New Year Camp

There are reasons why Bay Area kids did very well at the Nationals. I think there are three camps going on in the Bay Area. (TopSpin, Ping Pong Dojo, and ICC)

U2000 RR at the Nationals

(Mark Johnson was playing his first match after he advanced from his U2000 RR)

At least 5 of the ICC Monday night RR advanced from the U2000 RR. They are:

  • Mark Johnson
  • Ali Shafai
  • Mike Chen
  • Chao Zhang
  • Bruce Liu
The single elimination will continue on Thursday.

Believe or not, Las Vegas is snowing now! Heard lots of flights have been canceled.

Check out Gerry Chua's photo slideshow. Quite a few Bay Area players are in it.

ICC California State Open (Dec 5 - 7)

(Player Tetsuro Hirouji. Most photos are courtesy of Nelson Ngo)

The India Community Center (ICC) Table Tennis Center in Milpitas hosted its second USATT* sanctioned tournament this past weekend – the first in its new full-time 10,000 square foot facility on North Milpitas Boulevard. Yes, you read that right. A full-time table tennis club of this size does indeed exist in these United States!

What a treat – especially the food! ICC Table Tennis Center head coach and manager Rajul Sheth managed to serve EVERYONE free food and beverages throughout the 3-day tournament.

The number of entrants received for this tournament worried tournament director Bruce Liu. There were 172 – including former Controller and Chief Fiscal Officer for the state of California, Steve Westly, in his first tournament. He was California Campaign Co-chair of Obama for America and was a member of the campaign's finance committee.

Bruce had run last year’s tournament but then there were only just over 100 entrants. This time four of the events were booked to their maximum capacity. But with the help of some passionate volunteers and a bit of luck, the tournament kept on schedule, and by all accounts a good time was had by all.

Preparation of the venue for the tournament started at 7:30 AM on Friday under the direction of ICC Table Tennis Center manager Rajul Sheth. All tables were moved away. The professional grade floor mat was vacuumed. The tape on the floor mat was redone. Four brand new STAG tables were assembled. Rajul was obsessive in his desire to make the venue look perfect, and the results showed it.

The tournament started with the youth events on Friday evening. It was so fun to see these young kids compete. Kunal Chodri – the Boys' Under 9 winner – had a USATT rating of 250 when he played in the tournament at ICC last year. This time he was the top seed with a rating of 1517! It was a similar story for runner-up Krishnateja Avvari. He had a rating of 284 last year, but his rating for this tournament was 1217. Apparently the junior program at ICC has been doing a great job. According to Rajul Sheth, ICC's week-long Thanksgiving training camp was so popular that they will do it again during the Christmas week.

In the Open Doubles event on Sunday, the four highest rated players in the tournament advanced to meet in the final. The second-seeded team – ICC's own Jitendra Gidla and Hailong Shen, with a combined rating of 5044 – met the top-seeded team of JiaQi Zheng and Chao Fan from Ping Pong Dojo, with a combined rating 5170. It might have been the home-court advantage, but the ICC pair came back from down 0-1 to upset the favored Ping Pong Dojo pair in four games (-6, 3, 8, 8)

According to Rajul, a 2000 USATT rating is a difficult milestone to reach for recreational players. In Open Singles, there were 32 entrants. Of these, 23 had ratings over 2000. (There were a total of 30 players over 2000 entered in the tournament.)

There were few upsets in the opening round of the Open Singles, with nine of the top seeds advancing from the eleven round-robin groups. However, the same could not be said for the playoffs. The top two seeds in the tournament were both eliminated in the quarter-finals.

The top seed – JiaQi Zheng (2644) – is the second highest rated female player in the US behind only many-times US Women’s National Champion and 2008 US Olympian Gao Jun. Perhaps not yet recovered from the grueling Northern America Teams tournament in Baltimore a week prior, she was upset by a new kid on the block – 19-year-old Zhe Hao Wang (2407), who just arrived in the US two months ago. Zhe Hao's exuberant style and fighting spirit – and probably his underdog status – made him a crowd favorite.

The second seed – Hailong Shen (2528) – had just returned to the US in November and is now a full-time coach at ICC. Trevor Runyan (2354) apparently was not intimidated by his opponent’s lofty seeding and rating. He quickly dispatched Hailong three straight.

However, the third-seeded player, Chao Fan (2527) – a former top player in China – and the fourth seed, Jitendra Gidla (2516) – a former India National team member – got revenge for their colleagues in the semi-finals by stopping Zhe Hao and Trevor, respectively, to set the stage for the final.

Chao had coached in Mexico before coming to the USA last year to coach full-time at Ping Pong Dojo, also located in Milpitas. Jitendra is currently a full-time graduate student pursuing his MBA degree and a part-time coach at ICC. So it would be an all-Milpitas final!

Before the final started, the court was re-arranged to make sure there was sufficient room for the players, and enough chairs and sight lines for the spectators. By this time, only the U2150 and U2350 finals were still left to play. Hundreds of die-hard table tennis enthusiasts stayed late to watch the Open Singles final and they would not regret it.

The two finalists were different in almost very aspect – nationality, club affiliation, playing style, size, etc. – but there was at least one thing in common. Both of them used their brain as their most powerful weapon. This match was like a chess match. You could almost see the strategy changing game by game. Chao won the first game relatively easily. Jitu – Jitendra's nickname – came back to win the next three. But the Open Singles final was best-of-seven (the only best-of-seven match in the entire tournament), so the job was not yet complete. Just when the crowd thought it was over, Chao refused to let go. He managed to win the next two games in spectacular fashion to even the match – three apiece! The seventh game was nerve-racking. The game was tied at 1:1, then 3:3, then 4:4, then 5:5, then 7:7, then 8:8, and finally 9:9! When Jitu took the last two points to claim the Open Singles championship, the crowd went absolutely crazy. What a match! Hundreds of spectators left happy at their decision that Sunday to drive to Milpitas and spend their afternoon at the ICC.

According to tournament director Bruce Liu, all tournaments should post their results online within a short time after its conclusion. As reasonable as that sounds, many tournaments just don’t do it. For this ICC California State Open however, the result of every single match was posted online that very same night. This might have been a first in the US! (

On their way out, quite a few spectators congratulated Rajul and Bruce for a well-run tournament and suggested they turn it into a regular quarterly event. But Rajul and Bruce – what with their droopy eyes showing the tell-tale signs of sleep deprivation – were not too sure about that idea!

*USA Table Tennis, the official governing body for table tennis in the United States

ICC Thanksgiving Camp II

New blood training with coach Tang.

A Couple of Ping Pong Videos

Bruce Lee Playing Ping Pong (Discovered by Gene Huang)

Ping Pong Song (Posted by need2beat)

"Ping Pong Playa" -- A Must-see New Ping Pong Movie

by Robert Palgon

Sunday night, Sep. 7th, Hermann Luechinger and I went to see the San Jose debut of a terrific new independent movie, "Ping Pong Playa" -- a very funny movie that doesn't miss an opportunity to trigger a smile and a laugh. It stars a young fellow named Jimmy Tsai, who is undoubtedly destined for big things, and is directed by the Academy Award winning director, Jessica Yu.

