Monday, May 21, 2012

Small worlds

I've talked about taking table tennis coaching lessons with Crystal Huang at LATTA before, see - for example - prior posts too many degrees of freedom and structural reform.

Just this weekend I was in Shenzhen and visited a small-ish ping pong club that I've never visited before, called 大家乐乒乓球馆 (see picture above). It's a bit hard to find, being on the 3rd floor of a building behind another building, and co-located with a badminton club next door.

I took lessons on both Saturday and Sunday with coach Huang Lin Ling (黄琳玲) who co-owns this club.

At 100 yuan per hour, she is a more expensive and higher level player than any coach I've taken a lesson from before. She is a two-winged looper - backhand and forehand - and has a wicked backhand serve. Doesn't matter what you do or where you place the ball, she will loop it with devastating power from either side. (She was on the Chinese national team at the 2nd team level.)

Anyway, she was asking about how I got coaching in the US, and I mentioned my coach was also called Huang, Crystal Huang. But I didn't know Crystal's chinese first name. I said Crystal represented the USA at the Beijing Olympics.

Huang Lin Ling then proceeded to describe Crystal down to a tee, including forehand rubber choice. I was amazed. Turns out they were both of the same generation and teammates at the provincial level in Hunan (湖南). They knew each other well. Crystal emigrated to the USA as a teenager. Huang Lin Ling went on to the Chinese national team. It's really such a small world!

As I mentioned above, the club is rather small. It has two "wings". One contains a row of tables:

The other wing contains 5 individually barriered courts:

Although it's smaller than the South China club (世纪南华乒乓球俱乐部), see post here that my friend Liang Liung first introduced me to way back in 2009, the air-conditioning at this smaller club is much better, a major consideration given the heat and humidity of southern China in summer.

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