Tuesday, October 23, 2012

One of the Greatest Inventions of All Time: Ping-pong

In my never ending quest to find and embrace all that is virtuous, lovely, of good report and praiseworthy, I would be remiss if I did not at least pay a brief tribute to a well-known, but oft neglected virtuous activity.  I have written of Verseball, tennis, and other sports, but perhaps one of the greatest games that was ever invented is none other than that which is played with a small white ball on a smooth, painted surface.  Yes.  That is correct.  The game of which I write is ping-pong, a.k.a table tennis.

When my brothers and I were in high school, my dad was inspired to purchase a ping-pong table to put in the basement.  Of the many brilliant things that my father has accomplished, this was among the most brilliant.  Even though my brothers and I sometimes finished ping-pong matches with welts where we had hit each other with the ping pong ball, we spent precious hours together rallying.  You see, I love  my brothers (and my sisters too, who came later), and this time together was golden.  Since then, we have had other occasions to play, but I remember this time fondly.

Which brings me to my point.  Ping-pong is great.  Soon after arriving in Italy as a new missionary, my companion and I created a make-shift ping-pong table using a scarf and forks for the net.  Later, in Israel, my friends and I played ping-pong and backgammon during our breaks between classes.  Not long ago I met some college students from Nepal who demonstrated ping-pong expertise that I have seldom seen in any other players.  More recently, a co-worker invested in a ping-pong table, some paddles and ping-pong balls,  a contribution that has provided highly beneficial wholesome recreation.

In case you are not convinced that ping-pong is one of the greatest inventions of all time, consider this point, or this point, or this point, or these spectacular points.  Amazing!  This is beautiful point as well.  And don't forget about the ping-pong power of Bruce Lee, or the table tennis talent of Forrest Gump.  I might also add that there are great female table tennis artists, including Poland's one-armed (and left-handed) Natalia Partyka.