Game Custom – California

Ping Pong Counting Start

“Ping Pong Rallies On”


This is something I noticed in my fraternity after we purchases a ping pong table. When playing someone it is customary to begin with some general rallying to warm up. After doing this for roughly two to five minutes, the game officially starts. In order to determine who serves the ball first a rally is began with either one of those two chants mentioned above. I find it quite interesting however because I had never heard of the second chant involving only P-I-N-G. I have only used the chant that goes “Ping Pong Rallies On.” I was quite surprised to hear this other version and for some reason it threw me off. Although they are not very different, both have four beats to their rhythm, I still could not get used to this alternative beginning. Upon further research I discovered that according to the International Table Tennis Federation, the proper way to start a game is with the P-I-N-G version. This was very frustrating to me as I was quite comfortable with the alternative way.

It is curious to note that I am from northern California and the majority of the people in my fraternity house who employ the alternative ping pong chant are from southern California. Just as I was unfamiliar with their version, they were not familiar with mine either. I had learned my version from friends and I can recall using this as far back ten years ago when I was nine and we had our first ping pong table.

This piece of folklore is a perfect example of the Krohne historic geographic method where one can trace where a particular piece of folklore is in common practice. In this case “Ping Pong Rallies On” is prevalent in northern California, while “P-I-N-G” is more apparent in southern California. Ping Pong in my opinion is a very social and great game because you do not have to be a tremendous athlete to play, therefore you have a wide variety of people involved in the sport.