another camp, where he caused equal havoc.
  • During lunch at Lake Forrest Mall, one kid disappeared. After an hour we asked security to search for him. They searched everywhere, and couldn't find him. Finally, after several hours, we called his parents, who said "Oh, we didn't tell you? We picked him up at the mall."
  • At the end of one camp we arranged for a group to go to Kings Dominion. While there one player disappeared. After a few hours of looking for him along with security, I finally called his parents to ask if he'd called home. The mom went into hysterics. We finally found him - he'd wandered off and had spent the day on his own in the water park area, ignoring all the very loud announcements calling his name.
  • There are many more - perhaps in another blog. I have to go coach.

2006 vs. 2012

Yesterday I blogged about how much junior development has improved in the last six years, and compared the junior top 15 rankings from the Nov/Dec 2006 issue to the current one. Here's a chart that shows this even better, comparing the #1 and #15 then and now, showing just how dramatic the improvement has been since the advent of full-time training centers all over the country. It's amazing to me that, for example, the #15 junior in the country today would be #2 in 2006! The depth has exploded.

 

2006 #1

2012 #1

2006 #15

2012 #15

Under 18 Boys

2418 (would be #13 in current rankings)

2625

2159

2387 (would be #2 in 2006)

Under 16 Boys

2418 (would be #6 in current rankings)

2522

2087

2310 (would be #6 in 2006)

Under 14 Boys

2323 (would be #6 in current rankings)

2420

1870

2153 (would be #5 in 2006)

Under 12 Boys

2044 (would be #10 in current rankings)

2235

1440

1916 (would be #3 in 2006)

Under 10 Boys

2044  (would be #1 in current rankings, but the #2 was only 1495)

2008

(#2 is 1920)

620

1170 (would be #5 in 2006)

Under 18 Girls

2330 (would be #4 in current rankings)

2548

1811

2112 (would be #4 in 2006)

Under 16 Girls

2113 (would be #7 in current rankings)

2329

1620

2002 (would be #3 in 2006)

Under 14 Girls

2029 (would be #7 in current rankings)

2261

1432

1786 (would be #4 in 2006)

Under 12 Girls

2029 (would be #3 in current rankings)

2105

553

1213 (would be #9 in 2006)

Under 10 Girls

894 (would be #12 in current rankings)

2105

80 (!)

372 (would be #4 in 2006)

ITTF Coaching Seminar

Here's an ITTF article about the recent ITTF Coaching Seminar Richard McAfee ran in Austin, TX, the ninth one to be run in the U.S. (I ran one of them.)

Waldner - Through the Years

Here's a video (6:21) that shows Jan-Ove Waldner through the years, starting when he's a kid, including interviews and showing his development. (Doesn't actually start until 18 seconds in.)

Owen Wilson's Late-Night Ping-Pong

Here's the article from People Magazine.

Bryan Brothers to Play Table Tennis for Charity

Here's a very short article about the Bryan Brothers (world #1 tennis doubles team) playing in a charity ping-pong tournament at Spin NY on Aug. 23 to benefit FDNY.

Hardbat From the Past

Here are three clips I saw recently posted showing hardbat from the past.

The Movie Ping Pong

You can now watch the movie online - but it'll cost you 9.99 pounds (about $15.68). The documentary features "8 players with 703 years between them compete in the World over 80s Table Tennis Championships in Inner Mongolia." More info, and a preview, are at the link.

A Handy Table Tennis Racket

Let me re-emphasize - this is a Handy Table Tennis Racket!

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