Using the vehicle of table tennis as a centerpiece, the movie hilariously explores the trying problems of one Southern California Chinese-American family trying to cope with a son caught between two cultures -- and somewhat out-of-place in each. In the process, the film weaves in members of other ethnic minorities including Indian-Americans and African-Americans, and comically contrasts some of the problems of dealing with the cultural expectations of one's own group to the problems of dealing with the stereotypes of the dominant culture.

After the screening, the star, producer, and director conducted a "Q & A" at the theatre, and we all subsequently repaired to a local Billiards Parlour where two ping pong tables were reserved for the audience to take on Jimmy Tsai, the protagonist in the film.

Hermann and I, playing with our Hardbat Hocks, managed to hold our own against him, and had a lovely time speaking with all the people connected with the film.

The film is playing in a few selected US cities (NY, LA, and the Bay Area) -- and was originally scheduled to only run for a week, but it has since been extended an additional week. I urge everyone, while you still can, to go see this genuinely winning, tellingly-comic and quirky table tennis yarn. The movie is playing now, through Thursday evening, Sep. 18th, at the following Bay Area theatres: Sony Metreon in SF, Shattuck in Berkeley, Cinema12 in San Jose.

I would be remiss if I did not mention that we spotted several real players in the film that we, and many of you all know such as Barney Reed, Biba Golic, Mas Hashimoto, Diego Schaaf and Wei Wang. The last two served as consultants for the filmmakers. But all of these players appeared really very briefly.

Ping Pong Playa

Intrigued by Robert Palgon's review and Long and Barry's recommendation, in the Sunday afternoon, I took the light rail to San Jose downtown Camera 12 to watch the movie "Ping Pong Playa". The train stopped right in front of the theatre.

I arrived about 30 minutes ahead of time. No one was in the cinema 4. So I sneaked into cinema one to have a sneak preview of the other movie "I Served the King of England". There were only 5 people watching the movie! Nevertheless, it was a nice movie and I may go back to finish it. I went back to cinema 4 for the "Ping Pong Playa" expecting an empty hall as well. To my surprise, although it was not a full house, there was a very decent crowd! According to Robert, September 11 should have been the last day for the movie. I guess the box office was not too bad after all.

If you expect a movie like "Balls of Fury", you will be disappointed. If you want to watch high level ping pong, you will be disappointed, too. However, the movie is surprising entertaining. I wouldn't tell you too much here to ruin it movie for you. You have to watch it yourself.

By the way, in addition to the ping pong players Robert has identified (Barney Reed, Biba Golic, Mas Hashimoto, Diego Schaaf, and Wei Wang), I think I recognized one more - Adam Bobrow. He was also in the "Balls of Fury" but this time he got to say a few lines!

Here are a little bit more info for the movie:

2008 Olympic Table Tennis Venue

It is a beautiful gym - a first dedicated table tennis gym in the world!
China Daily clip:

My photo slideshow:

Higher quality still images.

MSCTTers in Beijing II

(Bruce, Patrick and Simon Ng) Simon used to play at Milpitas Sports Center. He and Vincent Tai won the U3700 doubles title at the US National several years ago. Simon relocated back to Hong Kong about 3 years ago.

If you want an official dragon shirt the Chinese TT team is wearing, it is available at $499 RMB apiece. Patrick bought the red one. The blue shirt is also available but not the black one.

(QiYing Yin and Larry Lee) Mr. Yin had played at Milpitas Sports Center since the beginning of the MSC until a couple of years ago. He currently lives in Beijing. Larry still lives in Fremont and now an ICC player.

I've made an executive decision to offer Mr. Duck the honorary player of the MSC and am glad that Mr. Duck accepted. Believe me. It is a 2800 level duck! Once approved by Rajul, I intend to induct the duck to the ICC board.:-)

MSCTTers in Beijing

The scorpion on a stick was yummy! Only $10 RMB per stick. (~US $1.50)

All Good Things Come to an End

After pondering for a long time and consulting with quite a few people, it seems that it makes sense that we will not return to the Milpitas Sports Center after the renovation. Here are the main reasons:

  • Milpitas has two full-time table tennis clubs already. There is also Top Spin not to far away in Santa Clara.
  • The growth potential in MSC is very limited due to the storage space and lack of time slots.
  • The cost. If you go to MSC twice a week, the drop-in fee is likely more expensive then the membership fees in most clubs.
Anyway, I think MSCTT has served its purpose. We can proudly brag that Milpitas has become the table tennis hot spot in the US. Altogether we made it happen.
  • 412 MSCTT group subscribers
  • 372 players participated in the largest USATT Singles League
  • Everything was run by volunteers. No funding whatsoever but players' contribution.
  • Great results locally and nationally
Although we will not have a physical location from now on, we will keep the mailing list for information dissemination purpose. Also, we will keep promoting the sport using the remaining fund. I promise that the money will be used wisely. A Board of Advisers will be formed to monitor the progress. Let me know if you are interested or have any question about it.

3/25 Weblog Updates

(Farewell party on 3/8/2008 at MSC)

  • Good news! I was told that after the MSC renovation, we will have more storage space. So, we will purchase 6 Butterfly Centrefold 25 tables - 12 in total!
  • Financial position:
    $1700: from selling 4 Andro tables, 3 @$450, 1 at $350
    Balance: $9,254.32

Western Open Results

(Photo courtesy of Gerry Chua Production)

Great performance for MSCTTers! Full results are at

  • Open Singles - 2nd Shen Hailong (defeating former US Nationals Champion in the semi-final), Quarter-finalist Ariel Hsing
  • Under 22 Men - 1st Shen Hailong
  • Under 22 Women - 1st Ariel Hsing
  • Over 40 - 2nd Kenny Tien
  • Over 60 - 1st Mao Lin Zhao
  • Under 10 Boys - 2nd Kanak Jha
  • Under 13 Girls - 1st Prachi Jha
  • Under 10 Girls - 1st Diane Jiang
  • U2500 - 1st Truong Tu, 2nd Kevin Au, semi-finalist Nelson Yu
  • U2375 - Quarter-finalists Jim Chai, Henry Sit, Patrick Wu
  • U2250 - Quarter-finalists Tommy Nguyen, Nelson Yu, Johnny Huang, Patrick Wu
  • U2125 - Semi-finalist Henry Sit, quarter-finalists Mao Lin Zhao, Gary Fang, Kenny Tien
  • U2000 - 1st Gary Fang, 2nd Dan Lin, semi-finalist Bruce Liu, quarter-finalist Barry Or
  • U1850 - semi-finalist Q
  • U1700 - 2nd Prachi Jha, quarter-finalist George Siu
  • U1250 semi-finalist Kanak Jha
  • U800 1st Nathaniel Chu
  • U4200 Doubles - 2nd Tommy Nguyen/Henry, semi-finalists Ariel Hsing/Bruce Liu, Kenny Tien/Dan Lin, quarter-finalists Nelson Yu/Mark Johnson, Johnny Huang/Peter Chung, Vincent Tai/Barry Or
  • U3200 Doubles - 1st Stan Sun/Michael Wong, semi-finalist Q/Claire Yeh

Last Day before the Renovation

3/8 will be the last of MSC before the renovation. Although the renovation schedule is from March through August 10, I heard a rumor it could be done ahead of the schedule. However, it is only a rumor. Let's have our fingers crossed.

Tomorrow, there will be one table for the League. The rest will be for open plays. We will have a big cake and drinks at the end. Join us if you can.

