Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The P P Tournament

  The P P mentioned in the above title refers to ping-pong, not the commonly used term for urination,as when addressing a child or dog and asking-"do you have to go Pee Pee?" To the best of my knowledge, there is no tournament for that. However, when I was a young lad, I do remember a few unofficial contests to see who could project a stream the farthest or perhaps have the most success writing their name in the snow. With a name like Tom or Ben, it was fairly easy to win the contest. If you had a long name like Alexander or Horatio, chances are you wouldn't win. Of course due to anatomical make up, girls were unable to compete, so they weren't even considered for the contest. No doubt the modern day feminist would take issue with such a sexist contest. Take it up with God ladies.Yesterday my daughter Jen came to the house and announced that there was going to be a ping pong tournament at the youth center in the evening. Back when I was a young lad in high school, I used to play a good bit at the YMCA, and I got quite proficient at it. I never competed in any other sports, lacking the drive and the discipline to put in the time or effort, but for some reason ping pong appealed to me. I spent a lot of time at the Y, it was kind of a hangout I suppose, and since there is only so much hanging out a fellow can do, I guess I picked up a paddle and started to play. Much to my surprise and no doubt everyone else who knows me, I was pretty good at it. How the heck did that happen? The tournament last night was held at the youth center, and I think it was open to ages 8 through the last-gasp geezers. I fall somewhere in between, leaning more towards the geezer realm. There was quite a good turn out. I'm not sure how many folks were there, but enough to provide some competition. Of course we had everything from the novice beginner to the more well seasoned players. My first match was with a little neighbor kid down the street. I think Jen had him in her fourth grade class last year. I believe I was probably the oldest player there, so the powers that be decided they would pair one of the youngest with the oldest to see which one went home crying. I must confess, I held nothing back and soundly defeated the young man. Ah, the sweet smell of victory. In the exciting venue that is table tennis, sometimes experience wins out over youth. Especially when you're towering over your competition and outweigh them by a hundred pounds. The next game I played was with the pastor's kid, Manny. He's actually pretty good, but he has the fatal flaw of overconfidence. He went to state and took fourth place this year in the wrestling tournament, but wrestling isn't ping pong, and though it was a close match, with first him ahead and then me, I finally managed to gain the upper hand and he too went down in defeat.  YES! I was starting to remember how good it felt to win again. That feeling was short lived. I lost the next two games to fellows who no doubt practiced day and night under grueling conditions. It was disappointing, but all good things must come to an end. Frankly, watching that little white ball bounce back and forth was starting to make me cross-eyed. Plus I was getting  hungry, and if I had stayed to the bitter end, it would have been after 9:30 before I could have supper. As it was, Jen played match after match and in the end was once again victorious. She was crowned champion of the 2015 winter ping pong tournament. To the best of my knowledge, she remains undefeated, having won the last three years. Obviously my good genes and skill managed to work their way through her system and manifested themselves in her great playing ability. As I often do when writing a blog post, I like to do a little research on the subject at hand. I checked Wikipedia and discovered that ping pong originated in Victorian England. Apparently it was played among the upper-class as an after dinner parlour game. It was also known by the less common but equally classy name, Whiff- Whaff.  I like that name. Perhaps that's what I will refer to it as from now on. "Yes, I soundly beat my opponent at a game of Whiff-Whaff. He was quite distressed and had to retreat to the bar for a strong glass of sherry." In 1901 British manufacturer J. Jaques and Son Ltd. trademarked the name ping pong. Afterwards the rights were sold to American manufacturer Parker Brothers who enforced their trademark, so other associations were forced to call it table tennis. Originally ping- pong or whiff- whaff, was  played using books stood on end on a table to serve as a net, while two other books were used as paddles to bat a golf ball back and forth. It just goes to show, in our pursuit of fun, humans can turn just about anything into a source of entertainment. I can't wait to see what shows up next.


  1. I kinda like the name whiff-waff...little more fun to say. Yeah, I think you passed on your skills to all of us. I met a lot of my friends up at UAF playing ping pong, and Brian was just telling me recently he's quite proficient in it as well...it's a fun game...especially when you're winning!

  2. It's funny how that works. Winning makes everything more fun. The down side is that someone has to lose. I love playing whiff-whaff. I need to do it more often to stay on top of my game. It's good exercise too. If your opponent is good, they have you moving all over the table, if not, they have you chasing the ball around the room.It's a win-win situation.

  3. Sounds like a fun time! Jim LOVES to play ping-pong, too, but we don't have anyplace to play it :( Next time you're down here, we'll have to scout out a place to go play...!

    1. It is a lot of fun. I'm sure we can find someplace to play, even if it's one of those nerf tabletop games that can be played on a dining room table. Just have to make sure there is enough room to move around or the game will come to a violent end when the homeowner finds out you've damaged his prized possessions in the pursuit of the little white ball.