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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Firsthand Ping Pong 101

I'm not really that interested with the game of ping pong also known as table tennis, but I occasionally play the game whenever there is a table and rackets... and someone pays for the rent.  Then why did I find myself joining the it's club in our company.  Well, besides being influenced by a former classmate (now, my co-employee), I just wanted to find out what's with the game and more, I'm in need to find myself a constant good workout... It's been a while since my last run or jog, thinking its the perfect alternative.

I haven't started the training session, they were already on the "show us what you got" part when I jumped in.  So, each one played and were corrected on what each was doing wrong.  Here were some of the things the trainers taught us to properly play the game:

As to holding the ping pong racket.
- Hold the racket or paddle up to it's neck.  The reason for this is for the player to have a firmer grip and better control of the racket.  One of the coach told me, the racket should be as if the palm of your hand, so position it in such a way that will closest resemble you palm.
- Your point finger down.  I use a "handshake grip" when playing (never knew there was a name for that, until now).  A player-coach corrected my hold.  He told me to lower down my finger, as for it, not to obstruct the surface of the racket when I'm using the backhand.

As to serving the ball.
- Serve with an open palm.  Service should start with the ball resting in a flat and open palm of the player's free hand.  Therefore, not held, not cupped by the palm, and not even resting in the fingers.  This is done so that no spin can be added to the ball upon tossing it in the air during the serve.
- You should toss the ball when serving.  One must throw the ball up at least 6 inches from the palm of the player's hand (16 cm. based on the web).
My "not fully paid" racket.

As to hitting the ball.  Hit the ball in a way that it'll spin.  Don't simply push or hit the ball flat on, whether in serving or retuning, at least give it a spin.  Topspin which causes the ball to spin forward, chopping for reverse or backspin, and side spins.  Added spins makes it tougher for your opponent to counter or return the ball.

With all these changes, it felt awkward for me applying each one of them.  But our coach told us, that it's better to learn the proper way now while we were still beginners.  He told us we will eventually get used to it.  And I totally agree with him.  Though, it's really difficult but we must learn what is proper.  I somewhat see improvements in my game (not good as that compared to a varsity player but not bad as a beginner of the game).  I'm also starting to like the game, that I'm even influenced (then convinced) to buy my own pricey racket (just glad it's in installment basis).  Those whose been with the game for quite sometime told me that I need a good racket so I get a better feel of the game... LOL.  Though, I may say that it has difference from cheaper ones (rubber friction, weight, balance, ball bounce, etc.), still you need skill to win a game.  So practice... practice... practice.  And make use of my racket so it may serve its worth.  Good luck to me... hehehe. Yahweh bless.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

My Plant Collection

My interest in ornamental plants and herbs started when I decided to convert an area outside our house into a garden or something like it.  It was way back in 2011, when my wife and I procured some plants from a sidewalk vendor along Ilustre St. in Davao.  We bought eugenia(s), pandakaki(s), and a golden ficus, though back then, I wasn't really paying attention to the vendor telling us the plant name.  It was just recently that I got the interest to know them.

I had previously made a post about the work that I've done for the area that I'm talking about, and you may find it here: Working on Labor Day.  Here you can actually compare the improvements I made (if you can consider them as one... hehehe).  I had collected some of the plants in my list now (some were even rare as others say), but still looking for a cheap place to buy for those I still wanted to have.

Having and collecting plants as a hobby was a good stress reliever for me.  From the process of propagating them... planting, cultivating, watering... it was quite fulfilling watching them grow each day.  It was really a good test on how green my thumb is, and well, basing on the ratio of those I planted and survived, I may say, my thumbs pretty green... hahaha.  It's really different when you're the one who grow the plant from seed or a stem from its mother plant, it's something you actually call your own.

My therapy...

My wife also loves plants, in fact, she was the one who convinced me before to buy plants or plant one for her.  Why am I the one planting?  Aside from the reason that she's the boss... hehehe... planting really was not her thing.  She told me that even by simply touching the plant, its probability to live is lessen, much more if she's the one who planted it.  Know what, I believed her.  Now, if it's to trick me to the work, well it definitely worked, but doesn't really matter, I love her and I love doing it for her.

In the olden days, even some Filipinos until now, are discriminatively associating ornamental plants to women.  And that's a thing of the past, we are fighting for equality here for both sexes (hahaha).  Kidding aside, my friend (who shared the same hobby) and I observed in places where the plants were sold, almost all buyers were men.  And though having different reason and purpose, it emerged that it's actually a good source of extra income... aha, so there it is... LOL.