When we come back, we will add two more tables. (12 in total, all Butterfly Centrefold 25) I will see if we can extend the hours on Saturday for one more hour. This way, we can arrange two team contests on one table in one day.

3/1 Weblog Updates

(Back row: Q, Sammy/Isabel/Nathaniel/Anthony Chu, front row: Mark Johnson, Claire Yeh, Barry Or, Jerome Poon, Nelson Yu, Ken Lin)
(Q and Jerome)
  • U2250 : Champion - Tommy Nguyen, 2nd place - Nelson
  • U2100: 2nd place - Tommy Nguyen
  • U1950 : 2nd Place - Barry, semi finalist - Mark
  • U1800: 2nd Sammy
  • U1500 : Champion - Jerry
  • U1050: Semi-finalist Nathaniel
  • U600: Semi-finalist Nathaniel
  • U450: 2nd Isabel
  • U300: Semi-finalist Anthony
  • U3900 Dbls : Champion - Barry/Mark, semi finalist - Q/Sammy
  • U3300 Dbls : Champion - Q/Jerry, 2nd place : Mark/Claire
  • U2900 Dbls : Quarter finalist - Ken/Jerry
  • U2200 Dbls: 2nd - Sammy/Isabel
  • The deadline to enter Western Open in Berkeley is 3/7. If you plan to enter, don't miss the dead line. You can enter the tournament on-line.
  • MSC will still two open days on 3/4 and 3/8 before the gym renovation. We will have a small party on Saturday near 6PM. Come join us if you can. Some light snack and drink will be served. MSC will re-open in Auguest with new floor, bleachers, and air-conditioner.
  • Financial position:
    $9: balls
    $50.00: one-year USATT club affiliation fee renewal
    Balance: $7,554.32

2/9 Weblog Update

  • MSC will close on Tuesday, 2/12 to observe Lincoln's birthday. No table tennis that day.
  • Wow, the Incredibles have been doing great - 3 for 3 on 2/5 and 4 for 4 on 2/9. That's 7 team contests in a row!
  • Here are the results and schedules for all the Incredibles:
  • The BATTF site just had a makeover. Please visit the site and follow the sponsor links. It will help BATTF in the long run.
  • Financial position:
    $5: DVD
    Balance: $7,595.32

1/26/2008 Weblog Update

  • The 2008 BATTF Team League will start on 2/2/2008. MSC registered 7 teams. The RR that day is canceled. Actually, we will put the weekly RR's on halt until further notice. No more than five tables will be used for the BATTF League. (fewer most of the time)
  • 1/26 RR: (complete result)
    1. Ariel Hsing - Hope our players step up. Otherwise, Ariel may not come back often.:-)
    2. Gary Fang - 15:0!
    3. Wei Chen - Wei won but was not easy. It was a 5-way tie! Could have been the first ever in the MSC history!
    4. Lin Sun
    5. Arun Jha - Emerged from a 3-way tie!
    6. Mike Fong
  • Congratulations to all winners. 7848 matches have been played since the League started in 2003.
  • Financial position:
    $57: RR
    $Expense: $38 - anew Stiga VM net set
    Balance: $7,590.32

"I Have a Dream" - Everett Wang's Version

(picture courtesy of

by Everett Wang

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and play great table tennis: We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal. (Not just Chinese players)

I have a dream that one day in Milpitas Sports Center everybody will be able to play together at the best facility in the nation.

I have a dream that one day even at the city of Milpitas, a city sweltering with the lack of table tennis facilities, sweltering with the lack of playing slots, will be transformed into an oasis of table tennis super power.

I have a dream that our children will one day live in a city where they will not be suffered by not being able to find places or time slots to play table tennis. I have a dream today!

1/19/2008 Weblog Update

  • The 2008 BATTF Team League will start on 2/2/2008. MSC registered 7 teams. Occasionally, we will need to cancel the weekly RR for our home matches. Once the schedule is ready. I will post it.
  • 1/19 RR: (complete result)
    1. Nelson Yu
    2. Henry Sit
    3. Natalie Sun
    4. Gary Barretto
    5. Wilson Ta
    6. Ron Wallace
  • 1/18 RR: (complete result)
    1. Jiaqi Zheng
    2. Nelson Yu
    3. James Nguyen
    4. Leland Chen
    5. Ron Wallace
  • Congratulations to all winners. 7779 matches have been played since the League started in 2003.
  • 1/26/08 and 2/2 RR's are full. Please email me at to sign up for the 2/9 RR. Just email to me is sufficient, no need to email to the whole group. Thanks.
  • Financial position:
    $51: RR
    $21.75: USATT membership renewal commission
    Expense: $0
    Balance: $7,571.32

Chao on Singtao Daily

(Chao Zhang with his coach Stellan Bengtsson, 1971 men's singles World Champion)

(Chao rewarded himself after the tournament at the Planet Hollywood buffet)



在聖荷西工作的華裔電腦工程師張超上個月在拉斯維加斯的「2007年美國全國乒乓球錦標賽」上捧回了兩個大獎盃,他Chao rewarded himself after the tournament at the Planet Hollywood buffet把興奮的心情寫在給本報記者的郵件中,希望呼籲更多人積極參與體育,在乒乓球運動中獲得樂趣。





張超報名參加了五個積分賽,包括,U1500, U1600, U1700, U1800, U1900 (U 表示「以下」)。參加比賽的900多名不同年齡的男女老少,從1,000多分開始較量,也有超過2,400分的高手,據稱2,400分以上者就是奧林匹克的水準了。



終於,幾番苦戰之後,張超獲得了 U1500比賽的金牌,和U1600比賽的銅牌。同時在該次比賽的最高級別賽事中,他作為觀眾也欣賞了廬普萊思庫獲得男單冠軍,王晨奪得女單冠軍的精彩賽事。


1/12/2008 Weblog Update

  • 1/12 RR: (complete result)
    1. Wilson Tsao - after his one-year paternity leave, Wilson emerged from hibernation to win table 1. Apparently, holding a baby has strengthened his arms.
    2. Gary Fang - a very deceiving D player who upset A, B, and C to win the table.
    3. Wei Chen - another deceiving D player!
    4. Radu Licea
    5. Arun Jha
    6. Ken Lin
  • Congratulations to all winners. 7628 matches have been played since the League started in 2003.
  • 1/19/08 RR is full. Please email me at to sign up for the 1/26 RR. Just email to me is sufficient, no need to email to the whole group. Thanks.
  • Financial position:
    $51: RR
    Expense: $0
    Balance: $7,498.57

Part VI - the Grand Finale


裁判长亲自授予我证书,金牌和一座刻着2007 US Nationals Champion的奖杯。在如此困难的情况下夺得一个冠军,虽说级别不高,我也心满意足了。我高兴地捧着奖杯走出赛场,这时有个美国老头上来向我祝贺,接 着问我有没有准备好U1900的第二轮淘汰赛。靠,我都忘了,这场比赛原定九点进行。后来因为我的决赛而顺延。此时我身心交瘁的程度已非我平日可以想象。 我问裁判长这场比赛能否改期到明天进行,当时快十点了,整个大厅里空荡荡的,已经没有任何比赛了。裁判长说如果双方同意,可以改期到明天早上。但美国老头 说不愿意明天起早来打。看来他是占定这个便宜了。

