An Epic Ping Pong Match – The World's Largest Participation Sport

For the first time in months today I played Ping-Pong, one of my noblest passions, and almost immediately felt at one with the paddle, and discovered a sense of focus on the ball that I apply to few other pursuits. The person on the other side of the table was Jonah Spear, a member of the cast of STOMP, the musical / theater production. His brother Josh lives here in Boulder and connected us. Thanks guys!

What I love about ping-pong is everyone seems to play on some cruddy table in their attic or basement, or once a year at a summer camp. Don’t be misled, however: Ping-Pong is the world’s largest participation sport, according to the International Olympic Committee, with hundreds of millions casual players and some 40 million competitive players. Below is a picture of me in action and below the picture is a heated email exchange Jonah and I had leading up the match. Who said you can’t talk dirty before a game of ping-pong?

Pingpong


To: Ben
From: Jonah

Subject: Ping Pong Buddies?

Hi Ben,

Enjoyed learning a bit about you in your blog- fascinating indeed. My brother Josh tells me you like to play ping pong. I also like to play ping pong.  Actually, I love it.  Funny thing is, the table at the summer camp I’ve been playing at for the past 10 years is home made, a bit wider than normal ones and 6 inches higher… and we have old old beat up paddles. And I play with 12 year olds.

But I can hold my own.

Anyways, Josh showed me you wrote something about tomorrow or sunday. anytime sounds good to me. 

Look forward to it,

Jonah

To: Jonah
From: Ben
Re: Ping Pong Buddies

Jonah,

We have a shared passion….and I like you have played on shitty tables against poor opponents. But I have the mental ferocity of a tiger. :-)

My condo at [address redacted] has a table and paddles.

How about we get together Sunday? I have a 6 PM dinner and am otherwise free. How about we get a sandwich at noon somewhere on the Pearl Street Mall (I need to buy the paper anyway) and then walk back and get a few games in?

To: Ben
From: Jonah
Re: Ping Pong Buddies

Hi Ben,

Sunday sounds great. Sounds like I’ll have to carb up Saturday night and grab a protein shake on Sunday morning on the way to P-St. Mall… I’ll let Josh get back to you with a place but I reckon the Kitchen makes good grub.

See you Sunday,

Champ

To: Jonah
From: Ben
Re: Ping Pong Buddies

Jonah,

Sounds good, I’ll wait to hear from Josh. If you’re carboloading, I guess I’ll have to do 10 extra triceps pulldowns at the gym today.

Regards,

The Dominator

To: Ben
From: Jonah
Re: Ping Pong Rivals

Dear Friend,

Be careful at the gym- I don’t want you to be worn out for the match.  I can’t bear excuses like, "my triceps are sore from doing 10 extra pulldowns."  I on the other hand will spend the day in meditation- and I’m also calling my friend in the Caribbean, the witch doctor.  We have extra sharp needles for punks like you.

If you find yourself doubled over in pain at the gym, it could be one of three things: butterflies in your stomach about the match, too many pulldowns, or my good friend Doctah Priscilla.

Going to get a blood transfusion and hang at the oxygen bar now. Enjoy your pride while you still have it intact :)

Second to none,

Spear

To: Jonah
From: Ben
Re: Ping Pong Rivals

Jonah,

When I look at you I see such a scared man. I see a child. I see a boy who has wandered into a darkened movie theater, late, looking for his mommy.

6′ 4" 220 lbs,

Ben

To: Ben
From: Jonah
Re: Ping Pong Rivals

I am the middle aged man, you are the little girl.  I am the wolf and you are a cute little bunny.  I have facial hair and chest hair and you have peach fuzz and pimples.  And the movie my mommy took me to was called Terminator.

High Noon it is.

5′ 4" 150 lbs,

Big Bad

11 Responses to An Epic Ping Pong Match – The World's Largest Participation Sport

  1. David Cohen says:

    I wanna play! I await the challenge.

  2. Nick Boeka says:

    So who won?? I too am a fan of ping-pong, as I grew up with a table at home. We had a pool table and my dad and I made a custom ping-pong table that we could place on top to switch up the competitions between my brother and I.

  3. Ben Casnocha says:

    Nick — I’m insulted you would ask that question. :-)

  4. Nick Boeka says:

    hehe. I’m glad that you were victorious.

  5. Josh Spear says:

    What Ben FAILED to mention was that Jonah won!

  6. Darren Stowell says:

    Anytime Casnocha…anytime!

  7. Ben I’d take you. Anytime you’re in the general NYC area send me a note.

    5’11.5″ 180 lbs,
    Pistol Pete

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