California All-Star League
by California Table Tennis
Thursday, September 22, 2005
The rule changes by the ITTF have made table tennis a more exciting and spectator-friendly sport. Spectators love counterlooping and fishing and away from the table play and we introduced another rule change to see if it could be incorporated into the league next year. Rubber mats were placed three feet behind the table and two feet to the sides of the table where both players could step on the mats but not go past them. Three matches in the All-Star Game of the TMS International Semester Smash league were played with this "future" format. The top ten players in the league from Northern California participated in this all-star game event, split into North Bay and South Bay Teams with five players on each team.
THE RULE CHANGE
The average American Joe does not understand the short game, the spins, the serves, or the receives. However, the average American loves to see away from the table play and this league intends to appeal to the mainstream American public. Thus the 3 feet/2 feet rule was introduced. If this league is to have thousands of fans at matches, something must be done to encourage away from the table play. Unfortunately, the rallies produced were not as spectacular as desired and the reaction of the players was not positive. However, the players served with sidespin/underspin serves and the rallies started with very slow paced balls which destroyed the intention of this rule change. A change to the service rule where players must stand many feet away from the table and serve an underhand badminton-type serve is likely what could fix this problem. Our goal is to have two matches in each league match next year played with these "future" rules. That way, a pips-out penholder who would have little chance to win away from the table, could still play his matches regular and the variety of styles that is great about table-tennis could still be preserved.
APPEALING TO THE MAINSTREAM AMERICAN PUBLIC
THE NBA! Yes, we must get this league affiliated with the NBA with the Chicago Bulls table-tennis team playing the Indiana Pacers table-tennis team. How can this be done? Luckily, NBA Commissioner David Stern and six US Dream Team basketball members have come to watch table-tennis at the Olympics so they have interest in the sport. We plan on having a celebrity charity table-tennis event at the India Community Center to benefit tsunami relief next year and close to 100 celebrities, including David Stern, will be invited. Tiger Woods, Andy Roddick, NBA stars Reggie Miller, Jason Kidd, Ray Allen, Academy Award Winner Jamie Foxx, singer Christina Aguilera, actresses Kirsten Dunst and Drew Barrymore and many more big names will be invited. All the mentioned names consider table-tennis as one of their main activities. NBA Commissioner David Stern has said that China will be the biggest market for the NBA in the future. What better way to increase NBA appeal and increase revenue for the NBA than to have a NBA-affiliated table-tennis league to appeal to the Chinese market where table-tennis is the national sport? We also have other ideas on how to get some of the world's richest men be more involved in our sport so let's cross our fingers that this league will meet its lofty goals.
Until next time, here's to table-tennis!
Our league website is www.californiatabletennis.com
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