我硬着头皮再度上场。人不可貌相,那美国老头动作不行,实则很厉害,积分1900,有一手 很绝的我从未见过的反手大力弹击,让我叹为观止。此时我也处在竟技状态的低谷,第一局苦战至12:14告负,然后就溃败了。我也无所谓了。离开大厅后发现 shuttle service停了,好在旅馆大楼不远,走也行。我照着旅馆那大大的霓虹招牌走去,走了将近一刻钟,才发现因为修路,路的尽头被铁丝网围住了。我先把大包 丢过去,然后用尽最后的一丝气力翻过铁丝网,跨越了今天最后一道障碍。

回到房间,展示了金杯。听了事迹汇报后,老婆很高兴,难得地表扬了 我,认为我体现了一个优秀运动员敢打敢拼永不放弃的可贵品质,同时也劝我放弃第三天U1700的比赛,拿一个冠军就行了。就这一点我表达了不同看法。我军 虽疲,然士气高涨,宜趁胜追击,全力歼灭敌军。我胡乱吃了些东西,洗了个澡就睡了。躺在床上我才感到浑身酸疼,每寸肌肉都在撕扯,本来以为已经痊愈的屁股 又隐隐作痛。加上刚才的比赛过度兴奋,还有那六瓶Red Bull的效应,我是翻来覆去怎么也睡不着,比赛中的一幕幕像放电影般在我脑海中重现。算了算两天打了22场比赛。这其实是个违背我生理规律的数字,因为 我只是个普通的电脑工程师,平时和大家一样,上班下班加班,带小孩给小孩喂饭,没有时间做身体素质的训练。为了准备这次比赛,两个月前我才加入gym,利 用中午吃饭时间跑跑步。国际乒联规定,专业运动员一天最多打四场比赛,业余的没人管,爱打多少是多少。就这样整晚脑子闲不住,加上手背开裂发痒,可能只睡 了三小时不到。早八点起床,为U1700作最后一搏。

U1700开打后,我的状态一般,但还是凭着余勇小组出线了。第二轮轮空,第三轮定在 中午。十一点的时候我撑不住了,大脑发麻,眼睛发涩,浑身发软。我在主席台旁找了两张椅子躺下,闭上眼小睡一会儿。不知道是什么时候,工作人员把我叫醒, 该上场了。一看,对手是昨天输给我的一个美国小伙子。开打后感觉不行,我的下网结合出界的特点完全发挥出来了。1:3被淘汰了,打完后我感到有点恶心,头 晕想吐。

我的比赛都这样全部结束了,望着大厅里那么多生龙活虎般的球友,我还真舍不得离开。我们这个club是一个团结的集体,球友们之间 只要有机会都是竭力地互相帮助。我给一个球友做了一会儿陪练,然后就当上了观众,为他们加油鼓掌。傍晚时分,所有比赛结束。最高水平的级别里,卢普莱斯库 夺得了男单冠军,王晨拿了女单冠军。

赛后第三天,我咳嗽发烧,浑身发冷无力,一直在床上躺到了2008年。时至今日,看到乒乓球我都还 有一种很异样的感觉,打伤了。总结一下,这次参加了五个级别的比赛,获得一金一铜,成绩上是不错的。但是,技术上还有很多很多需提高的地方,比赛经验特别 是大赛经验急需积累。这一次最大的失败是睡眠问题,连续三天睡不好,是造成体力透支的根源。另外后勤补给这些东西都没做好,应该携带香蕉,巧克力,牛肉干 这些东西在比赛间隙随时补充。现在能体会到那些运动员场上比赛,场下不知有多少人在帮忙。方方面面都做足了,运动员才能调出个最佳状态。从比赛强度上说, 像我等业余球手,应量力而行,不要把自己搞得太疲劳,这次就过了,弄到生病,需引以为鉴。


后記 Eiplogue
(published at an online forum originally on 1/7/2008)


其 后各篇我不敢怠慢,写得比较认真,每一贴都是几易其稿,在遣词造句上下了功夫,在描写各场比赛时争取做到不重复,重点刻划每一场的特点,笔调也力争做到生 动有趣,这样读者读来不觉枯燥。在写作过程中,因为是重现当时情景,让我不自觉地再度热血沸腾,竟出现深夜写完后无法入眠的情况。

在美国参 加这些比赛让我深深感到了中美两国在体育体制上的不同。中国更重视的是精英体育,金牌体育,好像运动员活着就是为了奥运会金牌,非奥运项目根本无人理睬。 普通老百姓看比赛的多,谈论的多,参与的少。中国的乒乓球世界第一,不但第一,而且比第二高出一个档次,但是到现在连个业余比赛积分制都没有,偶尔搞个业 余比赛打完前几轮剩下的都是专业队退下来的,让真正的业余选手感到索然无味。很明显中国乒协对业余大众一点都不重视。美国国家队的乒乓水平差,美国第一和 中国第一比,大概差四个档次,美国男子第一估计打不过中国女子第一。但是美国乒协很重视业余球手,积分赛制的推行极大地刺激了业余球手的兴趣。参赛时是人 人有希望,个个没把握,比赛充满了趣味性。比赛组委会也很有经验,像这次能把九百人参加的大赛组织得有条不紊,令人尊敬。这九百个人都是自掏腰包,从美国 各地赶到这里来比赛,像个一年一度的聚会,大家场上斗得你死我活,咬牙切齿,场下都成了朋友,输了的都会祝福赢了的越走越远。绝大多数人球德都很好,擦边 球都主动承认,即使是在最关键的时候。



Part V


U1500的决赛如期进行,对手是一个长相颇可爱像个大白兔的美国大男孩,亲友团成员有妈妈,阿姨和姐姐,还有一个穿着像专业人员身材魁梧的老美当 场外教练。我这边就我一个人,举着瓶Red Bull扛着个大包就来了。因为实在已经太晚,球友们都回去休息了。我也早习惯了单兵作战,这让我可以独立思考。美国大白兔积分1840,高出我一百,昨 天U1800进了四强,今天中午拿了U1600的亚军,决赛是败给了半决赛打败了我的那个越南小子。这回他又一次攀上了紫禁之巅决斗,自然是志在必得。他 右手执中国式直拍,正手弧圈加快攻,反手推挡加直拍横打,步法灵活,从他的出手可以看出基本功很好,手感细腻。事后知道他从小师从我中原武林一位高人,深 得中国直拍之精髓。现在在最重要的一仗前简单自我介绍一下,我右手执横拍,两面反胶,高中时受西域神人瓦尔德内尔影响,改直拍为横拍,但打法仍有直拍的影 子,不会连续拉弧圈,拉完一板就扣杀,站位近台,重视发球与前三板,相持差,没有步法,移动慢,但斗志顽强。两强相遇勇者胜,狭路相逢,讲究的是技术,经 验,体力,意志,精神状态,心理素质,运气等的综合实力,一些儿技术上的缺失,可以用其他方面补回来。经过半小时的调整,我的屁股不疼了,体力恢复了,精 神上兴奋了。一路闯上来不易,人生能有几回搏,自己给自己打打气。

