August 23, 2021

Tip of the Week
Forehand Position for Backhands.

New York City Sightseeing and Tim's Basement
It's been a LONG week for me - I'm exhausted! Why? Because I spent Mon-Fri last week on my feet almost continuously, touring New York City. And then, on Saturday, Will Shortz and I explored USATT Historian Tim Boggan's basement, a literal table tennis treasure trove! I did daily Facebook postings of my adventures in New York. Here's the entire report. Or, if you want to see the many comments and discussions, here are links to the Facebook postings:

  • Monday - Times Square, Bubba Gump Restaurant, Hershey Chocolate World, Empire State Building, and Table Tennis at Bryant Park. (Only a half day as I arrived Monday afternoon.)
  • Tuesday - Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, Circle Line Sightseeing Tour (boat trip around Manhattan), Washington Square Park (the chess players), United Nations Building.
  • Wednesday - Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and Immigration Museum, Castle Clinton, 911 Memorial, World Trade Center, Wall Street and the Charging Bull, Walking Across the Brooklyn Bridge.
  • Thursday - The Metropolitan Museum of Art ("Washington Crossing the Delaware," "Self-Portrait with a Straw Hat" by van Gogh!, "The Temple of Dendur" from 10BC!), the American Museum of Natural History (Lucy! The Bandaged Blue Whale! "Worlds Beyond Earth" video!), Central Park (including Belvedere Castle, Cleopatra's Needle, and the Turtle Pond), and the Spyscape Museum.
  • Friday - the Bronx Zoo and Coney Island (I rode the Cyclone!).

When I sightsee, I always collect souvenir magnets. Here's this week's haul! (Missing - Castle Clinton was out of souvenir magnets, so I ordered one online.)

On Saturday morning, Will Shortz (of NY Times Crossword fame) picked me up at my hotel in Manhattan. It was about an hour's drive to Tim's house on Long Island. Tim Boggan was waiting for us, as was Eric Boggan (2-time US Men's Singles Champion and formerly #17 in the world - the US's top ranked man since the hardbat era). Then we went to the basement.

With Tim supervising, we went through box and Box and BOX, and shelf after Shelf after SHELF of table tennis stuff! We were like Bilbo in Smaug's lair. The only downside was that, at some point last year, Tim and son Scott (also a former US Men's Singles Champion) had cleaned out some of the basement, and his huge collection of past magazines was gone. But there were carloads of stuff of historical interest. We spent nearly all of Saturday going through it. (We took a lunch break at a local diner - Will and I had waffles, Tim had a shrimp sandwich.) We loaded up Will's car; he's a serious TT collector, and puts some of it on display at the Westchester Table Tennis Center, which he owns. I took about 20 old table tennis books, about half in English, half foreign language, to add to my table tennis book collection. (None of this will be sold - it's for historical purposes. I'm still trying to decide who and where to will my TT book collection to so that it stays together. I left the box of books with Will, and will pick them up when I go to coach some of our MDTTC players at the Team tournament at his club in two weeks, Sept. 4-6. So I have not yet updated my online listing.)

I also grabbed a couple of odds and ends, such as a weird racket with four holes in the base to put your fingers through, and some table tennis playing cards. We also found three boxes of VHS tapes and a film reel, all labeled, much of it vintage film/video of Eric and Scott Boggan in their peak years, and many others. Those we are sending off to Scott Gordon (former long-time chair of the USATT Classic Table Tennis Committee) - he collects those and will likely digitize many of them.

Then Will gave me a ride back into Manhattan and Penn/Moynihan Train Station (75 min ride), where I could catch Amtrak back to Maryland. Alas, I should have reserved a spot - every train to Maryland was full! So I had to check back into my hotel and take an 11AM train on Sunday morning.

I did have two "exciting" moments at the train station. When I first got there on Sunday, just outside the station's entrance, two police officers were arguing with what appeared to be a homeless person - who was screaming at them semi-coherently. He was black; the officers were white; dozens of people were videotaping it. I stayed and watched. After above five minutes, the homeless person walked off, still screaming. (So I don't think it'll make the news.) Then, just 15 minutes later, while I was waiting for the train to arrive, I glanced to my right where I had my luggage bag - and it was gone! Someone pointed, and sure enough, about 50 yards away some homeless person was wheeling it away. I chased after and caught him, and he immediately gave it back, saying, "Sorry, sorry, thought it was mine." (And before anyone jumps to conclusions, the second guy was white.) Moral - never take your eyes off your belongings when out in public!!!

USA Table Tennis Board Meeting
=>Skip this if not interested in the inner workings of USATT!
There was a USATT Board Teleconference on Aug. 11, which I attended. There were 23 people attending. Here's a brief rundown. (Most interesting part - see #6!)

