What if everything you believed about table tennis wasn’t true? A recent study reveals that table tennis is anything but a healthy activity. Table tennis players are in fact, among the most hostile, arrogant, and self absorbed athletes on the planet. They are prone to passive aggressive behavior, cheat without remorse, and eat their young (not literally, but adult players inexplicably find joy in bringing children to tears). Casual players tend to hang out in bars and drink to excess. Advanced players are universally addicts, constantly in search of their next table tennis fix. This can be contagious, affecting parents of young players, where the symptoms are dramatically multiplied. Players are often physically healthy, yet mentally delusional. Most of this data is documented in the New England Journal of Fake News, or as you may have suspected, I made it up. But, like most fake news, there’s some truth to this study.
Everything about table tennis is not all rosy, and it does seem like it might be driving us crazy. It might be one shot, one player, one paddle, one coach, or one serve that we fear we will never be able to return. Our sport is the wolf in Granny’s nightgown. It seems very innocent. It is generally very safe, but eventually every player stands facing their own limitations, and what big teeth they have. Table tennis does not have to be monstrous. Perhaps the best way to kill the monstrous side of table tennis is to face it head on, and then starve it to death.
Rather than focusing on our limitations, consider the enjoyment that comes from such a challenging sport. Strive to be a better player, but realize at some point, improvement will become harder and harder to achieve. Don’t compare yourself to other players. You are a unique individual who’s path to improvement will not be like anyone else’s. Don’t give up. The big bad wolf that is stealing your joy won’t last long if it’s not fed. Unfortunately, our sport is not perfect, and neither are the players. None of us ever will be. Maybe it’s time to quit feeding the monster.