因为是决赛,档次又上一级,一左一右配了两个穿正式服装的女裁判,都打了 领结,给足了我面子。场地是大厅里特别搭建的一个小厅,满城尽戴黄金甲,奥,不是,是满地尽铺红地毯,特高档硬泡沫有弹性防滑那种,平时供最高水平比赛使 用。这奢侈的排场,让我有点儿受宠若惊。猜完发球权后开打。第一局双方都在各自试探。大白兔喜欢侧身,一旦上手后攻势如滔滔江水般连绵不绝,失误少,练过 的都这样。我憋了一天的气,此战是毕其功于一役,自然不再吝惜体力,疯狂抢攻。双方都打出了一些高质量的球,这点看台上传出的掌声可以证明。比分一直交替 上升,关键时刻我把握住了几个机会,首局14:12苦战拿下。第二局步入我的轨道,我越战越勇,发挥得淋漓尽致,11:4拿下。有一个球堪称经典。我做出 发他反手底线长球的动作,他准备侧身用正手接发球抢攻,触球一刹那间我洞悉了他的意图,手腕突然变向一抖,球改成去他正手直线的奔球,球速很快,直接得 分。很有趣的样子,他往左边跑,球去他右边,因为重心已转移,他只能干瞪着眼看球落地而做不出任何动作。看台上报以热烈的掌声,看来都是懂球的人。这个球 的战略意义在于遏制他侧身进攻的企图,使他不敢贸然抢攻,并且让他知道我随时都有变化,从心理上摧毁他。局数2:0后金杯近在咫尺,我也蛮高兴的,脑子里 却开始有点保守了,想赶快拿下第三局,最好大白兔自己崩溃。我想到了club老大许诺的一个冠军可免费打球一年的奖励,想到了家人看到我捧杯而归的惊 喜。。。

乒乓球就这样,但凡有了私心杂念就完了。在我飘飘然的时候,大白兔的教练已经给他布署了精密的反攻计划。这点得承认,我这反手弧圈 一直不稳,这种漏洞在专业教练眼里是一览无余的。第三局大白兔放慢了进攻节奏,对我的反手,遏制我的正手,伺机突击,专业术语是“压反手吊正手”。这一招 像掐住了我的七寸,让我犹豫不决,出手不再果断。大白兔状态出来了,打得既准又狠,杀得我满地找牙,一下子打了我个8:0,真是给他点阳光他就灿烂。这局 没戏了,但绝不能被剃光头。顽强地抵抗了一下,2:11告负。这下局势又变得微妙起来。照这样下去,搞不好会被翻盘。拚吧。“play absolutely all out”,老印的话又在耳边响起。顶峰就在眼前,无论如何也要翻过去。

第四局我反控制他,正手短球之后搓反 手长球,他回球质量一差就义无反顾地进攻。当年江嘉良39届世乒赛决赛对瓦尔德内尔的关键一分就是这样打的。我不急,局数上我还领先。我跟他磨,缠着他, 他会比我急的。我又开始呐喊了,每拿一分都是喊声震天,这也吸引了一些个刚比赛完准备离开素不相识的球手为我加油。大白兔看上去神经绷得紧紧的,也是大喊 大叫为自己鼓劲减压,赛场里喊声此起彼伏。这一局的气氛过于紧张,大白兔的妈妈顶不住了,一个人躲到场外的一块帷幕后不敢看,只是偶尔探一下头。这一点为 人父母的一定有体会。其实不用看比分,听听是谁叫就知道是谁赢了一分。但是也有叫错的时候。有一球大白兔挡飞了,我看着球划了一道弧线奔界外而去,就大喊 了一声“耶”。没想到那球有内旋,落下时旋在了台边上,我忍不住大骂了一声”S-H-III-T”,裁判立刻给我亮了一张黄牌警告。

这一局 我俩都紧张但也很兴奋,打得都不错,命中率高,对攻回合多,蛮精彩的,好几球我是超水平发挥在多拍相持后拿下。10平后,我率先拿到赛点,也是冠军点, 11:10了。大白兔发球,抢攻,我挡住,他再拉,我再挡,变线,他猝不及防,回球偏软,我大力反抽一板,他挡球,出界。球出底线的瞬间我感觉时间仿佛停 止了,像Matrix里的子弹时间一样,我眼睁睁地看着球慢慢地撞上了我的球衣。我闭上眼,跪地一声闷喝,随后站起,双臂高举,用沙哑的嗓子长长地大吼一 声,其声震耳欲聋,响彻云霄,好像拿了奥运金牌一样。

Part IV


稍事休整,U1500第二轮开打。凭心而论,在这个级别我是有优势的。两百名参赛者中我是前面的几个,但是不是第一很难说。这样我也有压力,因为我 的对手都是放开了拼我,我反而缩手缩脚。碰上个老印,就是个爱搏杀的。常常一板爆扣,还能蒙上,前两局1:1。后来我的综合实力打出来后才赢了他。赛后我 才知道,他曾是U1400的冠军,有一定的实力。赛前他的教练观察过我,告诫老印要放掉包袱,原话是”play absolutely all out”,要不没有机会。这次交谈让我增强了自信,原来在相当一部分人心目中我也是个高手啊,我也是有很多优点的。又过了几关后,我渐渐地感到了体力上的 问题。我这样的进攻打法对体力的要求很高,会拉弧圈球的人都知道动作不协调的人拉弧圈球要用多大的力,而且我只会大力拉,不会像专业那样能控制中等力量 拉,要是每一分都攻我会累死的,体力下降后,精神也会不集中,失误会越来越多的。前面有些激情四射的比赛耗费了我大量的精力,每大吼一声其实也是能量的流 失。我现在的问题是要尽可能地用最少的力量去赢得比赛。比赛中我观察对手,爱进攻就让他攻,让他攻一些个他不习惯的位置,算准他进攻的落点,将球挡回他别 扭的地方。实在不行我再进攻解决他。加上进四强前没裁判盯着,我不用顾忌自己发球上的不标准,上旋下旋侧旋不转,就这样搞他们。就这样我进入了U1500 的半决赛。讲是这样讲,这样的算计也蛮耗神的,我疲惫不堪。半决赛定在几小时后的八点。U1900小组赛二十分钟后开始。

我翻出包里剩下的 那半个墨西哥东东,吃的时候想起了Red Bull.是时候用兴奋剂了。跑到场外一个Vending Machine,很好,有Red Bull.投钱,选Red Bull.靠,不动。拳打Vending Machine, 脚踢Vending Machine,皆纹丝不动。旁边一老美很仗义,也投钱,Vending Machine仍不动。两次测试结果吻合。不得以,退而求其次。喝咖啡。跑去Starbucks,关门了。我不禁仰天长啸,天要亡我我不得不从。我郁郁寡 欢地回到赛场。有句话是这么说的,当命运给你关上了一扇门的时候一定也给你开了一扇窗。这扇窗开在了场内一个卖Hot Dog的小摊上,我看见了Red Bull. 一问,还剩六瓶,我一气拿下。咕咚咕咚先灌了两瓶,然后把墨西哥东东啃完。

