Marty Reisman, table-tennis champion, dies at 82.
December 8, 2012 12:58 PM   Subscribe

Following the slope formula of a morbid turn of mind is not the only reason to orbit the obits. Every now and then, the reading's well worthwhile! Marty Reisman, 82, a Wizard of Table Tennis, Dies.
posted by 0rison (9 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Reisman playing in 1949
Reisman playing in 2010

____I____ .
posted by chavenet at 1:09 PM on December 8, 2012 [3 favorites]

"he came to the sport after a nervous breakdown when he was 9 years old and found it soothing"

Nowdays this statement would result in a diagnosis of some sort... I'll not speculate...

After spending about 10 years working in civilian and military psych wards, I became pretty good at ping pong.... And, working in an alternative education program for 27 years allowed me to make sure we always had a ping pong table and gave me a chance to play on a pretty regular basis with kids faster and stronger than I was, I had to develop some ball handling skills to beat them. It's a fun game.

The best series I played, however, happened out in Hollywood. It was at the Alfred Hitchcock Theater at Universal Studios. I was hanging out with my kid while they were doing some editing on 300, fun stuff watching them add in the sound for each arrow strike (as in "..we will fight in the shade.."). I took a break for a while and went down to the lobby where Snyder had requested they keep a ping pong table set up as a diversion.

So, here's Zack Snyder, tough, young director, who had worked out with the cast from 300 as they got into shape for the movie, and me, 60 years old and out of shape....

I picked up a paddle, bounced the ball and said "Do you play?"... Snyder sort of smiled, saw an easy mark and stated he did.....

He wasn't too bad, and almost beat me a couple of times... An hour later, if I recall correctly, I was undefeated...

So, if the sound editing in 300 seems to suffer a bit right after that arrow scene..blame me for the distraction.....
posted by HuronBob at 1:52 PM on December 8, 2012 [12 favorites]

Following the slope formula of a morbid turn of mind is not the only reason to orbit the obits.

They're certainly the best-written pieces in The Economist. To be honest, if there's one impossible thing I wish I could do, it would be to read my own obituary in that magazine.
posted by fifthrider at 2:23 PM on December 8, 2012 [2 favorites]

The Money Player is a great read.
He was a great player- the oldest person ever to have won an open national competition in a racquet sport, at 67.
posted by MtDewd at 2:36 PM on December 8, 2012

There's some more fun stuff on YouTube:
A sandpaper match from 2003 against a good player. Hope I can hit that well when I'm 73.
The cigarette trick.
More about the 1952 match, which he had been favored to win.
posted by MtDewd at 3:00 PM on December 8, 2012

Great post, thanks. I have placed a hold on The Money Player with my library, looking forward to reading it.

Fascinating to watch Marty using the same somewhat-sedate style from the Fifties effectively in 2010, considering how much the game has changed.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 6:05 PM on December 8, 2012

I met the man once. It was the briefest of conversations. I was told he was a world champion table tennis player. I looked him up and down, he was skinny and older, and asked what age bracket. He asked if I played. I said not really. End of conversation.

What I loved most about the man after reading his obit was his own amazement at having made a living out of something he loved so much.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 1:27 AM on December 9, 2012

Marty Reisman greets the crowd before his Hardbat Doubles Open semi-final match. An inspiration.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:10 AM on December 10, 2012

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