Friday, January 15, 2010

Yes, But Do The Olympics Recognize It?

Ping pong not wild enough for ya?

I recently had a Facebook dialogue with a friend, and it involved the sport of poor man's tennis, aka ping pong. Here's our conversation (edited):

She: <in a post to her FB friends at large> my legs are finally recovering from the crazy game of ping pong! Who would have thought ping pong would have crippled me for 3 days!!!!!

The Leisurologist: I'd kick your ass at ping pong! <Ian always taunts his friends, especially at sports in which he feels a sense of relative superiority. Sports like ping pong and Scrabble.>

She: I'm sure you would! My ass sucks at ping pong, especially extreme ping pong!

The Leisurologist: What's extreme ping pong? Isn't ping pong extreme enough on its own? Extreme ping pong must involve beer...or brownies. Likely both.

She:! well regular old ping pong wasn't enough fun so we played "run around the ping pong table"...4 people rotate around the table trying to keep the ball in play. Surprising VERY hard to get over 10 hits. Our record is 41 but that was after 3 hours of trying and probably 900 attempts!

So! There's a new sport that I've never played. Extreme ping pong. I searched 'extreme ping pong' on youtube but only came up with images of Chinese men standing what looked like fifty feet apart, smashing a ping pong ball back and forth. It was extreme all right, but hardly social. Or remotely attainable.

I like ping pong but, in the same manner that skiing became more fun when one one ski was lost (now called snowboarding), I like the idea of tweaking the game. I hope to try extreme ping pong some day, as members of the tribe of Varty are always up for a new challenge. And if it involves beer, you know me, I'm all over it. I just can't get enough beer in me.

What?!?! You drank like seven beer last year, and didn't touch the brownies.

I was once part of a group that invented a new sport based loosely on ping pong. In the early 1970s, in my Fredericton basement, we invented a game called gnip gnop (`gah nip `gah nop). It involved hitting the ping pong ball back and forth in the air so that it never touched the ground. The game died off in the 80s and 90s, but was resurrected two years ago by my son Julian and me. Our record is over two hundred consecutive hits. Can you top that?

Why did you call it 'gnip gnop', Ian?

Because 'elbat sinnet' sounded too serious, and a bit too Middle Eastern.

You got a problem with the Middle East, mister?

Yup. Getting back to ping pong,...I'm feeling rather generous. I'm willing to offer a bottle of Motts Landing Chantilly Blush wine to the first person who can beat me at ping pong. There is only one restriction to this offer:

I must be playing with Excalibur.

Excalibur is my beloved forty year old ping pong paddle that is held together by spit, sweat and, more than anything else, electrical tape. The grip is gone, hence the electrical tape. The rubberized surface has long since worn off, making spins all but impossible. You'll not see me whirling the ball back at you, you'll just hear the sound of thunder when the hollow white orb gets spanked by Excalibur. When you play ping pong against me, it's a hard knock life. For you. And...





So.......any challengers?

Note: to my athletic friend Aimée...just because you're good at tennis, don't think that for one second that you can apply your talent (or geniosity??) to a smaller court with a teeny, tiny net. It's a different game, sister.


  1. Super Dave OsborneJanuary 15, 2010 at 6:57 PM

    Extreme ping pong extreme ping pong ... pffft ... that's not extreme !

    Gimmie a superball, two sledgehammers and a refectory table. THAT'S what I would call EXTREME ! ! !

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