Fifteen Minutes: The Paddle Battle

Ping pong and badminton. Both require agility, racquets and of course hand-eye coordination. So how does a would-be player choose between the two? Some of the differences are obvious--table vs. ground for instance. But beneath the glamorous veneer, lie the nuanced subtleties that set the two racquet sports apart. It's time for a little head-to-head action between the two club sports.

TABLE TENNIS

Ball (as they affectionately call it)

6 inches (fully erect)

muscle strain

Shakehand, Penhold

100 mph

Science concentrator from California

U.S. table tennis team travels to China in 1971, at a time when the two countries were less than friendly

BADMINTON

Shuttlecock (works on so many levels)

5 feet (5'1" at sides)

getting hit in the eye with a shuttlecock (try explaining that one with a straight face)

Forehand, Backhand

180 mph

Science concentrator from California

None

NAME OF BALL

Advantage: Badminton

HEIGHT OF NET

Advantage: Table Tennis

MOST FEARED INJURY

Advantage: Badminton

NAMES OF GRIPS

Advantage: Table Tennis

TOP BALL/SHUTTLECOCK SPEED

Advantage: Badminton

MOST COMMON PLAYER PROFILE

Advantage: Toss-up

WORLD DIPLOMACY

Advantage: Table Tennis

Final score. TT: 3, BM: 3. But compare the two for yourself. The table tennis team holds open hours Tuesdays 9:30 to 11:00 p.m. and, to kickoff the weekend, Fridays 9:00 to 11:00 p.m. at the MAC mezzanine. To knock around the old shuttlecock with the badminton team, e-mail the new team president Ye Tian at tian@fas.harvard.edu.

--P. A. STECIUK