Ping Pong, Not Just a Paddle and a Ball




     The screen flashed in colors as the channels flicked by slowly. As my eyes scrolled through the many options that were shown, all but one passed my vision. This special channel had caught my eye and had my interest. “Table Tennis Championship!” I read to myself. Clicking on it I saw two players, slapping a white ball constantly at each other with paddles. Instantly I was interested and continued to watch. Soon I had learned all about the game called Ping Pong, or professionally called Table Tennis.

     Ping Pong is a game where 2-4 people take paddles and hit a lightweight ball back and forth. Following some rules that apply to tennis, the ball can only hit your side once before you must hit it over. Most of the game involves hitting the ball fast and barely over the net in the middle of the table and landing on the other side. This only leads to the opponent hitting it back the same way, or a mistake occurring and the ball flies off the table, or misses it completely. The game is played on a hard table, usually colored blue, and a net in the direct middle. It’s unique small and easily set up style is loved by many people, and some train to compete in matches across long distances. T.V. shows broadcast the exciting game and viewers come from all over to watch it. It is known as a parlor game, which means that anyone who has a paddle, table, and  ball are able to play whenever, and wherever they want.

     The idea of Ping Pong was created in England towards the end of the 19th century. After a party, a few upper-class Victorians decided to turn their dining room tables into miniature versions of the traditional ‘lawn tennis’ playing field. Using everyday objects in their house, they created the small replica. They used a line of books as the net, Rackets were lids from empty cigar boxes, and parchment paper stretched around a frame. The ball would be either a ball of string, a champagne cork, or rubber ball. The game spread from that one party to different parties and was called, “Whif Whaf”, “Gossamer”, or “Flim Flam”. The names were created from the sounds that the ball made when it hit the paddle. Finally, in 1901, a man named J. Jaques and his son registered a copyrighted name, ‘Ping Pong” for the newly popular game. He later sold the trademark to the Parker Brothers in the United States. After that, in the 1920’s, the sport was revived in Europe as the now know name, Table Tennis.

     The  buzz about Ping Pong didn’t stop for the next century. Instead, it grew immensely. Advancements to the sport were made immediately, and the sport became more popular. Players started using celluloid balls after an Englishman named James Gibb discovered them during a trip to the United States in 1901. He proved them to be perfect for Ping-Pong, so they caught on. In 1903, a man named Goode replaced parchment paper and cigar box lids with rubber on light wooden “blades” as rackets. After the world championships in Prague in 1936, where two defensive players had played one match for two hours, they decided to change regulation and to lower the net, so the game would go faster. This made the final change to Ping Pong, even today the rules that were set then are still followed now.

     Through all the matches and tournaments played officially in Ping Pong, some critics still think that it isn’t a real sport, and just a hobby. Many feel the same way since Ping Pong is a parlor game, and can be played anywhere, anytime. Also, the amount of people that don’t watch the game’s tournaments in the US tops the amount of people that do. These numbers prove why some people think that the game has no real rules, and can’t be played seriously. These few people, such as Shane, agree stating, “ Most sports you have to work, and this seems like a leisurely game for free time.”

     Although some don’t think it is a sport, many still do. Infact, 4 out of 5 people in a survey taken by students at HVS agreed that it is a sport. Since it is played in the Summer Olympics as an official game, it would be hard to argue that it is not a sport. Tournaments are also broadcasted live on TV, pleasing many viewers who love to watch. People such as Logan Rice feel that Ping Pong is just like every sport saying, “ It takes precision and work, which all sports do, and the fact that it is an Olympic game also proves that it is a sport. “

     Most people know about the game called Table Tennis, but most don’t know where it came from, or just how hard some people work to be good at it. No matter what you believe, sport or a hobby, the game is free to play to those who wish to play it. Table Tennis doesn’t have to be strict or loose on the rules, but is any way you want it to be. That’s what I think is the true beauty of the game, and all sports alike.

Websites I used: (bibliography)