Table Tennis: Sport or Not?
Table tennis, commonly called Ping-Pong, many players have debated whether it’s a sport or just another lazy competition one might play on a Saturday night. According to the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), it is much more than a game. The ITTF is a committed organization which not only treats table tennis as a sport, but has also determined the difference between table tennis and ping pong.
Some may argue that table tennis and ping pong are the same thing. Although by definition it is still the same activity. Table tennis is the formal name for it when taken as a sport while ping pong is what one might play at their friend’s house.
There are many different types of competitions table tennis is featured in, ranging from school tournaments to national leagues to the Olympics. The Olympics is the only competition where the players travel internationally to play with other countries. Since table tennis can be categorized in the Olympics, it may be easier to consider it a sport.
In a survey of 100 students at Woodside, approximately 97% say that it is a sport. Although it has a low demand of athletic training, it still does have certain benefits from training and practice. “Table Tennis is one of the most challenging sports because of its demand for quick hand-eye coordination and endurance as well as speed. The training that is used to exercise the players are not laps around a track but just rallying the ball back and forth and getting gradually faster. This teaches them not only to be familiar with how to hit the ball but also to predict the ball’s movements,” says Jason Patricson, a representative for the ITTF.
Since hand-eye coordination and endurance are the only physical aspects that table tennis offers it may make it seem less like a sport. Although that idea is plausible, not all sports require such a demand for a quick eye and endurance. Running across a 100 yard field is demanding, yet running back and forth between 4 feet every 3 seconds takes much more endurance.
Woodside’s Sports Administrator, Alvaro Calderon, like others, agreed that “table tennis is a sport. As far as getting it to become one played here at Woodside though is a little more complicated. Because of all the other sports table tennis might steal some players from other sports and funding needed to start a team is again a little too complicated,” Calderon states.
Table tennis is a sport, why? “I don’t know but it has athletic demands so I suppose its a sport,” said Eric Tam, a casual player. He says that he only plays table tennis for fun with his friends and as for competition, “I don’t think we need to make it a national competition, only because I’m competitive enough already.”
Table Tennis is not like football or basketball, especially in popularity. “It doesn’t have the intense action or adrenaline rush like watching or even playing football or baseball,” Karolaine Makasini, one of the many random interviewees, said.
Much like lacrosse and badminton, table tennis is not a common everyday sport that everyone plays or watches, but it is rising from the unknown and is being accepted all around the world as a legitimate sport. Because table tennis started out not well known by the public, one might not understand what a player must go through to become better and more experienced.
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