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PostPosted: 03 Jan 2018, 09:41 
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Retriever wrote:
A recent off topic discussion in an equipment thread has prompted this.

1. A rule in TT exists that cannot be enforced objectively. Into the mix, it may well be nonsensical or enacted in a less than transparent way. Do you:
    Obey it anyway as it doesn't directly affect you?
    Obey it even though it does affect you?
    Disobey it and acknowledge that you are in the wrong?
    Disobey it because it is a silly rule?
    Disobey it because everyone is doing it?
    Disobey it because it is unenforceable?
    Disobey it and justify it as a side effect of a legitimate activity?
Examples of such rules: minimum friction rule and also the aspect ratio for pimples out, no boosting by players, no hidden serves.


2. You are playing in a tournament where the entry rules state that players will be defaulted if they do not attend the table within 15 minutes of the match time. Do you:
    Claim the forfeit after exactly 15 minutes and 1 second no matter what?
    Claim the forfeit if they are more than say 25 minutes late no matter what, ie give them some leeway?
    Claim the forfeit even if the organizers are satisfied with the other player's excuse and ask you to play the match - insist that the rules be played to the letter?
    Are happy to play the match if the player turns up at all within reason?


3. You are the captain of a team in a pennants / league competition. It is organized on a home and away basis. Matches can be deferred by prior agreement between respective captains, otherwise the team turning up should claim a forfeit. On a particular night you turn up to find no opposing team. Do you:
    Claim the forfeit no questions asked?
    Contact the opposing team and if they have no reasonable excuse whatsoever, claim the forfeit, otherwise reschedule the match?
    Contact the opposing captain and reschedule the match?


4. You are playing and have an umpire. Your opponent plays a shot which catches the very faintest edge on your endline. The umpire and your opponent both act as if the ball was out. Do you:
    Acknowledge that the ball was in?
    Stay silent to get the point?
    Stay silent because its the umpire's job to adjudicate?


5. You are playing and have an umpire. Your opponent plays a shot which catches the very faintest edge on your endline. The umpire didn't see it but your opponent did. Do you:
    Acknowledge that the ball was in?
    Say nothing but if asked by the umpire you will acknowledge that it touched?
    Stay silent to still possibly get the point?
    Stay silent because it is the umpire's job to adjudicate?
    Disagree with the opponent and insist that the umpire is the adjudicator?
    Insist that the ball was out?

6. You are playing and don't have an umpire. Your opponent plays a shot which catches the very faintest edge on your endline. Your opponent claims the point. Do you:
    Acknowledge that the ball was in?
    Say nothing but accept that the opponent won the point?
    Disagree with the opponent but press for a let / replay of the point?
    Disagree with the opponent and insist that the ball was out and refuse to play until the point is scored that way?

For these last 3 hypotheticals, does the presence or absence of the umpire change your action? Should it?

The answers to these questions, and many others where there is a grey area, will be different for each person. I think that it would be instructive for people to examine their actions to see if they are totally happy with them.


Good topic. Time to bare the soul!.


1. Depends. Equipment I can't be bothered about but I will call hidden serves (note, not other infringements such as low toss which I feel doesn't give insurmountable advantage).

2. I enter competitions to play, not quote the rulebook. Over officious administration irritates me greatly. Even back at the tender age of 13 or 14 I recall being offered the option to default an oponent at a good level junior event. I didn't even like the kid. I let him play. I lost. I have never regretted it for a second, but would have loved to win that title. Key is that a default would not have felt like a win.

3. May depend on my history with the opposing captain...... I'll say no more but always prefer to win on the table.

4. Confession time.....this happened once and I stayed silent. I was desperate to win and did so, in no small part due to my cheating. It ate me away. I could never do it again. Lesson learned.

5. See 4.

6 See 4.

Presence of an umpire irrelevant. .... my conscience is now an umpire.

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PostPosted: 03 Jan 2018, 11:54 
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mikea wrote:
Red wrote:

I am using peanut-oil and olive oil to regain the grip/tackiness of my rubber and I also use water with ammonia, sometimes alcohol, to clean the rubbers. So, I do violate the rules, don't you think? But do I cheat?



Against the rules unfortunately but if you tell people you play a lot in the kitchen you'll probably get away with it. :lol:


I am not willing to find a shady reason to justify it. The rubbers behave like fresh even if they are in use for several month at >=6hrs a week, their behaviour doesn't change. The ban on such a treatment doesn't make sense, imho.
But is nobody else using 'illegal stuff, chemicals' on their rubbers besides dihydrogen monoxide? Rubber cleaners anyone?

