Can you guess what 19th-century English upper-class ladies were up to when they were stacking up books on the dining table, ripping off lids from cigar boxes, and piling up corks from champagne bottles? Believe it or not this is how the game of ping pong started. Books were used as nets, cigar box lids as bats and corks as ping pong balls. Whiff-Waff, Pom-Pom, or Pim-Pam are just a few names they used to call it before Ping Pong prevailed. It was common for Victorian era parties to end with a good game of Whiff-Waff...after desert. What the English society realized 140 years ago is still valid today: nothing like a good game of ping pong to lift the spirits of a group of people.
With the emergence of manufactured equipment in the 20th century ping pong transformed from being a pastime activity of the privileged few to a popular sport for any age and social standing. It even helped bridge the divide between China and the US during the cold war period in what became known as the Ping Pong Diplomacy (google it). There is even an oldest player in the Guinness Book of Records, Dorothy de Low, was almost 98 years old when she represented Australia in the 2008 World Veterans Table Tennis Championships in Brazil.
Ping pong is a way to do physical exercise that has actual athletic qualities but is kind of contained. You do not run around tracks and you do not have large playing fields to cover, however, the short quick movements make it an intense exercise. Because of the confined area of action and the speed with which players need to assess moves, the game has also a real mental element to it by promoting strategic thinking.
Just like at social gatherings 140 years ago, ping pong can also help modern day organizations build and support culture; it is a great tool to help team members get to know and interact with each other. Moreover, a quick break of ping pong during the day has shown to help become more productive and creative, and even promote problem solving ability; no surprise it is the game of choice for people in the creative industry, especially for start-ups.
Now that you have hopefully learned something new today, this editor needs a creative break from writing. I am setting up my ArtNet ZigZag to engage in friendly combat.