My first opponent at Shichahai, a smiley kid named Wang, stands eye-level with my chest. On the orders of Coach Chang, we edge up to a nearby table and start rallying. Though rallying couldn’t be less accurate. Wang serves. The ball bounces over the net and hits my side of the table. I strike it with my paddle, it springs over the net, and does not hit his side of the table. It doesn’t hit anything. This must happen 25 times in a row. The physics are all wrong. It’s like instead of a paddle I’m holding a pancake.