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PostPosted: 03 Jan 2018, 12:44 
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1) To be specific, I've boosted and played with the rubbers in local comp. It was experimenting and I highly doubt it improved my play at all, in fact may have made the rubber worse. In not at the level it would improve me so not worried.

2&3) I wouldn't be in a hurry to forfeit in fact would go looking for the player or try phone the team.

4-6) If i was sure I'd acknowledge it but if I thought it hit but wasn't sure I may not say anything, not to get a point but if I was the only one to think they had it, maybe it didn't hit. Once again though, if I was sure, I'd say something or if unsure and maybe the umpire have me a curious look I'd also raise it but if I was unsure and no one else batted an eyelid, I'd probably let it go.

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PostPosted: 03 Jan 2018, 21:30 
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I really like this article by Syed...

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/upri ... tq235p6znb

"Upright behaviour the way to stop diving
Matthew Syed, Sports Journalist of the Year
September 2 2009, 1:00am,
The Times


I admit it. I once cheated in gratuitous fashion. It was in the final of the 1998 English National Championships, the most important domestic competition of the year, the event we used to call “the big one”.

My opponent was a personal hero: Desmond Douglas, the greatest British ping-pong player of the modern era, who had put the sport back on the map in Britain in the 1980s after the postwar lull when working-class sentiment for table tennis was diverted to upstart sports such as badminton and squash.

What made my act of cheating worse is that Douglas was, and is, one of the game’s great gentlemen, a chap who would rather lose than gain an unfair advantage. It was for that reason that he was held in such high regard by my generation as a role model in word and deed.

It was 14-14 in the deciding game, a crucial moment after an hour of exhausting cut and thrust. The next few rallies would determine the complexion of my entire season. I yearned for the title and the scalp of Douglas, a player I had never beaten. My ambition was all-consuming. I tell you this not in mitigation, but to provide context.

Douglas hit his top-spin forehand high into the air. It looked as though it might fly long, but at the last moment the ball dipped ferociously and grazed the edge of the table. It was a thin contact, but undeniable. Douglas saw it. His coach saw it. Some of the spectators in the front row saw it.


And, yes, I saw it, too, even as I longed to disbelieve the evidence of my eyes. Douglas raised his hand in apology — which is what you do in table tennis when you get an edge ball — but as he did so, I noticed something else: that the umpire had given me the point. The ref hadn’t seen the edge. The point was mine.

I knew that had the positions been reversed, Douglas would have acknowledged the edge and asked the umpire to amend the score. But I was blinded by ambition. I refused to yield. I told the umpire I had not seen the contact. I cheated. As I steadied myself for the next point, I caught Douglas’s eye. It was not reproachful, merely disappointed. I was unable to return his gaze.

Last week, Eduardo da Silva charged into the penalty area at the Emirates Stadium, knocked the ball past Artur Boruc, the Celtic goalkeeper, and came crashing down in a heap. The referee awarded a penalty to Arsenal. If there was contact, it was slight. I thought at the time and continue to think that the Arsenal striker dived — and he has been given a two-match ban by Uefa.

Much of the debate surrounding the issue of diving — and wider issue of morality in sport after “Bloodgate” and other scandals — has focused on detection and retribution. Increase monitoring, use video technology, have more assistant referees, make scapegoats of the transgressors, throw the book at them, and so on.

Many of the ideas are sensible, as far as they go. But they miss the essential point. Examine what happened after Eduardo’s dive.

His team-mates flocked to him in celebration after he scored the resulting penalty, and we can surmise that at the training ground that week he received little opprobrium for his alleged act of deception.

Neither, one imagines, do the other players who dive week in, week out in the Barclays Premier League, Serie A or La Liga, nor the schoolboys and Sunday league players who, at least in part, take their lead from their heroes in the upper echelons of the game.

The managers are no better. When they are not suffering from selective myopia they are seeking to justify rather than condemn the actions of their players. Arsène Wenger’s defence of Eduardo seemed to hinge on the notion that the Croat may have taken evasive action in light of the career-threatening broken leg he sustained 18 months ago, not a credible position for someone as thoughtful and intelligent as the Arsenal manager.

We, the fans, are also complicit. There was no sense of moral outrage in this country when Michael Owen dived to win penalties against Argentina in 1998 and 2002, nor when Steven Gerrard did so against Andorra in 2007. Our lust for England to win overwhelmed the scruples that we would doubtless have expressed had the positions been reversed, such as when Diego Maradona punched the ball into the net in the 1986 World Cup quarter-final between Argentina and England.

