USATT Committees and Task Force Minutes

May 3, 2012

USATT Committee and Task Force Meetings and Minutes

As noted in my blog on April 27, one week ago I sent an email to the USATT board, staff, and committee chairs asking where I could find the minutes of USATT committee and task force meetings. The USATT bylaws require these be published within 30 days (Section 9.10). USATT has not been doing so over the last five years or so (since the new bylaws were created), and so either there have been zero meetings or they have not been following their bylaws. (And I happen to know they have had numerous committee and task force meetings.) This is not a case of them not realizing they were not following the bylaws as I have reminded them of this a number of times over the last three years, by email, at meetings, and in person.

One week later and the only response was a private email by one committee chair who said he kept minutes and sent them to USATT, but they were never published. (He attached a copy of the minutes.)

This is a clear case of USATT being wrong, they know they are wrong, and they refuse to do anything about it. I find this incredibly frustrating - the board knows fully well that the membership only selects two of their nine members, and so they are not accountable to the membership. Two are selected by the Elite Athletes. The other five are selected by the Nominating and Governance Committee. Three of the five members of that committee are non-table tennis people who were chosen by the USOC.

I wonder if there is any benefit in going directly to the USOC and ask that they require USATT to follow their own bylaws? I mean, seriously, isn't following your own rules a major no-brainer?

Learn to Pong Like a Champ

Here's Part 2 of 3 from 2011 USA National Men's Singles Champion Peter Li, covering 1) Getting Good Equipment; 2) Understanding Underspin versus Topspin; and 3) Developing the Deep Push. It's given both in text form and video (2:01). (Here's Part 1.)

Why Guo Yue?

Here's an article on why China picked Guo Yue as the third member of the Chinese Olympic Women's Team.

"As One" pictures

Here are a group of photos taken at the set of the upcoming table tennis movie "As One," care of Mike Meier, who plays an umpire in the movie (and is one in real life as well). He's the one umpiring in many of the pictures, including the first one.

Here are two articles on Senior Table Tennis

Amarillo Slim

I saw the obituary of the famous gambler in the paper (he died Sunday), and it mentioned how he had not only beaten Bobby Riggs in a money match at table tennis with an iron skillet, but claimed he had also won a money match against a "world champion," which didn't seem possible - until I discovered they'd used coke bottles for rackets. Here's the story. (Anyone know who the Taiwanese player was? There have been no "world champions" from Taiwan, at least at the World Table Tennis Championships run by the ITTF.)

Bassnectar's "Ping Pong"

Here's Bassnectar's latest music (4:32), entitled, you guessed it, "Ping Pong." It starts with the sound of a ping-pong ball bouncing, and throughout much of it the beat is to a bouncing ping-pong ball.

Non-Table Tennis - SF Sales

The last two days have been nice ones for my "other" career, science fiction & fantasy writing.

  • I sold a story to Electric Spec, "In the Belly of the Beast," which tells the story of a sorcerer who kills dragons by getting swallowed alive, and then living in the dragon's stomach, protected by a force field, and bringing anything the dragon swallows into the force field - thereby starving the dragon to death. Unfortunately, the daughter he abandoned many years ago to go to sorcery school is also swallowed by the dragon, as well as a belligerent warrior. (It features the only sorcerer versus warrior battle ever fought in the stomach of a dragon.)  I've sold 59 short stories, and this is the 130th different publication I've been published in. (Here's a complete listing of my written work - over 1300 published articles and stories.)
  • I'm on the verge of selling a story to Flagship Magazine - they asked if I could do a rewrite of the ending. This story, "The Oysters of Pinctada," is about a space pirate who kidnaps a king and his crew in an attempt to find the secret of their giant pearls - and the lengths to which the king's people (including his son and daughter) will go to get him back.
  • The acquisitions editor for a publisher liked the first three chapters of my SF novel "Campaign 2100" and asked to see the rest of it. (She was a big West Wing fan, as was I, and the novel is basically West Wing in the 22nd century.)
  • Another publisher asked to see my fantasy novel "The Giant Face in the Sky." (Note - I have just the two novels making the rounds.)

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April 27, 2012

U.S. Nationwide Club Team League

As I noted in my blog yesterday, you can still enter your club in the league and save $75 if you do so by Monday - so enter now! Here's the web page with full info. I attended an hour-long online video presentation of the league yesterday with live audio as Attila Malek explained the league and answered questions. I expect we'll have a bunch of teams from my club playing in this first ever nationwide league. If a success, this will be the first step toward changing table tennis in the U.S. from a secondhand sport into a powerhouse.

The league is set up regionally so that teams don't have to travel far for their matches. They have sponsors, and are giving out $100,000 in prize money in the five divisions. As of yesterday, they had 104 teams signed up, as I noted in my blog. I just checked, and they are now up to 127 teams.

It is through such leagues that memberships and revenue skyrocket. Germany has 700,000 league members; England 500,000; several other countries in Europe have memberships also measured in the hundred thousands despite relatively small populations. The main difference is that in those countries, the national governing body took the lead in setting up developing these leagues, and so a share of the revenue went to them, which is used to develop their national teams. USATT chose not to get involved (despite my pleadings at the Strategic Meeting in 2009 and before and since), and so Attila Malek and a few others have instead stepped up to the plate and taken charge. Let's support them and who knows where this'll lead. But I can vouch that Attila is in it to develop the sport, and if the league grows, there'll be more and more money in the top division so that the "pro" players can actually make a living at this sport (finally), while all divisions spread to all parts of the country. If this sounds like a description of the highly successful European Leagues, then you are right.

Spread the word!!!

Email to Board about Committee and Task Force Minutes

Yesterday morning (about 10AM) I sent the following self-explanatory email to the USATT Board of Directors, staff, and committee chairs. So far one committee chair emailed me privately saying he actually kept minutes and sent them in, but USATT didn't publish them. Another person thanked me for bringing this up. Otherwise, no response. Will USATT continue to violate the very bylaws this board created five years ago, despite regular reminders for years, or will they fix the problem? (Will they shoot the messenger?)

The bylaws state that the minutes of all USATT committee and task force meetings be published within 30 days, as I've pointed out repeatedly for the past three years. Can someone direct me to these minutes? For example, I keep getting asked about certain decisions made by the High Performance Committee, but I can't find the minutes of any of their meetings, as required by the bylaws. I'm also trying to find the minutes of meetings by the task forces set up at the Strategic Meeting in Sept. 2009, where I also reminded everyone of the bylaw requirements. Has USATT had ANY committee or task force meetings over the past five years? 

-Larry Hodges

From the USATT Bylaws:
ARTICLE IX  COMMITTEES
Section 9.10. Minutes of Meetings.
"Each committee and task force shall take minutes of its meetings.  The approved minutes must be published within thirty (30) days of completion of the meeting."

History of U.S. Table Tennis, Volume 12

Yes, you read that right, Tim Boggan's Volume 12 is out! So buy yours today, as well as the previous eleven! Here's the webpage with info. As some noted table tennis authority once wrote, how can any serious player not buy these books? (Disclaimer: I do the page layouts and photo restoration for these books.)

Ariel Hsing on NPR!

Here's the article.

Warren Buffett versus Ariel Hsing

Here's 34 seconds of them playing in 2007, which includes a scandalous bribe.

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