Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Table Tennis in the Olympics

This isn't a usual IBS - Boy blog entry, but I feel like I need to get this out on the internet someway. For some of you who don't know, table tennis is my favorite sport in the entire world. Well, let's just say that I have been disgusted with the television organizers for not televising table tennis enough.

I made it very clear in this post.

              With the London Olympics in our midsts, many people will tune in to their televisions to watch events that they are probably not used to watching. Some crowd pleasures include: the javelin throw, weightlifting, wrestling, gymnastics, swimming, and the discus throw. However, caught in the middle of the Olympiad madness is the sixth most popular sport in the world: table tennis.  

            “Table what?” you may say. The sport - commonly known as ping-pong – receives little to no accreditation that it is, in fact, a real athletic discipline. In America and most surrounding countries, table tennis is regarded as a recreational sport with little to no competitiveness involved. Even in the Olympic Games, people consider this sport a joke – including NBC, the channel responsible for televising the Games of the XXX Olympiad. I was mortified to find out that the men’s finals of table tennis were only televised for twenty minutes, whereas synchronized swimming was televised for two solid hours.

            Why is this? Do people truly not realize the validity behind the sport of table tennis? Do they construe the sport as a fun pastime, but nothing more than that? These posed questions will never be answered by the Olympic organizers; because I am sure they have a lot more important things to do. Like, for instance, watch two hours of synchronized swimming. 

            Although the above questions go unanswered, there are a few more I can still ask. What is it about the sport of table tennis that makes you consider it non athletic? Is it the men running up and down the gymnasium at rapid speed, flailing their arms in attempts to spike a ball fifty miles per hour in a court that is four feet wide and four feet long from thirty feet away while diving on the floor returning a smash? If that is the reason, you need to strongly reconsider your definition of “athletic.” Most sports, if not all sports televised during the Olympics, simply cannot rival the fierce and competitive nature that table tennis is. 

            Not to bring different race’s into the mix here, but isn’t it always stereotyped that Asians rise to the challenge and dominate everything they attempt to do in life? Well, if that is the case, then why aren’t we watching them dominate table tennis? Are we too proud a nation to concede defeat to the Asians in just this one discipline? But, let’s be honest, if there was an American male in the table tennis finals, we’d be watching a lot more of the sport on television. Would it make primetime? No; but it would be televised. It still probably wouldn’t be on the air as much as synchronized swimming, however. 

            In the end then, no one can dispute the claim that table tennis is athletic. If a person claims that table tennis requires no athletic ability, then I strongly suggest they pick up a paddle and try to play it themselves. They may be in for a shock.

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