What connects cigar boxes and piles of books with an indoor game that became an Olympic sport in 1988? The answer could be found in 19th century upper-class homes, where these unlikely objects served as ‘paddles’ and ‘nets’, providing a welcome, after-dinner diversion, affectionately called Ping Pong.
The first active table-top game, using conventional paddles and net, was invented and patented in England in July 1890 by David Foster. Sometimes called Ping Pong, occasionally called Whiff-Waff, the game’s popularity waxed and waned, but had reached most continents by the 1920s.
Its fortunes changed for the better in 1923, when Ivor Montagu, son of a Liberal peer, enthusiastically promoted it as ‘Table Tennis’, founded the English Table Tennis Association and wrote and published the rules.
It’s now the most played racquet sport in the world. Rotherham u3a in partnership with Rotherham United Community Sports Trust (RUCST) aims to increase those numbers by holding weekly games of mixed table tennis for players of any age or ability, who are no longer in full-time work. The venue is New York Stadium; start date and timing to be confirmed.
Equipment and a qualified coach will be provided by RUCST. All that’s needed is loose, comfortable clothing, trainers and weekly subs (£2.50) to pay for room hire. If group numbers reach ten or more, players can continue playing with the u3a, which will take over room hire charges for 30 weeks each year.
Playing table tennis improves physical and mental wellbeing, is easy on the joints, burns calories and provides a welcome social outlet. Interested? Keep on your toes!
Contact Mike Willoughby on 07908 956687 or via www.u3asites.org.uk/rotherham.