This weekend, I was able to attend the US National Table Tennis Championships. I’ve written before about various types of athletes and these players were no different. I witnessed finesse and control. I witnessed athleticism and a willingness to sacrifice the body. I know that sounds funny when talking about ping pong, but it was incredible. In the Men’s Semifinal match, Zaman Molla leaped over the protective barricade to get a ball. He hit it back into play! Sadly, he lost the point because he was totally out of position when Yijun Feng (the overall winner) returned it. Still amazing. Seriously, check out how amazing this is in their warmups:
I’m pretty sure when I talk about professional table tennis, most people’s minds go to the movie Forrest Gump, as he was an Olympic table tennis champion. And it’s not entirely inaccurate. While many points don’t go for nearly as many volleys, there are times when the players will be fifteen feet away from the table and slamming it as hard as they can with accuracy to get it back onto the table correctly.
Professional table tennis is one of the most entertaining sports I’ve gotten to see in person. In the emotional semifinal match between Zaman and Yijun, after every point, the scorer would should “Choi” or “Cho.” I had no idea what this means, and I still don’t. I did learn that it is a custom in table tennis. I guess it’s better than screaming profanities, as there were a lot of kids present.
Some of the coolest things I saw were away from the competition. I saw an incredible little girl practicing with her father. Not always was this just a sweet scene, but she was a crazy badass at table tennis. Check the video below:
I also saw a para-athlete practicing with another competitor. The things he was doing were incredible, not just for a disabled athlete but for anyone, in my opinion. I couldn’t do what he was doing, even if I had equal training. Check that video here:
All in all it was a pretty fun event. I highly encourage all of you to attend a professional table tennis event. It’s really entertaining.
Lastly, be ready for a special blog on Christmas Day, or Thursday if you prefer.