  1. Approval of Minutes of previous meeting.
  2. Report from Bobby Sharma, chair of Nominating and Governance Committee. Arjun Chowdri was nominated and approved to the board as new independent Director. He's from the sport of golf.
  3. CEO Report by Virginia Sung. She went over the Nationals. The turnout was only 490, the second lowest in our history (lowest since 1986). There were 177 men, 94 women, 219 juniors. (Which, by the way, is a HUGE turnaround from the past - go back 20 years and there were probably 1/3 as many junior players - but many more adults.) There were 48 events on 45 tables. Due to scheduling problems, many players had to default and leave early (I blogged about this on July 12); a total of 53 players received refunds. The US Open was also mentioned, but still nothing on where it'll be. It will most likely be held the second week in December, and will be combined with the Pan Am Team Trials. She also said there should soon be info on tickets for the Houston Worlds, to be held in November. (See separate segments below on this.)
  4. High Performance Director Report by Sean O'Neill. He spoke about the various team trials, Olympics preparation, Olympics report, athlete grants, Kanak Jha going back to play in the German Leagues, Lily Zhang maybe.
  5. USATT Foundation report by Carl Danner. There is currently $1.28 million in the USATT Foundation, up about $100,000 this past year. They have sent about half a million to USATT in past ten years, so about $50,000/year.
  6. Umpire and Referee Committee Report by Roman Tinyszin. The ITTF has approved more racket colors. One side will still have to be black, but as of Oct. 1, you will have a selection for the other side, including pink, violet, green and blue. Here's the ITTF report on this, from February. Here's more info from PingSunday. The new wording from the ITTF rules (2.4.6) now says, "The surface of the covering material on a side of the blade, or of a side of the blade if it is left uncovered, shall be matt, bright red on one side and black on the other. With effect 1st October 2021, the surface of the covering material on a side of the blade, or of a side of the blade if it is left uncovered, shall be matt, black on one side, and of a bright colour clearly distinguishable from black and from the colour of the ball on the other."
  7. Update on the Proposed Amendments to the Bylaws, by Brian Moran. He reported on the upcoming Player Rep election, which should take place soon now that the Olympics is over.
  8. Update on the Athletes Advisory Council – First and Second Athletes – Third and Fourth Athletes, by Brian Moran.
  9. Approval of New Committee Members and Chairs. Marco Makkar was appointed to the Nominating and Governance Committee. Alfred Adjei was appointed to Tournament Committee. There was a strange incident regarding this. They were about to have the vote, but someone asked a question. After that, they went on as if the vote had already taken place, but the chair hadn't yet called for the vote. I pointed this out in the online chat section, and later they came back to it and had the actual vote. Not a big deal, as it was obviously going to pass, and did unanimously.  

Chief Tribute - George Braithwaite
Here's the video (6:04), brought to you by Thomas Hu. (I show up at 2:24.)

Paralympic Table Tennis Schedule
Here's the schedule, with table tennis scheduled for Aug. 25 - Sept. 3. Here's more info on table tennis at the 2020 Paralympics. (It's still considered 2020, just postponed one year.) Meanwhile, here's highlights from the table tennis action from the 2016 Paralympics (12 min)!

Countdown Begins as Houston Marks 100 days to Go until the World Table Tennis Championship
Here's the article from World Table Tennis.

World Championships in Houston - Ticket Info
Here's the ticket info page - but no info is up yet. Presumably it'll be up soon. The Worlds are in the US for the first time ever, Nov. 23-29 in Houston.

World Ping Pong Championship
Here's the info page! It's being held in Sugar Land, Texas, just outside of Houston, on Sunday, Nov. 21, two days before the World Table Tennis Championships begin in Houston. Steve Claflin, a former top junior star, is running it. You can enter via Omnipong. As I write this, there are 18 entries - including Jimmy Butler, AJ Carney . . . and Larry Hodges! Yep, I plan to go. The rest of you can battle for second! :)

Upcoming Tournaments in the Maryland and DC Area
There are ones in our area the next two weekends:

Tokyo Vlog #6 - Arigato Tokyo!
Here's the Vlog from Timo Boll (13:27).

New from Jinxin Wang

New from Samson Dubina

New from the Performance Biomechanics Academy Table Tennis

Lots and lots of new stuff here:

Creating More Time for Yourself by Preparing Whilst Moving
Here's the video (56 sec) from Eli Baraty.

New from Ti Long

New from Table Tennis Central

New from Steve Hopkins

New from Coach Jon

Nationals 2021-My Search for Gold
Here's the article by Darryl Tsao.

NCTTA Parties Together From Coast to Coast, Alumni Sign-up, and Fundraiser
Here's the article.

USA Table Tennis Announces 2021 ITTF Pan Am Youth Championships Teams
Here's the info page.

Two-Time Olympian Kanak Jha Visits Cary, Shares His Love for Table Tennis
Here's the article and video (2:12) from WRAL.

Which Sport Requires the Most Hand-Eye Coordination?
Here's the video (3:39), where famed physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson is asked this question. His response? Table tennis! It comes up three times in the video.

Here's their news pagevideo page ("World Table Tennis") and home page.

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

New Funnies 237 Woody Woodpecker Ping Pong
It's for sale!

Hello Kitty
Here's the Hello Kitty table tennis page! What, you don't know who she is? Here's info on the Japanese character Hello Kitty.

Adam vs. Anastasiia
Here's the video (14:30)! "Anastasiia grew up here, on Earth. Yet her forehand smashes might lead you to believe otherwise."

Trick Shots
Here's the video (4:23) from MLFM!

Table Tennis Expectation vs. Reality
Here's the video (6:45) from XOLAY!

Sideways Pong
Here's the video (4:02) from Pongfinity - where they play with the table on its end, as well as with a hula hoop and while juggling!

Political Game
Here's the cartoon - no "!" on this one.

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