Wednesday, January 30, 2013

P is for pīng pāng 乒乓

What's China's national sport? It's ping-pong! The English word actually comes from its Chinese pronunciation, ping pang. But Chinese didn't invent ping-pong. The game was invented first by an English man when he introduced the first action game of tennis on a table in 1890.
Why does China dominates ping-pong? I showed kids some photoes and they can see how popular ping pong is in a country of 1.3 billion people. It's a cheap sport, doesn't take a lot of space, and everyone plays it.
 In the rural areas, there are rows of concrete ping pong tables with a concrete "net" in schools and parks.
 In cities, there are indoor ping-pong stadiums and ping-ping sports schools. 
We watched the video of China's national team winning the champion in 2012 London Olympics. They are amazed at how fast a ping-pong ball can go. Then we talked about some basic rules of ping-pong and we tried it! 
We started from walking with the ball on the paddle, then walking while bouncing the ball on the paddle. They feel it hard to bounce such a small ball. Then two kids at a time tried it with the dinning table and a "net" in the middle.
Personally, I really enjoy ping-pong with my kids. It doesn't need a big space and offers entertainment and good exercise. The risk of injury is low and the intensity is manageable. I would love to see some day schools here can be equipped with ping-pong tables for kids!

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