Frank Caliendo Loves Ping Pong: No Joke

Jul 14th, 2011No Comments

It all started in 2009. Caliendo, a family man with a wife and children, was bored while on his weekly stints in Las Vegas. He needed something to do—- after all, most activities in Las Vegas aren’t exactly family friendly. And so, Caliendo accidentally stumbled upon a table tennis club, picked up a paddle, and since then, hasn’t stopped playing.

Caliendo has frequently attributed his recent weight loss (of 25 pounds) to picking up the sport. He has been quoted saying that ping-pong players do not get enough credit in America. They are “legitimate athletes,” he has said, “and the best are like martial artists.”

Caliendo’s ITTF rating is currently 1,700 and he continues to play competitively.

SPiN Franchise Continues Expansion

Jul 12th, 2011No Comments

With branches already in New York, Milwaukee, and St. Petersburg, America’s premiere social ping-pong club, SPiN Galactic, is expanding its operations north of the border and into Toronto, Canada. At the beginning of August, Ryan Fisher, whose father is heavily involved in the Firkin Pub Group, will open the new Toronto SPiN Galactic in a 12,000 square foot basement space located in the heart the city’s downtown area.

The World Championship of Ping Pong appreciates all that does SPiN Galactic does for the promotion of the sport both from a social aspect and from an athletic perspective. Ping-pong’s growth as a bar sport in America, proves that the sport has unlimited potential domestically.

SPiN now has four locations in North America

The Ponginator

Jul 11th, 20111 Comment

It all began in 1947. Byng Forsberg, a paratrooper during World War II, crashed his car and severely injured his right hand while auto racing at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. As part of his excruciatingly long physical therapy, doctors suggested that Forsberg play ping-pong. The doctors believed that ping-pong was perfect for rehabbing his injured hand, as it is a sport that helps to build muscle memory and is not too taxing on the body.

That was nearly 54 years ago.

The Ponginator in Action

Forsberg’s hand eventually recovered, but he never stopped playing ping-pong. From the day when the doctors told him to take up ping-pong, there has rarely been a week where he hasn’t played. And as a result, Forsberg is now a legend of the sport at the senior level. At the National Senior Summer Games in Houston in June, the 85-year old Forsberg breezed through a field of 30 players in the 85-89 age group. It was Forsberg’s fifth consecutive age group championship at the National Senior Summer Games. His dominating performance goes beyond the box score; as he won the championship WITHOUT losing a SINGLE game.

Forsberg came into the local spotlight five years ago when he challenged the “Governator,” Arnold Schwarzenegger, to a game of ping-pong. Forsberg said he kept getting letters from Schwarzenegger’s campaign team asking for donations, and he persistently wrote back that he would donate, on the condition that the governor played him in a game of ping-pong. When they finally played each other in September of 2006, Arnold nicknamed Forsberg the “Ponginator.” The name has since stuck.

Forsberg, or the “Ponginator”—-whatever you so wish to call him by—- plans to keep playing as long as he is physically able. He is Exhibit A of how ping-pong breaks age barriers and helps older citizens feel young, healthy, and energized.

New Video Game Redefines “Singles Match”

Jun 28th, 2011No Comments

A singles match of ping-pong involves two players, two racquets, a ball, and a table… that is until now. The Japanese video game producer, Happinet, is redefining the term “singles match” with their release of “Hyper Ping Pong.”

I’m not exactly sure where to begin.

For starters, Hyper Ping Pong manages to do away with all the complications that stand between a person and a riveting match of ping-pong. No more pesky balls, tables, and opponents. Who needs them?! Hyper Ping Pong replaces them with a single paddle for one player. As the player swings the paddle, the game produces realistic sounds that simulate a rally with a non-existent Player Two. In order to time your returns properly, a player must listen for the sound and speed of the ball. A motion sensor in the paddle then detects whether or not you “hit” the non-existent ball.

You really have to see it to believe it.

Three ridiculous observations about this video:

First of all, this woman must be the world champion of non-existent virtual table tennis. I mean seriously, look at her form. Brilliantly switching between forehand slams and backhand slapaways—-there is no match for a player of her stature. Plus, she does it all while giggling and smiling like a 5-year old on Christmas; she truly is the face of the most unimportant sport in the world.

Secondly, the inventor of the game states that their slogan is “Go with the Rhythm” adding that Hyper Ping Pong is great for parties “as the people around you will get excited” while they watch. You know what…. he’s absolutely right. Why would I want to play this game when I could just watch people make fools out of themselves? This is obviously the purpose of the game. Their slogan therefore is all wrong… it should really be “making a fool of yourself has never been so easy.”

Finally, this video had shattered a life long dream of mine. I’ve always wanted to play ping-pong against a male ballerina in red shoes. But I guess he’s too busy playing against himself. Clearly, I must not have a good enough imagination. I mean WHERE are those shots landing? For years I have tried to execute the overhead tap and the between the legs flip to no avail. He just makes it seem so effortless while mocking his non-existent opponent with crazy cool dance moves. It’s truly remarkable. I just have one question for the people at Happinet: Is this non-existent table regulation size?

Maybe I’m being close-minded, but I just don’t see the fun in this. Keep ping-pong the way it is: a remarkable sport between two players with real racquets, real balls, and real tables. Go out and find people to play with. After all, it is the second highest participatory sport in the world.

Ma Lin Victorious in Volkswagen China Open

Jun 24th, 2011No Comments

Ma Lin, the reigning Olympic singles champion, beat Ma Long in an All- Chinese final at the Volkswagen China Open (June 19th) in Shenzhen. After dropping the first game, in the best of seven final, Ma Lin won four of the next five, ending a three-year long drought since his last Singles Championship on the ITTF Pro Tour (May 2008: Volkswagen Open Japan).

The 31-year-old Ma Lin used his athleticism and skill around the net in order to take home the title at the 2011 Volkswagen Open

The first game was arguably the most exciting of the match, with Ma Long charging out the gate to take an early lead. But the fourth best player in the world, Ma Lin, refused to let his opponent run away with it. He leveled the game and 9 all and then again at 10 all, utilizing explosive slapbacks in addition to exhibiting fantastic lateral quickness. Ultimately though, Ma Long would win the next two points to win the first game. The loss triggered Ma Lin, who was in attack mode in game two, with clever shots near the net, which put Ma Long off balance for games to come.

Ma Long, shifted the momentum back to his end in Game three winning rather convincingly. Unfazed, Ma Lin responded in Game four exploding to an 11-5 victory. The turning point of the match came in Game five. Back in attack mode, Ma Lin moved ahead 7-3 in the fifth game; he appeared to be on his way to a Game five victory. But once again, neither player would give up. Ma Long leveled the game a 9 all and an unforced error by Ma Lin put Ma Long in a game point situation. Like a true champion, Ma Lin was brilliant in the next point; he hit an outrageous block from the backhand along the parallel to level the game at 10. He used the momentum from the point to take the next two and the game.

After a crushing loss in game five, Ma Long had trouble regaining his composure in game 6 allowing Ma Lin to cruise to the finish line. Ma Lin won game 6 in dominant fashion (11-6), to take home the Singles Championship. For Ma Lin, the match was his 40th appearance in a Men’s Singles Final on the ITTF Pro Tour, and his 20th victory. As mentioned earlier, it was his first Men’s Singles Title on the ITTF Pro Tour since 2008. Since that date, the only major Men’s Single crown Ma Lin had won was in August of 2008, when he took home the Gold Medal in the Olympics for Men’s Singles.

Ping-Pong on YouTube: In other news, check out this RIDICULOUS shot by Mattias Oversjo against Jörgen Persson!!!!

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