When football insiders say that diving is “part of the game” they are, then, right and wrong. They are wrong in the sense that simulation is expressly forbidden by the laws of football. But they are right in that the laws — which are seemingly read by nobody except referees — are only tangentially related to the way the game is played and understood. Of far greater importance are the informal conventions and unspoken assumptions that together govern the way we gauge the morality of the sport and those within it.

And that is the fundamental problem: diving in football is socially acceptable whenever it is perpetrated by one’s own team, which is half the time. There is no sense of shame, no moral guilt, no proper consideration of its insidious impact on the wider integrity of the sport. It is something to get away with; something to be nodded and winked at. It is something with which we all connive — players, managers and fans.

Football will never get to grips with simulation until those within the sport realise that no set of rules or punishments can ever fully police human behaviour. No quantity of extra referees or television cameras; no amount of video analysis or retrospective judgments; no set of refereeing guidelines or punitive sanctions will eradicate the problem.

Diving will persist until there is a shift in values. Until the day that a player is castigated by his own manager on Match of the Day; until the day he is snubbed by his own team-mates for falling in a heap; until the day he is booed by his own set of outraged supporters. In short, it will persist until the day that — for a critical mass of those within the game — partisanship is regarded as less important than probity.

It was only as I was about to serve at 15-14 up against Douglas that my wrong was righted. Brian Halliday, one of my entourage and a dear friend, jumped up from his position at courtside, unable to contain himself any longer. He shouted across to me — in front of 1,000 spectators — that he had seen the deflection of the ball on the edge of the table. I could have ignored Halliday and persisted with my deception, but it would have been obvious to all that I had cheated. I relented and asked the umpire to change the score.

I had lost a vital point. I went on to win the match but, more importantly, Halliday had done me a priceless favour. He had given me the chance to do the right thing. He had ensured that the wider values of sport had prevailed, albeit by an unorthodox route. In short, he had put honesty above partisanship. Morality is, more often than not, a collective rather than an individual endeavour. The sooner that is understood by those within football — fans, players and managers — the sooner the game will be free of the scourge of diving."


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PostPosted: 04 Jan 2018, 06:24 
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Thank you carbonman for finding and posting that from Syed. It exemplifies exactly what I am trying to get at with this thread.

In some ways we are trying to be the entourage for other players.

If we do not say something then the cheating will probably continue.

Even if we do say something the cheating may continue. In Syed's case he decided to stop when prompted.

As I said in my OP (or maybe in a succeeding post), it is up to each player to determine where to draw the line and look at how that makes them feel.

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Last edited by Retriever on 04 Jan 2018, 10:33, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: 04 Jan 2018, 06:40 
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http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08fr7t ... /downloads

Check out this podcast from BBC radio program called "Flintoff, Savage and the Ping Pong Guy". The relevant podcast is called "Walking in Fresh Air" Monday 8th May 2017. Syed, Freddie Flintoff and Robbie Savage (Wales football captain from a few years ago and now football (soccer) pundit). Fast forward in the podcast to 32 mins and 40 seconds for the start of the discussion on "cheating in sport", it lasts about 16 mins. It's an interesting discussion.


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PostPosted: 04 Jan 2018, 20:33 
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My ambition is for the game and for the team. For myself, I will compete to my best ability within the rules, but the rules are above me. If I don't abide by the rules, I don't play the game anymore, just pretending.

I don't want to pretend.

Off court I can discuss the sense and validity of rules, but when it comes to playing, the rules in force at the time constitute the framework of the game. So...

    1) Obey regardless of how it affects me. Talk to people who disobey. If everyone else choose to disobey, I'll start looking for other games to play.
    2) Go with whatever the organizers see fit. If it affects my teammates negatively I might argue the point, but not excessively so. We're trying to have fun here, not running for president...
    3) Claim a forfeit unless there is a reasonable explanation. Reschedule within reason. Team responsibility trumps personal ambition, but it's supposed to be a game, not a legal court case...
    4-6) Acknowledge. Over time, the better player will have the most edges. The better player deserves to win. I learn more from defeats than from victories, which makes me a better player, teammate, and coach. I hope that my answer would have been the same even when my ambition was more for myself. Don't know, but I like to think so. It's been a long time...

Christmas tournament at the Raquet club a week ago, I organized the TT event. Thought I had seeded the groups so the two most likely winners would have a chance to meet at the final, but for some reason they were in the same half and met in the semi. (A couple of late entries and a few no-shows may have something to do with it, and perhaps the fact that I was still recovering from the flu. I'm good at making excuses for myself.) I played the other semi against one of our top rated tennis players (who is also a strong TT player) and just barely won, to face our strongest player (and lose) in the final.

Not an important tournament, but I still feel that by negligence I cheated my way to second place. Doesn't feel good.


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