U1900开打,我看了一下同组的三个对手的身手, 实力大致在1700到1800,我有希望出线的。但是这个时候一定要分清主要矛盾和次要矛盾。今天要力保三小时后的U1500,U1900不能硬拼,能出 线就出线,不行就算了。喝完Red Bull,精神好一些,但腿脚还是像灌了铅一样。前两场我运气不错,都是3:0赢的。第三场对组内实力最强的一老美。此老美长相酷似网球名将莫亚,头上也 扎一带子。打法上是真把乒乓当成桌上网球来打,发球后就退台拉弧圈球,前后左右地跑,不断地拉,有充沛的体力。开打前我心算了一下,我只要赢一局,即使输 了也可以以小分出线。莫亚也拿这记分单看了半天,估计也在算着。比赛开始后,我打得很放松,赢了第一局。这样我一定出线了,但让我放弃余下的比赛输给他我 也不愿意,所以我就很放松地陪他玩。没想到莫亚还来真的了,越打越来劲,每个球都全力以赴,中远台弧圈一板接一板,没完没了。我真是烦他,但也不想放弃。 打到2:2后,大广播开始找我了,U1500半决赛时间到了。我赶紧让一个观众帮忙去主席台说一下,然后继续和莫亚耗。这场球用时近一小时,每一分都是多 个回合的较量,最后他3:2赢了,得胜后他非常兴奋,仰天怒吼,然后祝贺我出线。现在回想起来,这场球在整个战略上是错误的,由于自己一时的好胜心,在我 最需要速战速决的时候打了一场持久战,这给后来的比赛带来了负面的影响。

莫亚同志换了身衣服,祝福了我一下,就启程回旅馆了。我却得立即奔 赴下一个赛场,还要拚。当时我身心的疲惫已经到了很过分的程度,就是走路都拖着那样。拖过去后,发现一家子老中在等着。我的对手是一个小孩。这小孩也不简 单,刚刚拿下U1400的冠军。这些业余的比赛,刚开始第一轮几百人老胳膊老腿一大堆,到最后多半是小鬼当家。小孩的妈妈人很nice的样子,闲聊了几句 听得出是很想赢那样。比赛前他的教练也来了,摄像机也架上了,全副武装。开打后发现这小孩实力一般,一般情况下胜他没问题。但我累啊。第一局我10:6领 先竟然让小孩扳成10平,好在我紧要关头够冷静,12:10拿下第一局。之后就顺风顺水了。第二局轻松胜。第三局8:4领先。这时候意想不到的事发生了。 我拉了板弧圈,小孩下意识一挡,结果挡得很偏,出正手边线,我奋力扑救,没够到。没救到也就算了,但我突然感到右边臀部一阵触电般的巨痛,痛得我叫出声 来。长时间的疲劳导致大腿抽筋。没有疼到站不住,但是不能动,一动就疼。我一边揉着屁股,一边赶快想紧急对策。场边小孩的教练开始偷笑。动是不能动了,第 三局还剩三分,一定要拿下,否则越往后越糟,搞不好悲情收场就亏大了。这种时候只有靠发球了。我决定发强烈侧上旋出台长球给小孩正手,让他拉。他如果一时 调整不好角度很容易拉出界的。果然小孩经验还是差了一点,让我骗了两分。最后我拚尽全力拿下赛点,涉险过关。我赶紧坐下,屁股还真疼,不能用力,感觉好像 屁股上长了一根很粗很粗的筋。我一瘸一拐走到了主席台,跟裁判长解释了一下受伤的情况。裁判长说,如果不能打了可以选择弃权。放屁!我好端端的不在家里呆 着,为了一个烂奖杯,千里迢迢跑到这沙漠里吃不好睡不好受死老罪了才打进决赛。我????就是拄根拐杖也得把决赛打完。决赛按原定时间在晚九点开打。还有 半小时。我也不知道还能干什么,就是喝Red Bull,然后揉屁股。

这时我的贵人来了,一个球友知道这个情况后,给了我一瓶跌打损伤油。 我如获至宝,躲进厕所,褪下裤子,往右屁股狂抹了半瓶油,抹了又擦,擦了又抹,只觉得屁股火辣辣的,很神奇,屁股好像渐渐不疼了。出了厕所,我神清气爽, 找了个位子坐下,深呼吸了两口,然后开始用清洁剂轻轻地抹去拍子上的一些打球时粘住的灰尘,就像一个英勇的战士擦拭着自己的钢枪,在硝烟暂褪的战壕里静静 地等待着黎明拂晓前敌人的最后一次进攻。


Part III


U1500第一场的对手较弱,就当热身了。第二场对一华裔女孩,场外坐着位凶神恶煞般的老中教练,不知道是不是父女。女孩的基本功不错,步伐快,打 得很好看的。但我也不是吃素的。比赛很激烈,那个老中教练素质一般,一脸凶样不说,还经常大骂这个女孩“怎么乱打“。我想,我应该全是乱打吧,幸亏他不是 我教练。女孩子的脸色有点不对,慢慢就输了。赛后我和她握了握手,然后说了一些鼓励的话,她眼眶一红,眼泪夺眶而出。我再看那教练,居然自己走了。什么人 都有。U1500的小组赛过了后,就是中午的U1600的半决赛了。我出去买了个pizza。我不爱吃这些东西,忍着吃,体力重要啊。

十二 点,半决赛准时开始。对手是个看上去很瘦弱的越南少年,后面跟了一庞大亲友团,有教练,父母,兄弟姐妹,一大堆人。我一看积分,1828。这次比赛采用的 是今年九月的积分作为报名积分,所以很多人都是压低分来比赛的。这小孩的风格酷似孔令辉,正手弧圈球奇稳,八板之内无非受迫性失误。步伐很快,侧身快,攻 球角度刁。客观上说,我各方面都比不上他,除了他的防守不行。但是我也是一轮轮打上来的,此时不拼,更待何时。因为是半决赛,比赛比较正规,有裁判员,他 报分。比赛刚开始,他就叫了我一个发球警告。像我等草莽,哪里知道发球的这许多条条框框。裁判给我解释了一下,抛球时球要放在手心,手掌摊平。这可苦了 我,球放在平摊的手心就乱滚,抛球就抛不直。因为这样,我最好的技术-发球就大打了折扣。第一局异常艰苦,虽然我是下风,但我打得很顽强,反正是拼了。好 多球都是他攻我硬扛,多扛一板就多一分希望。他打得太积极了,发球抢攻,接发球也抢攻。我的步法太差,没法子跟他抢,但我硬撑。可是他打得是真好,好几次 他连续拉个七八板把我打死,我都忍不住想为他鼓掌。这时的我拚命找他的弱点,好像还真没有。看来就是意志了。每拿一分,我都握紧拳头,大喊一声为自己加 油,就是马琳那样的大吼,而且表情极度凶恶,面目狰狞,恶狠狠地怒视,给小孩一点压力嘛。比赛被我拖进了deuce 一直到13:13。这时我想用个怪发球,此发球乃我自己发明的,平时用的效果不错,但还不熟练。先要做一个假动作,触球后再做一个假动作,一般人第一次接 必死。想好了就发,球刚发出,裁判大叫一声“fault”,然后给那越南少年翻了一分。妈的,我出离愤怒了。刚刚想着假动作的事,手没放平,握着球了。很 快我冷静下来,是我错了,平时从不注意这些细节,这次就算交学费了。之后那小孩又是一轮连续攻,把第一局拿下了。局间休息时,我认真地思考着当时的处境, 正手是扛不住了,拚反手。愿望是美好的。第二局我死打他反手,结果发现他的反手也了得,几次反手相持都是我输。而且他反手加力推一板后能迅速侧身改用正手 攻,这都是我心有余而力不足梦寐以求的技术啊。万般无奈之下,我启动反手弧圈球。但这平时时灵时不灵的东东关键时刻真是派不上用场。反手拉了几把都拉空 了。还是定下心来死挡吧。我开始拖时间,慢慢拣球,擦擦汗,盼望他的手随着时间流逝能冷一些。第二局又拖进了deuce.13:13.丫的,这小子毫不手 软,板板命中,15:13,又让他赢了一局。什么是过硬的正手,这就是,关键时刻敢发力,敢上手,还不失误。第三局这小子越打越猛,11:5把我收拾了。 我失望地整理了一下,正准备离开赛场,裁判把我叫住,郑重地授予我一面光荣的证书和一块铜牌。嗨,差点把奖牌忘了。后来的决赛,这越南小子一鼓做气,夺得 了U1600的冠军。最后一天,他还拿下了U1700的冠军,成为了这届唯一的双冠王,确有相当的实力。此乃后话,暂且不表。客观地总结一下,这场半决赛 我打得很好,意志顽强,但技不如人,关键时刻拿不下来,加上临时改变发球习惯,丧失了部分战斗力。对手训练有素,基本功非常扎实,假以时日,必成大器,此 非我辈业余所能奢望也。

