You’re sitting by yourself in the club waiting for a game. Several of the tables are in use but, other than you, there is only one guy sitting near the lockers watching the action on table three. He’s new. You’ve never seen him before. He’s wearing a Butterfly ping pong shirt and he’s got a Killerspin table tennis bag sitting next to him on the bleacher seats. Jeez, should I ask this guy to play? He might be good. Of course, he might be a dud – one of those equipment junkies, in which case he’s probably all bark and no bite (big hat, no cattle; 400 dollar racket and can’t return a serve).
Ya know what really bugs me lately (besides the fact that the market is crashing and the price of bananas is going up)? It’s the hideous, self-congratulatory, celebration behavior of some players – mostly adolescents, but some fully grown types, as well – who after winning a point, scream out loud and pump their fists. Now some may be stumped and bewildered by the utterances. What is it actually that they scream so shamelessly? It sounds like “choe lay” or “ah lay,” or something close to those. These expressions bare some resemblance to the word qiu (pronounced ‘choe’) in Mandarin, and qiu means ‘ball.’ Notwithstanding that – it’s irrelevant what it means – it really is a deliberate discourtesy.
C’mon! This kind of stuff is not just rude and insensitive, it’s way more than that. It’s obtuse, it’s shameless, obnoxious beyond characterization and it’s just plain bad sportsmanship. And add infantile and immature. Also narcissistic. You win a freaking point, you shouldn’t be screaming like a banshee and gesticulating like Hitler, for god sakes – I don’t care how old you are. (Blame the parents for indulging these coddled millenials and whatever they call the pampered generation after them.)
When I was a kid (before McDonald’s sold a dozen burgers – Big Macs didn’t exist), there used to be such a thing as gentlemanly behavior in the sports world. “Rocket” Rod Laver and his compatriots of the day (Fraser, Emerson, Newcombe, Hoad, Rosewall) did not engage in the sordid and perverse shenanigans of some of those who followed (McEnroe, Ilie Nastase). But the latter, these champion bums, have caught the fancy of the masses and are admired, and their odious ways are unfortunately copied by their would-be successors.
I guess in this current state of coarseness and lack of civility, all of this is par for the course. But I still don’t like it, and I believe this kind of gross offensiveness should be banned.
(Full disclosure: I was a ‘bum’ on the courts in my youth and acted out in the same sophomoric snottiness I so deplore these days. But I converted to sainthood some time ago (in September), and now I wear a halo with unadulterated pride. Caution: Do not look directly at my halo as you may suffer eye injury.) Lao Du
In this blog I’m not going to explain to you how an eagle flies (I think it has something to do with Bernoulli’s Principle), but I am going to claim some license (I issue my own by virtue of advancing age and sports-related experience), to lay out some commonsense rules involving ping pong etiquette. These will be reasonable and rational guidelines based on an obvious standard of morality. (I’ll be the judge, of course.)
What prompted me to initiate this undertaking is the total insensitivity and discourtesy – maybe cluelessness, too – that I encounter with one or two guys in the club who insist on playing with a dozen balls in an “uncurtained” area. Those balls unfailingly end up on other players’ courts, continuously interrupting their games. Ya know what I have to say about that? PHOOEY!!! This is just not socially acceptable. Period! You either have some nerve to do this, or maybe you think you’re entitled because you have a rating within a thousand points of Ma Long. Or, maybe you’re just plain insensitive to the rights of others. Or, maybe you’re just as dumb as a sack of nuts and bolts. In any case, it’s gotta stop. Now! I can’t take it anymore. It messes up my concentration and I might lose because of it. (And then what am I supposed to tell my diary, huh???).
Okay, that’s one thing. Another matter that is trying my patience and driving me crazy involves those guys who return balls to you by just kicking them on the ground in your direction. That, I wanna tell you, is NOT acceptable, either. The respectful and considerate way is to patrol your backcourt area, pickup the trespassing balls and tactfully return them from whence they came with either a respectable toss by hand or a soft, paddle-propelled air mail delivery.
And one more thing. Don’t return balls with a ton of spin, in which an attempt is made to demonstrate how skillful he or she is, by having it bounce on the table and have it magically return to the ball’s owner. It doesn’t work most of the time, and often the poor SOB on the receiving end has to walk 5 yards to retrieve it.
To be continued… LD
Congratulations to the October 10th PPP tournament winner: Margie Alley. And kudos to all our participants and volunteers. The pizza wasn’t bad this time, and there was a platter of crudités to balance it off and assuage any unhealthy guilt feelings anyone might have had (in fact, some doughnuts were left begging). A special thanks to Irene for the cake and ice cream. Also, we are appreciative of Kokou Fanny for his expert handicapping eye, and of Will Shortz for organizing the draw sheet and supervising the tournament.
The winner, Margie, will be honored with an engraved brass plate affixed to a perpetual plaque commemorating her victory. (The plaque should remain on a WTTC wall until such time as the storm surge from Hurricane Michael reaches Pleasantville. We are advising all members of the club to seek high ground … or just stand on one of the Double Fish tables. ) LD
Bruce Ballard, a board member of PPP, has generously provided the following post. His regular blog can be found at parkingsons.com
Should you shake hands with your opponent after he makes mincemeat of you? Or, the other side of this, should you shake hands with a guy that you’ve just annihilated three games to zero? The answer (albeit, from a suspected recluse): Don’t shake hands with anybody. Ever! Why? you may ask. It’s not that I’m encouraging people to shun others and to live the ascetic lifestyle of hermits. You shouldn’t shake hands because these guys will make you sick, that’s why. The guy who beat you mercilessly and the guy you coldly wiped out can present you with gifts that have absolutely no sentimental value whatsoever, believe me. I’m talking Salmonella, E. coli, norovirus and adenovirus, to name a few of these freebies. And do ya know why these germy things are on their hands? Probably (let’s not give them the benefit of the doubt) because they didn’t wash their hands in the bathroom ( most men and women don’t, you can look it up).
It’s not just the turkeys who don’t wash their hands in the bathroom, either. It’s the guys who have runny noses that can also make you sick. Let’s not leave them out of the equation. Ever notice how often they go to the hanky in-between points. Well let me tell you something about that. After they spit or blow their noses, they stick those disgusting rags (they should use tissues) into their pockets, and then they serve the whole hazardous cocktail to you via your beloved Xushaofa 3 star 40 mm sphere. And, voila, after you’ve inadvertently touched your eyes, your nose or your mouth, you’ve got exactly what that shnook across the table has (except you have to wait for the incubation period).
So? Can we do anything. Yes. Use a fistbump (knuckles to knuckles). Use those sanitizers, PLEEZ!. Wash your hands with soap in the bathroom, PLEEZ! And do yourself a favor, too – get a flu shot. Tell ‘em Groucho sent ya. Lao Du
(Please note: Full disclosure – I am no longer a practicing hermit.)