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The Lighter Side of the World Veteran Championships

By Larry Hodges | June 21, 2018, 7:12 p.m. (ET)

When you get 5000 seniors together there's going to be a lot of senior jokes. Let's look at some of the funny or interesting things at the World Veterans.

  1. We already wrote about How The Mighty Fall and Rise: The Tumbles of Dave Sakai

  2. USATT Media & Communications Director Matt Hetherington stuck $20 in a slot machine on Wednesday night. He won $2000. (He treated me to an Aquafina water.) Here's a picture of all that moola! (Here's the non-Facebook version.)

  3. At the Paddle Palace booth this morning they've had two robots shooting balls back and forth all morning, with a robot on each end recycling the balls shot from the other.

  4. At the Huntsman World Senior Games booth they have a putt-putt hole set up. If you make two out of three putts, you get a free t-shirt! (Seems like every top table tennis player is a golfer.)

  5. During the JOOLA serving seminar on Wednesday, Rosskopf said he's scouting here for players to join Dimitrij Ovtcharov and Timo Boll on the German team.

  6. There are some famous people here. We already wrote about Olympic Gold Medalist runner Peter Snell. Actor Adoni Maropis is playing - he's rated 2103 despite playing with a hardbat. Famed calligrapher Julian Waters is playing - I was his first coach (he's been over 2000), and yet, here we are at Day Four, and while I know he's here, I haven't seen him yet. (That's what happens when you have this many people in a hall this big.)

  7. I learned from Stellan Bengtsson what really happened in 1988 when Korea swept gold (Yoo Nam Kyu) and silver (Kim Ki-Taik) in Men's Singles at the Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. The home field advantage helped, but the key was they used Korean Peace balls, which were lighter and slower than others were used to, while the Koreans were used to them!

  8. Now the sad news that brings a tear to my eye - my books were on sale at the Butterfly booth, but my two best sellers, Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers and Table Tennis Tips, both sold out on Sunday, the night before the tournament began!!! So 5000 elderly people are here, including generations that actually read a lot, and they can't buy them. Dang!!!