I remember when I was a little kid encountering ‘spin’ for the first time. I was playing ping pong with an older friend and he would put ‘english’ on the ball each time he returned or served the ball. The resulting spin would make my return go to the left or right or dive down into the net or fly long, It didn’t take long for me to figure out what was happening, but even then I could do little to counter his skill in manipulating the spin on the ping pong ball. I distinctly remember thinking that he was somehow cheating!
Of course I wanted to learn to ‘cheat’ too, but try as I might, I had a most difficult time coming up to his level of skill. I never did get very good at it and my friend always crushed me in our ping pong games.
Over time I encountered spin or english in just about every physical activity and slowly came to appreciate it and realize that it was not cheating, but was the essence of many games of skill. A bowler, a baseball pitcher, a golfer, a soccer player, a billiard player and many others all employ spin to excel in their sports.
But everyone knows that the most prolific use of spin is in politics. A real world event happens that is not to some politician’s liking and he will spin the explanation of what happened in way that favors his actions or point of view. Indeed they can just about turn anything on its head in order to be viewed on the right side of things and curry favor with potential voters. Major political players will have a “spinmiester” on staff who specializes in the craft. These wizards of spin will also try to unspin the spin of their opponents in an unending back and forth.
It’s kinda like ping pong played by masters of spin. Amazing skills, but I still think they’re cheating!
– – – by Jim Harlan