今天的赛程可谓魔鬼赛程。战完U1600,下午还有U1500淘汰赛,晚上是U1900。整个战事过半,根据当时的 情况,夺冠就在U1500了。乘着U1500还没开始,我买了个墨西哥的什么东西,就是一块面饼包着一堆肉和菜的,吃了一半吃不下去,塞进包里。顺便说一 下,这拉斯韦加斯的沙漠气候真干,我一直喝水,可还是起了一嘴的皮,一撕一片血。不经意间,右手的手背也已经开裂,出了好几道血口子,又痒又疼。还是没大 赛经验,对这些事都没准备。


Part II


九点正,U1800的小组比赛开始。我明显感到手紧,正手弧圈球频频拉飞,反手快弹也是下网多。这次的状态真差。好在我的防守还行,再加上对手吃我 的发球,我勉勉强强胜了第一场。第二场对一姿势难看积分很低的纽约老美,我还是找不到状态。凭良心讲,这老美打得不错,能搓出转与不转,偶尔还能冲一板弧 圈,场外也有指导。关键时刻,老美吃了我几个发球,接得老高,但落下时都擦了边。看来我运气很糟。这一场我输了。最后一场我打得比较放松,赢得顺利。老美 还是底气差了点,后来关键一场2:3输了。小组出现连环套,算完小分我幸运出线了。大难不死,本应必有后福。第二轮淘汰赛我碰上一俄罗斯强人,靠,缠了两 腿的绷带,或者是护膝。一交手,我就知道惨了。这厮居然会反手台内拧,正反手弧圈都有一定质量,动作标准,连续拉三板以上不失误,发球还会逆旋转。这么高 的技术含量,绝对有受过专业训练。我发长球他拉,发短球他拧,我挡一板他再拉一板。我拉的弧圈他挡过来有明显的飘动,我都找不着点。这是一场完败,我输得 心服口服。奇怪的是,第二天我查比赛结果时发现这强人杀进前几强后竟输给我感觉比较差的一个手下败将,业余的比赛真让人不可思议,一物降一物吧。

下 午,U1600的小组赛开始了。这次要好好把握了。我的状态有回升,主要表现在正手的火力趋于稳定。但是不知道是因为我的原因,还是对手不弱,每一场都是 磕磕碰碰,没有那种酣畅淋漓的大胜。好歹没失手,过了小组赛。第二轮碰上一美国小伙子,此人球德有点问题,好几次明明我把球打死了,他楞是说旁边赛场的球 干扰不算。有一次很明显他没接着球,然后邻赛场的球落在身后老远的位置,他硬说不算。我没跟他计较,因为觉得我必胜,结果也是我2:0领先了。但第三局开 始后,此人改变策略,退至中远台拉弧圈,他有如神助,屡屡拉出速度旋转俱佳的球,连拿两局11:2,11:3。乘着换边的间隙,我快速地想各种策略。决胜 局,我不断地变发球,他也仿佛回到人间,失误多起来了。我有惊无险地拿下了第五局。

后来又过了几轮,四分之一决赛对一老美。打起来才知道是 个削球手。我暗暗叫苦,从没打过削球的。还好,业余削球失误多,不过我拉的弧圈球一旦被他削回来,球那个转啊,只敢轻搓一下。前两局我2:0领先。又是第 三局,我感觉好像炮台歪了,怎么都拉不上,被他扳了一局。第四局很紧张,我莫名其妙地吃发球。他改到正手位发球至我的正手不出台,发球手法有点怪,我无法 判断旋转。他还真能用相似动作发出下旋和上旋。比分交替上升一直到了deuce.我先发球,我定了定神,发球后抢攻他反手,得分。赛点,他发球,又是正手 球。考虑到他进攻不行,我想保守点,轻搓一下,没想到是上旋,球直飞出界。11:11。我发了突然的不转长球去他的反手,他没对上。又到了我的赛点。他还 发正手球,同样是这样在空中划了一下子,我认为是下旋球,轻搓一下。靠,又是上旋,球又飞了。12:12。紧张了。我发了下旋短球,他搓回,我也搓,然后 找准机会一板弧,他削飞。我大吼一声,这时候太需要自信了。他还是这个发球,我小心翼翼地很轻很轻地一搓,靠,又飞了。13:13。看台上有人爆笑。上 旋,都是上旋。我稳定了一下情绪,正手弧又拿一分。他还是这样发,妈的,我打了一板,他勉强挡回了个高球,落在我球台白线附近,我大力杀,靠,下网。 14:14。我无奈地笑了笑。再来,又是一个正手弧接扣杀,再拿一分。正手进攻挣气啊,关键时刻全靠它顶着。他又是一样的发球,此时的我完全无法看出旋 转,凭猜的。刚刚我打了他一板,他该改下旋了吧。我轻轻轻轻地搓了一板,靠,出界。15:15。看台爆笑。我整个儿脑子不转了。能做的就是保住我的发球, 接发球看运气了。这时我的正手弧圈保持了惊人的稳定性,又干下一分。妈的,我还真不敢干净利落地打一板接发球。赌下旋,又接出界了。16:16。业余,真 正的业余。这是命吗。从打球至今,没把球接成这样的。正手弧,再来一把吧,中了。我也牛,10平后,弧圈把把命中,这也不常见。旁边的一球友实在看不下去 了,叫了个暂停。他让我击球侧面,这样即使判断错了,也不至于将球接出界。但我不会击球的侧面,没这技术储备,何况还是正手台内球。硬着头皮我又回到球台 边。他可能以为通过球友指导我就会接这个发球了,竟然换了一种发球发到我反手。这次是清清楚楚的下旋,我稳稳地搓回,找好机会,一板爆冲18:16结束了 战斗。比赛结束后,我很感谢球友的那次暂停,对我没什么用,但把对手蒙了。这天所有的比赛就结束了。十场八胜二负,马马虎虎。

