Editor: Lao Du has been responsible for most of the blog entries for Ping Pong Parkinson since its inception. Mostly, these blogs have consisted of rants and diatribes revolving around his strong distaste for… well, everything , and they all have been mostly pointless and inanely foolish. Occasionally he has tiptoed into Parkinson’s Disease topics, but only tangentially. For the most part, his flapdoodle and screwy-hooey has revolved around sandpaper ping pong and his bountiful ill-will directed at the bane of his existence: the ITTF (the International Table Tennis Federation).
But here’s the matter at hand: Lao Du is a volunteer at Ping Pong Parkinson, but he is not a “Ponger” (i.e., he does not have Parkinson’s Disease). It’s time, well overdue, that we should have People with Parkinson’s (PwP) write about their own personal experiences from their own unique points of view, and to share their stories, impressions, ordeals and achievements with our expanding group. It would also be refreshing to hear what criticisms or favorable comments they might offer. Thus, starting now, we are officially soliciting blog submissions from any and all members of Ping Pong Parkinson.
(Note: I will be forced to allow Lao Du to write about satanic pedophiles and alien abductions if we do not get any responses. And while we are waiting for our first real blogs to come in, I have permitted one last fanciful, mentally aberrant offering from our resident heretic. )
True Grit: Sandpaper
Look at that white thing flying on that table! It’s a plane. No, it’s a comet … No, it’s a meteor. Wait, wait, it’s off the table now and it’s slowing up. Holy smokes, will you look at that thing spinning on the floor like a gyro! Hey, how ‘bout that – it’s a Xushaofa 3 star, ITTF approved, 3.7mg, 40 mm+ ping pong ball. Jeese, it was moving so fast – I thought it was some kind of celestial body moving through the universe, making a temporary visit to Table # 2 at the Westchester Table Tennis Center before exiting the solar system. Could hardly see that sucker. Good gracious! What the heck could propel such an object at such staggering speed and spin? Hold on, there’s only one guy who could answer that question. No, not Einstein; he couldn’t tell ya. No, the only guy who knows the answer … is the equipment vendor at our ping pong club.
Okay, I just talked to the equipment guy, and now I know, too, how that ball reached supersonic status: Someone hit that ball with a Donic Bluestorm Z1 Turbo. That’s a surprise, actually, because my initial suspicion was that it was launched by a Saturn Five rocket (it’ll get you out of Earth’s orbit if you aim it correctly).
Can I tell you somethin’? I have lived among table tennis players for some time now. I have seen them up close and have learned of their quirks and idiosyncrasies. And all of this has not improved my considered opinion that they are mostly techno freaks interested mostly in speed and spin. Most of ‘em just want to murder the ball. You wanna know something? That is a misdirected goal with only a fleeting reward. “Fun” (with a capital ‘F’) should be the main pursuit of all ping pong players, except for the most venal and vacuous among us, who only wish to record victories in their personal diaries. (Editor: Hint: Lao Du keeps a diary.)
But here’s the question that arises concerning all of this: Can you have fun without rubbers that cost 75 bucks each, and that you have to replace every few weeks? Can you have fun without 2 millimeters of sponge covering a Butterfly Zhang Jike Super ZLC table tennis bladethat costs $569.99 (not including the tax)? Do we really need 7 plywood layers interbedded with a few carbon laminations? And do you really need a sweet spot wider than your rear end? The answer, my friends, lies mainly in … the hands of the misguided ITTF. Who are they, you may ask? They are, in fact, the rulers of the universe – that is, the Table Tennis universe. They lay down the rules from their Mount Olympus (the Greek gods live with them up there) near their posh retreat in Lausanne, Switzerland. They lay down the law. That law, unfortunately, does not involve FUN. It does not include sandpaper.
I ask you: Have you ever tried to play with a sandpaper racket? Well, don’t knock it until you try. Your dimples will suddenly appear while you’re playing (i.e., a smile), because you’ll have longer rallies. You will begin, once again, to love your neighbors and your enemies. You will find that there’s a glow about you as you forgive others who have betrayed and treated you badly. The Holy Spirit will come upon those that renounce the sponge and take up ping pong as it was really meant to be played. (3M ProGrade 150 or 220 grit sandpaper at Home Depot – less than a dollar a sheet) Lao Du