There are very few sports which you can minimize to fit the playing field on a table-sized object. Air hockey is certainly a valiant attempt, but some of the subtleties of hockey are lost in this scope. Perhaps the only sport that has accomplished a seamless shrink job is table tennis, aka ping pong, aka analog pong. In celebration of this achievement, we’re serving up some ping pong tattoos.
Table tennis traces its official origins to Victorian England, where it was enjoyed as parlor game. Likely, the game was invented by bored British troops in India and brought back to the motherland. The game enjoyed increased popularity in the 20th century and by 1988 had become and Olympic sport.
I recently spent a week staying in Japanese hotels. At night I’d unwind with some television. Japanese TV is wacky beyond belief, and sometimes I just wanted to lay my eyes on something I understood. So, I ended up watching a large portion of this year’s World Championship Table Tennis Tournament.
The thing that struck me most about modern day competitive ping pong is the beastly psychological warfare that occurs in the serves. Time and time again I was gobsmacked by the distraction and sleight of hand involved in beginning a service. Instead of trying to put these deceptions involving a little white ball into words, I’ll just link you to this video. It’s like psych outs taken to the next level and then taken yet another level beyond that.
This sort of play was leagues away from any of the ping pong I had ever played in my life. Even though I don’t really consider myself an avid table tennis player, watching these pros just made me feel inadequate in a way that I’ve never known.
Let us celebrate another one of my shortcomings with tattoos. This time it’s ping pong tattoos. Or table tennis tattoos, if you will. All of these examples really capture the innocent fun of the game. A game that as it turns out, none of us are actually any good at.