回到旅馆,我 感觉蛮累的,但精神不错。第二天U1500 和 U1900的小组赛就要开始了,U1500可是我最有希望的夺金点了,还有U1600的半决赛,会是很充实的一天。但我实在不喜欢这旅馆的毯子,怎么也睡 不着。而且这里的空气极为干躁,呼吸不爽。折腾着进入浅睡眠后,闹钟响了。五点半,老婆孩子起床去大峡谷Bus Tour。六点,她们出了门。我又把闹钟设到七点十分,九点比赛开始。仔细检查闹钟的设置,一切正确。然后躺倒。不知过了多久,我迷迷糊糊听到走廊上有人 说话的声音。正想翻个儿身继续睡,突然一想七点前怎么就这么吵。起身一看,靠,八点三十三!!吓得我一身冷汗。再次检查闹钟,是定的七点十分,但是没开。 有鬼吗?没时间细想,抓了一袋面包两瓶水,就飞跑出门。路上干掉了两块面包,真他妈难吃。到了场地,U1500的比赛已经开始了。


An Excellent US Nationals Write up - Part I




但是最近一年情况有改变,一是我发现网上有很多乒乓球文章和录像,这让我的理论水平有了很大提高。为了弄清为什么球的弧线会弯曲,我还小研究了一下伯努利定律。二是发现美国的积分分级赛制原来很鼓励我这样的纯业余。每个参加比赛的人都有一个rating分数,代表了他当前的水平,这样就把人分成了若干类。分级赛比如说Under 2000,那就是说 只有积分低于2000的人才能有资格参加。这样每个参赛的人无论水平高低都有夺冠的可能, 水平差的可以打低级分的。三是我越来越觉得一些发自内心的爱好可以抵消掉很多人生中的不爽,让人活得快乐一点。四是打球对健康有好处,常打球后身上肥肉少 了很多,就是右臂变得明显比左臂粗。五也是最重要的一点是有个club里的人很友好,高手有时还愿意指点一下。于是我知道了碳素板,长胶的性能,以及为什 么有人打球前会抱着桶胶水走来走去。我开始打club league,开始穿短裤球衣,开始穿乒乓球鞋(以前是皮鞋或拖鞋),开始尝试器材。我的打法也趋于稳定,横板快攻结合弧圈。听上去不错,打起来几乎是下 网结合出界。

终于我开始正式参加美国乒协的积分赛了。第一次我是早早被淘汰了,积分定在1400。第二次打进了半决赛,半决赛的球打得令人 窒息,我清晰地听见了自己的心跳。2:3我输了。我太想拿一个冠军了。看来一定要有高一个Level的实力才能拿低一个Level的冠军。第三次打 Under 1450,我一路苦战杀进决赛。对手是一个高中生样子的男孩,后面有一个老头作场外指导,还架了台摄像机,还有一堆人坐后面,穿着同样的队服。比赛打得很 激烈,前两局我都输了,但差距不大。男孩会连续攻,中远台也不错。第三局我开始频频抢攻,居然扳回一局。然后老头站起来了,低着头更男孩说了一堆话。第四 局男孩又把我制住了。亚军,又一次与冠军失之交臂。经过这几次比赛我积累了一些经验,能够克服紧张的情绪,基本能正常发挥水平。终于在第四次参赛的时候拿 到了一个Under 1500的冠军。拿着生平第一个冠军,心情是何等的激动啊!水平提高得不算快,但是一直有涨,动作依然难看,但有时也能啃下一两个2000的高手。第五 次,我参加了湾区最大规模的一次比赛,在近两百个参赛者中脱颖而出,经过七轮大战,从早晨打到晚上,意外地夺得了Under 1850的冠军。那天的状态真的很好,打出了很多漂亮的球,气势如虹,势不可挡,整个人处在一种极其亢奋的状态。之后的几天我就像泄了气的皮球一样,疲惫 不堪。这次夺冠让我信心爆棚,站在球场上,没有强弱,只有胜负,每场球我都会投入最大的努力。对于我这样没有天赋没有系统训练的业余球手,比赛的时候那就 一个字,拚。

积累了这些比赛经验后,我报名参加了2007年美国全国锦标赛US Nationals.一开始有点犹豫,因为有旅途的问题。我还从没有去外地打过比赛。但这次老婆出乎我意外地支持,我想也好,她们在拉斯维加斯玩,我打我 的球,当一次全家旅游。于是我报了1500,U1600,U1700,U1800,U1900 5项比赛。

12月19日,全家开赴赌城。 由于启用GPS系统时用的是shortest distance, GPS选了很多local的路,七绕八绕上高速下高速,折腾到晚上才到。找到旅馆,吃完饭,已经很晚了,就赶快睡下了。不知道是认床还是紧张,一直睡不 着。好不容易迷迷糊糊着了,半夜突然听到滴滴滴滴的倒车声,妈的炒死了。一直在倒车。就这样折腾到天亮。我起来到处找哪来的声音,贴在墙上听。靠,是隔壁 的强力闹钟闹了一夜。

按平时的经验,休息不好多半打不好球。但是现在也没办法了,箭在弦上,不得不发。于是下楼吃了早饭,换了套stiga 的运动服,出发。走进赛场,那个大啊,一百多张崭新的蓝色的球台,就像一片无边无际蓝色的海洋。九百参赛球手男女老幼,各个年龄各个种族都有,各路英雄豪 杰,水平也是参差不齐,最牛的男有前南斯拉夫的卢普莱斯库,就是当年常和普里莫拉茨配对打双打的那位,现在美国混着,女有中国的王晨,进过2007世乒赛 八强,最弱的看来在各基层县也算牛人。还有一批青少年选手,有教练带队,小孩的动作真是漂亮,与我有天壤之别。无意中还看到了老世界冠军梁戈亮老前辈,他 好像是参加的老年组比赛,削中反攻,削得稳,攻得凶,我要是能和他打一局就好了。看球的时候,突然旁边有个老中对我说了一句“像你们在国内练了那么多 年。。。”,我愣了半天没反应过来,他竟把我当成专业队的了。看来穿了这身乒乓服,就能在运动员中滥竽充数了。双兔傍地走,安能辨我是雌雄。


1/5/2008 Weblog Update

  • This week's RR was probably one of the strongest, if not the strongest, in the MSC history. Nine players' USATT rating were over 2000. The average rating for table one was 2270!
  • 1/5 RR: (complete result)
    1. Truong Tu
    2. Voltaire Benedicto - VB passed the test by winning the table undefeated. Excellent job! However, I overheard from some dubious spectators saying the result could have something to do with Gary, Brian, and Sammy's absence.:-) I didn't believe it though.
    3. Barry Or - winning without losing a game!
    4. Ali Shafai
    5. Claire Yeh - winning without losing a game!
  • Congratulations to all winners. 7563 matches have been played since the League started in 2003.
  • 1/12/08 RR is full. Please email me at to sign up for the 1/19 RR. Just email to me is sufficient, no need to email to the whole group. Thanks.
  • Financial position:
    $33: RR
    Expense: $0
    Balance: $7,447.57

Rating Jump After the Nationals

Good job!

  • Omkar Raje: 945 -> 1352, +407
  • Kanak Jha: 802 -> 1162, +360
  • Erica Tran: 1283 -> 1595, +312
  • Matthew Tran: 813 -> 985, +172
  • Ali shafai: 1648 -> 1783, +135
  • Natalie Sun: 1798 -> 1931, +133
  • Prachi Jha: 1490 -> 1620, +130
  • Dan Lin: 1877 -> 2000, +123
  • Fernando Chang: 2069 -> 2188, +119
  • Q: 1701 -> 1785, 84
  • Claire Yeh: 1266 -> 1349, +83
  • Johnny Huang: 1990 -> 2069, +79

ICC California State Open Videos/Slideshows

Chen Longcan and Xiao Wei Footage