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Mr Danie Tony

Bio Statement

In 1971, America Started a Symbolic Connection Together with what we then called Communist China. China was admitted to the United Nations this year. And among the very first groups of Americans to go to China as a part of the new age was that the American Idol pong Team. Back in April of 1971, Tim Boggan went to China to play pingpong in game play the Chinese and also to write about the adventure for The New York Times. He's currently the historian for the US Ping pong Association, and he joins us from our bureau in new york -

Tim Boggan, you traveled into Communist China representing Your country on your game. Were you apprehensive about moving?

Mr. TIM BOGGAN (Historian, US Ping pong Organization): Not Only was somewhat apprehensive, but everyone else was, too. And we did not understand what we were becoming. 1 woman finally had shingles due to the pressure. Another was stressed because she had been quite active in her church and she knew that the Chinese were atheists. This caused some concern. 1 fellow said he would actually like perhaps to remain in China eternally, which induced his dad back in Ohio enormous consternation, then he got ill and he then pleaded with our captain, 'please, please, do not leave me.'

WERTHEIMER: All those images we'd of China at the Time, it seemed like an whole country on bikes. Can you mean, what exactly was. .

Mr. BOGGAN: Yes. That has been. .

WERTHEIMER: What is your perception?

Mr. BOGGAN: This was so. I was very surprised to not see Cars in a huge city such as Canton. The buildings were very, very gruesome. Top Rated The Best Ping Pong Table Brands. Then if we came up from the channel, we were greeted with onlookers, a handful of these, clapping his hands. Then we moved outside and directly opposite us was a Big Brother image of Mao, three stories high, therefore all it had been disorienting

WERTHEIMER: You eventually got to the point where you really Did get into game play the Chinese. And as I recall it from the movies, they Weren't just better in pingpong, they had been totally amazing

Mr. BOGGAN: Yes. We played two big games together, One in Peking, they won 7-4, even though they easily might have skunked us

WERTHEIMER: You believe they sort of let you get by?

Mr. BOGGAN: Well, there is little doubt about it. They had been very, Quite excellent. And after it all, it had been friendship, competition second together. In fact, I recall they had an 18,000-seat stadium, and for audiences they'd normally conscripted soldiers. And these soldiers dressed alike, were sitting in a specific tier of racks. And when they did not applaud enough, a light would flash over them, which supposed applaud more. Plus they always put on a display, even to prepare the courts. They would come out dance with all the obstacles to encircle the courts, you understand? Plus it was ritualistic and, well, only spectacular

WERTHEIMER: The US Ping pong Group, since it had been among those Earliest groups of Americans to pay a visit to China, there was lots of discussion then and afterwards about pingpong diplomacy, about utilizing these young men and women who had been engaged in a game to form of help facilitate relations with the Chinese. Have you got some sense of your function for a pingpong diplomat? Did you have some feeling you're achieving anything?

Mr. BOGGAN: We were very aware that this was a Very emblematic situation we were in. They were very fine, naturally. They showed all sorts of items, such as the Great Wall. We had been aware perhaps of some camaraderie once the Chinese paid their mutual trip to the US another year in '72. We moved to a two-weeklong tour together of different towns, and, again, they, you know, let us to acquire some games and it was very friendly. Friendship first, competition second

WERTHEIMER: Tim Boggan, thank you very far

Mr. BOGGAN: Thanks for getting me best ping pong table

WERTHEIMER: Tim Boggan is the historian for the United States Ping pong Association. He joined us from New York City.