Ping Pong

In my younger days, I played quite a bit of Ping Pong. During my few off hours in Vietnam I practiced my abilities quite a bit. There were a few that could regularly beat me but not many. I used a lot of spin, or what some call English, though I have no idea why.

I had not one but five very mean serves. After the ball bounced on the other side of the table, it generally came up not much more than two inches before dropping off the other end. Mostly, the best way to handle it was to put the paddle under the ball and almost scoop it up in the process of returning it.

The trick was, I often put side spin as well as back spin on the ball, so, if my opponent did didn’t compensate for that, the ball went off the side of the table. Then too, even if he returned the ball, he usually hit it high enough that I could hit so hard that he’d have a hard time seeing it, let alone hit it.

Of course, this worked only half the time. My opponent did get his chances to serve too. Even so, I was generally able to put quite a spin on my return, though I didn’t have nearly the control.

I know I’ve lost a step or two at the game, which also call table tennis. However, give me a chance to practice and I think I could still give most a run for their money. Though I am not as fast, the knowledge and basic skills are still there.

A few months after leaving the Marines, I met a guy who played tennis, the real game as some might say. I had seen him play and he was good. Though I dabbled at it a little, there was no way that I was a match for him.

He was friendly and asked if I played the game. I explained that the only tennis I played was on a small table. Still, he suggested we play a few sets.

Believe it or not, the game is governed by many of the same laws of physics. The big difference is the serve. If you want to have any luck at it, you really need to put some top spin on the ball. It causes the ball to curve down, which allows you to hit it harder and still get it inside the lines. In ping pong, I almost always used back spin as mentioned earlier. However, I did have an effective top-spin serve.

Surprisingly, I did beat him but I felt awful about it. No matter how hard I tried, I went back to my spin methods. Surprisingly, the spin has a big effect on tennis balls, more for the bounce than the flight. He would rare back and hit one of his serves and it was all I could do to hit it back. As I said, he was good.

However, my reactions would take over and I gave the ball a hard spin one way or the other. The ball almost seemed to float to the other side and he’d set up… ready to return the ball with vigor. His problem was that once the ball hit the ground, it went off in a direction he didn’t expect.

In some cases, he swung and missed. In other cases, he didn’t bother trying.

I felt horrible about it. To make matters worse, in spite of every effort not to, I laughed. I understand that sort of thing is bad etiquette for tennis. I don’t know. As I said, I never got serious at the game. It was rare I could find an opponent.

At any rate, after it was done, I apologized and told him that by all rights, he was the better player, which of course he was.

Since that day, I haven’t played tennis and I rarely played ping pong. It’s not that I didn’t like the game, I just don’t have an area or any opponents as I did. However, if I continued to play tennis as I did that day, they would likely bar me from the courts.

As any aside, I did prove some physics. A ball when flying through the air with a lot of spin will curve. I know. I’ve seen it. It is far more noticeable with a ping pong ball than a baseball but they all do curve. It is not some kind of optical allusion.

Also, the spin I put on a ping pong ball falls far short to the spin the dems put on the truth. It’s not even close. They are experts at throwing curve balls. REALLY!! CAN YOU BELIEVE BIDEN IS TRYING TO TAKE CREDIT FOR THE CEASE FIRE?!! Now that’s spinning it.

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