Yafet’s unsung 11

Where are Union’s ping pong heroes hiding?

Derek Baker

Union College intramural volleyball is in full swing. As much as I enjoy a great spike, occasionally I find myself longing for more. One night I found myself wandering Cooper’s Corner, aimlessly looking for something to distract myself from my homework when I was challenged by Yafet to a game of ping pong. I obliged and proceeded to get the best of him in every one of the four games we played.

Needless to say, I was hooked. I relished every moment—every serve and every kill. I felt alive as he trembled to my ping pong supremacy! As Yafet was buying me the Gatorade that we wagered, I asked him who the best ping pong players at Union are.

A few names were thrown out, but I was still left wondering who was the best, as well as the history and greats of ping pong past and present.

The sport got its start in England during the late 19th century. After dinner, middle and upper-class Victorians decided to turn their dining rooms into a miniature version of tennis. Books were used as the net, and rackets were fashioned out of cigar box lids.

Word spread of this new game, and many companies in England tried to capitalize on the phenomenon. Wiff whaf, gossamer, and flim flam were just a few of the many names given to the sport when it first debuted. In 1901, English manufacturer J. Jaques & Son Ltd. registered their version of the sport under the more popular name of “pingpong.”

It is believed that Asian countries like China, Korea and Japan learned the sport from British Army officers who were deployed overseas. In 1902 the first unofficial world championship was held, and in 1927, the first official world championship was held in London. A few years later, England, Sweden, Hungary, India, Denmark, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Austria and Wales founded the International Table Tennis Federation in Denmark.

For much of the 21st century, China has had a stranglehold on being the best in the world. But my question still remains, who is the best Ping-Pong player in Union’s campus?

Are YOU the best ping pong player at Union College? Message The Clocktower on Facebook (/ClocktowerASB) and let us know.

Derek is senior studying business sport management.