For me, it's a hobby and fun to do.  My wife and I loved how our garden look now... But hey, I'm open to opportunities... hahaha.  Yahweh bless, everyone.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

My PMA Cadet Years (Cow Year) - Leading A Squad

April 1997

This would be the first of the last few posts as part of my second class cadet experience in the academy.  I was one of the lucky few who were able to survive that far considering many got a hard time with the yearling subjects.  But as I've said, my cadetship story is nearing it's end, for the Lord had a different purpose in my life.  Hope you guys enjoy reading and learn something from my life as a PMA cadet.

1- Given a normal condition, the new class entering PMA is always scheduled to begin on the first day of April.  The acceptance of new recruits in the academy is called  the "reception".  As to the arrival of the class of 2001, our class was officially elevated to the 2nd class rank.  And we took the role of handling the plebes' (new recruits) "summer camp".  I was designated as squad leader of 6 plebes (namely: Cdts. Angeles, Enriquez, Estrada, Panerio, Rodriguez, and Rosete) and 3 yearlings (Cdts. Melo, Suarez and Arojo) back then.  I've given it in detail to make it obvious that I have kept a journal and was not relying in my memory alone.

2- Usually, if you got carried away with the shouting in the reception, you lose your voice.  That's what happened to me, got no voice the whole day.  Good thing no one messed up in my squad that day.  Also, my squad showed good potential in their stamina in running... everyone conquered the preliminary 3 rounds Borromeo field run without breaking a sweat (idiomatically speaking).

5- In the Saturday Inspection, cadets should be at their best: properly shined metal parts and shoes, clean and well-ironed uniform, well shaved, in good posture and condition... in short and simple language: snappy overall.  And the upperclassmen (the squad leaders and their assistants) should be the role model... for in leading, how can you tell your men to do something properly if you can't do it yourself?  Well, most of the time, the plebes got the corrections from the officers inspecting the ranks.  We took notes of their violations and taught them the proper ways, so they would do better next time.  One's squad performance reflects what kind of leadership they have.

9 to 26-  Plebes' Training.  We used exaggeration in molding our plebes back then.  Head up, chin in, brace up, stomach in, march higher and faster than the usual pace, use peripheral vision, fixing things like an OC (Obsessive-Compulsive) person in the fastest way, memorizing lots of things (names, menus, and other plebe knowleges), and the never ending "masi-masi" (physical exercises conducted by an upperclassman)... apart from their basic military training course, were just part of plebes usual day.   These were not made just for inconvenience purposes.  It helped develop cadet's good posture even in a relaxed stage, sharper mind, stronger body and keener senses.

A pose before "commence exercise...".

Foot March.  Through my years in the academy, the series of foot marches might still  be of the same destinations but each time was a unique experience. For at that moment, we were the ones leading the troops and directly responsible for their welfare.

Tired but all smiles for the shot...
The ones smiling were upper class cadets.
Having lunch with my squad.

Birthday.  I celebrated my birthday in the academy the third time.  We had this tradition of plebes (or the lowest ranking in the corps) carrying upperclassmen during victories and celebrations (such as birthdays, graduations, etc.) to the rooms of his mistah(s) or classmates, where the latter could do anything (from tickling to putting shaving cream in your face, etc.) as greeting for such event.  Then the plebes proceed in dunking  the celebrator to a drum filled with water or fountain (for 1st class cadets).  It was a very uncomfortable experience... but tradition is tradition... hehehe.

27- Turnover Ceremony.  I belonged to the first plebe detail (Navy-Air Force group).  It was our turn then to have our hands on training for our chosen branch of service.  And it's the Army's group turn to handle the plebes.

28- It was the start of our Southern Cruise.  It was sort of an on-the-job training for second class cadets.  We met the FOIC (Flag Officer in Command) in the Headquarters of the Philippine Navy (PN) at Roxas Boulevard.  Then went to Cavite, aboard PF11 Raja Humabon (PN ship), where our lectures were held.

29- First time that we wore our working khaki in a field duty.  It was something we don't usually wear as cadets.  The uniforms were specifically designed for cadets who's joining the Philippine Navy.  We were always been mistaken as commissioned officers by enlisted personnel since the only difference we had with them were our PMA insignias.

30- We were given our first "liberty" and spent it with the company of some mistah(s).  It was really an advantage that where ever we go, there was always a mistah (classmate) living nearby, serving as our guide in the place and if lucky enough, a home to stay for the night.  Yahweh bless.

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