Ping Pong is Dying, Let’s Save It

Eachgame has its original, diversion evolving minute, when new strategies or innovation achieves a transformation in play.

Tony Ettinger, chief of Table Tennis Nation, plays at SPIN in Manhattan with an unique sandpaper-confronted oar, not the same as the wipe confronted oars utilized within generally rivalries. Adrienne Grunwald for The Wall Street Journal

Rec-room antiquarians adoration to tell the story of Marty Reisman, the thin Jewish kid from Manhattan's Lower East Side who entered that year's Table Tennis World Championships in Bombay as the leader. Remaining in Reisman's direction was the minimal known Japanese player Hiroji Satoh, who utilized a strange oar formed with springy elastic on each one side. Not at all like the hard oars of the day, the wipe permitted Satoh to control the ball with horrible twists, flummoxing his rivals. With his playing point, Satoh helpfully beat Reisman in transit to the world title.

A portion of the oars Adrienne Grunwald for The Wall Street Journal

Reisman declined to advance. His showy style and hawker persona made him America's premier ping pong identity, and he utilized his superstar to advertise "hardbat" rivalries, which banned wipe paddles for old fashioned oars, which have a slender layer of elastic on the surface. Until his demise in December at age 82, Reisman would tell anybody inside earshot why hardbat was better than wipe.

"On the off chance that you kicked Marty off on hardbat versus wipe, he'd converse with all of you night, possibly until 2 a.m.," said Dean Johnson, Reisman's long-term companion and part of the Table Tennis Hall of Fame. "That was his life. He truly loathed wipe."

Anyway Babuin accepts the sandpaper rivalries could help bring more recreational members further into the game. A detail frequently rehashed by table tennis devotees holds that 20 million Americans play recreational table tennis every year. USA Table Tennis, by differentiation, has a participation of 9,000.

"We have to create a grass-roots level," Babuin said. "As I would see it, there is no better approach to bring individuals into the game than with a sandpaper paddle."

Sandpaper's annihilation by wipe baffled Reisman for a considerable length of time, said Johnson, who is composing a book on the historical backdrop of American table tennis from

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