Top of the Morning, Feb. 8, 2014

Table tennis isn't being played in Sochi. For some reason, it belongs to the Summer Olympics.

Locally, however, pingpong heats up when snow's on the ground. The club with the coolest motto around — "Play Pong Live Long" — hosts its marquee event next Saturday at Next Generation School. More than 60 competitors will take part in Champaign County Table Tennis Club's Champaign Open. Just having a table in the basement apparently isn't going to cut it.

"We won't have any Olympians, but we'll have some near-Olympian caliber players," CCTTC president Bryant Evans said. "These are athletes who train for the sport and who will be sprinting around like a tennis player would."

With the Open on deck, we asked the prez — as well as the newspaper's film critic — for their best pingpong moments in the movies.

Evans says ...

1. Forrest Gump (1994). Forrest trains while recuperating in the VA hospital and gets invited to join the "Ping Pong Diplomacy" team in China.

2. W.C. Fields impresses dinner guests with his pingpong skills in "You Can't Cheat An Honest Man" in 1939. Hilarious.

3. Ping Pong, a 2012 documentary aired on PBS. A 95-year-old grandmother is told by the press she is too old to play pingpong. Documentary follows several octogenarians (plus) in their quest for gold.

Chuck Koplinski, whose work is an e3 staple, says ...

There's a recent movie called 'About Time' that features a father (Bill Nighy) and son (Domnhall Gleeson) playing ping pong repeatedly. They bond over these games. The boy has the ability to travel through time but when his wife gets pregnant he realizes that once she gives birth he won't be able to travel back in time to see his father any longer. So, he takes one final trip to have a last game with his father and say 'Good-Bye.'

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