A Night With ROD LAVER


Kevin brought in a load of nice bright coloured ping-pong balls so we could try & emulate Rod Laver's rather unique talent. We started off with a brief demonstration of ping-pong ball juggling, working up through the numbers. We were all very impressed by all sorts of ridiculous things such as juggling two balls using only his mouth then going into a trick where every ball was spat & caught underneath a high spit. Dead cool. There was so much other stuff too, two balls juggled while weaving a tie in between the balls, three balls spat down to bounce on the floor & then caught behind Albert style before being fed back into the mouth, no-handed three & four ball flashes starting & finishing with all the balls in the mouth. He then went up through the numbers, juggling five in the air, off the floor, off the wall & off his suitcase while lying down, then up to six, an awesome seven & an unbelievable 8 ping-pong balls. Certainly not something you see every day.

Quite a few of us felt it was okay to ignore his advice & decided to have a go too, I found one ball surprisingly easy, lean right back, lots of puff, then stick your tongue out to make the catch. By the end of the night I could do it quite consistently & also spit the ball into an Elbow Catch then flick it back into my mouth, as well as juggle three clubs & spit & catch my ping-pong ball under a high throw. Dave K. managed to get quite good at juggling two balls no-handed.

Rod also showed us a lot of nice hat tricks & certainly convinced a lot of us to take up the skill. Bryn especially got the knack of rolling it up his back onto his head. Tom & James looked to be doing very nicely too. I picked up a hat & had instant success with three different trcks, a single flip onto my head, flicked it back & caught it behind the back, then I rolled it up onto my head. How cool, then Cora pointed the video camera at me & I couldn't do anything for 10 minutes. Nobody quite managed to progress to any of the three hat juggles demonstrated by Rod though. Why have I never tried hat juggling before? We all really enjoyed the evening, I think everyone learnt something new & had a lot of laughs. Rod was a very entertaining guest, always very helpful & it was nice that he joined us up the pub afterwards too. We hope we may be able to get him back again sometime.

Rod was keen to stress that ping-pong ball juggling is a very stupid thing to do, aside from the obvious hygene concerns, the posture needed can cause serious back problems & catching ping-pong balls in the mouth can be quite hard on the lips. While fun to try every now & then Rod does not recommend that you take the skill up seriously.