We all know about clothes horses in tennis. But what about table tennis? (Please, don’t call it Ping-Pong.) I’d never much thought about the apparel in that sport until Jeremy Brahm recently alerted me to a Japanese player named Naomi Yotsumoto, who wore an off-the-shoulder dress and a geranium in her cranium during last week’s Japanese National Championship tourney.
Other players in the tournament wore outfits like this and this, and recent female table tennis players at the Olympics (yes, it’s an Olympic sport) have looked like this, this, this, and this. So what’s up with Yotsumoto’s outfits?
Jeremy was kind enough to translate the pertinent bits from this article, which helps explain Yotsumoto’s unusual attire:
Her uniform obsession began after she graduated from college. “I wanted to show myself. So with that, I wanted to change the image of ‘Table tennis is stupid.’ ”
She has designed the uniforms that she is wearing [in the Japanese National Championships]. She wore a cream number that exposed her left shoulder and also had a “Paris daisy” in her hair. She advanced to the quarterfinals in the mixed doubles, but lost in the fourth round of the women’s singles.
“Without a doubt, I wouldn’t wear gear that would be a hindrance to my play. (As for the loud uniforms), I understand the pros and cons, but I want to continue with it.”
According to this page, “Serious players wear real table tennis clothing.” But real is as real does, and anyone who has a “uniform obsession” is OK by me. Plus I like that Yotsumoto’s trying to counteract one kind of geekiness (playing table tennis) with another (uni obsession). Plus-plus she can’t possibly be as annoying as Serena Williams. So I say let her wear whatever she wants.
Media Blitz: I’ll be talking about the new NHL uniforms today’s All Things Considered show on NPR — I’m told my segment will air at 4:50pm. And then it’s more of the same on Wednesday night at about 10pm, when I’ll be appearing on the Face Off Hockey Show podcast. Imagine how many interviews I’d be doing if the NHL had actually revealed anything substantive yesterday…
NHL All-Star Raffle: Speaking of the new NHL unis: As noted in yesterday’s FAQ roundup, the league was kind enough to give me an authentic Eastern Conference All-Star jersey at last week’s little media gathering. Now I’m going to be kind enough to raffle it off, and I’m expecting you folks to be kind enough to turn it into a good fund-raiser. Are we all a bunch of wonderful people or what?
First, here are the details on the jersey itself: It’s a size 54, in perfect condition (except maybe for a couple of stray cat hairs from Uni Watch mascots Tucker and Caitlin). The All-Star Game logo is embroidered on the shoulder. The back is blank, except for the embroidered Reebok logo. All tags are intact (collar, front, sleeve). Includes fight strap.
The raffle will cost $5 per entry. So $5 gets your name in the hat once, $10 gets it in twice, etc. PayPal your entry to me at paul_lukas at earthlink dot net by 10pm Thursday, and I’ll announce the winner on Friday. If you’re not PayPal-ish but still want to enter, put a check in the mail (Paul Lukas, 671 DeGraw St., Brooklyn, NY 11217) and e-mail me to let me know — I’ll put your name in even if the check doesn’t arrive in time for the drawing.
Uni Watch Winter Party Tour: Okay, my February travel plans are finally firmed up, and I’m happy to announce that there will be Uni Watch parties in three separate cities over a six-day period, which will surely set some sort of record for uni-based debauchery. Here’s the scoop:
- February 3rd, Brooklyn: Forget Super Sunday — the real action will be on Saturday, as we gather at 3pm at the 12th Street Bar (corner of 8th Ave. and 12th St.; take the F train to 7th Ave.). The big news is that the bartender will be former Village Voice sports editor Miles Seligman, the man who once said, “A column about uniforms? That’s the stupidest-ass idea I’ve ever heard!” Alright, so that’s not quite what he said. Webmaster Johnny Ek is planning to be on hand too, plus design director Scott M.X. Turner, Mets by the Numbers webmaster Jon Springer, and we’re even flying in Jeremy Brahm for the occasion. Okay, no we’re not. But we would if we could! Anyway, it should be a kickass time.
February 7th, San Francisco: Uni Watch’s first-ever west coast shindig will take place at 7:30pm, at a venue still to be determined (although I’m seriously considering the Latin American Club — your thoughts, San Franciscans?). Further details soon.
February 8th, Dallas: We also need a venue for this get-together, which will commence at 7:30pm. I know exactly zero about Dallas, so help me out, people. Please keep in mind that while I love sports and love bars, I hate sports bars. A simple neighborhood watering hole is more my speed. Little help..?
And if anyone somehow manages to attend all three parties, first round’s on me.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Remember our discussion a few months back about target-esque hockey jersey logos? Ethan Rowley was reminded of that when he saw this old comic strip. … “Your talk of Oakland University’s mismatched shirts and shorts prompted me to send this picture of the Quebec City Kebewa of the ABA,” writes Doug Brei. “They aren’t exactly mismatched, but they are some of the most interesting uniforms I’ve seen in years. The road uniforms are the ones that are really bizarre. They’re so unique that for some reason I don’t hate them as much as I should.” … Interesting note from Jeremy Brahm, who writes: “I just learned about something called the Masters [baseball] League in Japan. It’s for retired players to play from November to February, which is the traditional off-season in Japanese baseball. The five teams have some pretty funky uniforms, as seen in these photos of the Sapporo Ambitious (player names are beneath the numbers), Nagoya 80D’sers, Tokyo Dreams, Osaka Romans (names beneath the numbers again, plus look at the blue trim on the sleeves), and Fukuoka Dontakus (can you say Vancouver Canucks V?).”