Bruce Ballard is a member of the board of Ping Pong Parkinson and writes a blog under the title “Parking Suns” (Parkingsuns.com). He has generously permitted us to reprint some of his recent posts. The first deals with metabolic syndrome, a noteworthy subject given the expansion of the average American girth in recent years.
I know who I am: I’m a basement player. I always have been and always will be. Just a humble basement player. (Well, maybe not that humble. I don’t talk to anyone with a rating below 1400 unless they make an appointment with my secretary.) And I play with the same kind of racket (sandpaper) I used in the 50’s when I used to drive balls off at an angle so as to cause my best friend to hit the multitudinous asbestos pipes he had in his cellar at the time. (If I lost the point, at least I had the consolation of knowing my good pal would end up with a good case of mesothelioma. Thankfully, no guilty conscience on my part for having done this, because my paisano didn’t end up dying of lung disease. In the 80’s he got run over by the Q44 somewhere on Main Street in Kew Gardens. Hey, I had nothin’ to do with that.)
Okay, here’s the Parkinson’s connection with this. Within our group there is talk of getting ‘better’ paddles. It’s mostly among some of the volunteers who have been imploring (and badgering) for new equipment so as to enhance the ping pong performance of our Pongers (PD persons). Well, it’s not that I’m against helping someone play better with superior equipment, but , well… I just don’t want to be outgunned, is all. I admit, I’m competitive. I wouldn’t look kindly on any up and comers who, by using any of the new trick bats, could drive the ball down my throat. It’s not right. It’s not nice.
I’m tellin’ ya, these new techno rackets are so fast, you can’t even see the ball (maybe Superman can). And the spin! Jeez, the spin. So much spin. The other day I was playin’ with this guy who changes his rubbers every month (no, not those kind of rubbers), when I had to fetch a ball that had escaped the curtains. I’m telling you, I was half way across the room when I got to it about a minute later, and it was still whirling like a gyroscope. His damn rubber is so soft … softer than butter left outside on a July afternoon. Disgusting.
All of these table tennis players today are preoccupied with technology. They should be preoccupied with basic ‘ground strokes’ and just playing ping pong (not table tennis). Besides, if they would forgo the Cypress wood blades with the carbon layers and flared handles, if they would shun the long pips rubbers and antispin, if they would refrain from concentrating on the thickness of their sponge layers – and ADAPT SANDPAPER RACKETS – then they could … use it as an emery board and polish their toenails. Lao Du
(PS: Despite my protestations, we’ll probably get some newer paddles.)
I just saw Serena Williams lose to this Japanese newcomer in the finals of the US Open tennis tournament. At one point, Serena banged her racket furiously (very good form in destroying it, by the way – she got a lot of foot-pounds into it), and she also lashed out with an unrestrained harangue directed at the referee.
I’ll share a little secret with you. I’ve always told people I can’t dance. That, I’m afraid, is a kind of fib that I’ve retained for most of my life. Turns out, my older sister ended up abruptly terminating my budding dancing career in the 50’s, when she attempted to teach me the Lindy. Unfortunately for her, she was the recipient of beaucoup shin kicks because… well, it’s because I have this congenital abnormality: two left feet. (I wasn’t aware of it until I kept kicking her.) But, of course, I can in fact dance (kick dancing?) And everyone else can dance, too. So, okay, maybe not like Fred and Ginger, or Gene Kelly and Leslie Carron, but everyone can sway, jump, tap, skip or whatever they do nowadays, around the dance floor.
Now, here’s why I’m bringing this up. When we started the juggling, several Pongers and volunteers said they couldn’t do it. That, it turns out, was the equivalent fallacy of someone like me saying they can’t dance. The fact is, in our PD group, the majority can now do a “flash” or a 3 ball cascade. Yes, they can juggle! They do it. It proves that with good motivation and perseverance, we all can accomplish stuff that we might have previously deemed unthinkable and unachievable.
Footnote: Having convinced myself that I could now dance, I asked my sister if she would teach me some new steps. She said, “Of course, baby brother, as soon as my shins heal.” Lao Du