Table Tennis: New York ping pong club experiences rapid growth
We finish with table tennis news from States, where a ping pong social club founded in New York, brilliantly called SPIN, now has nine locations across North America. CGTN's Mark Niu has the story of its growing popularity at one of those venues in San Fransisco.
Gourmet food, cocktails, and a live DJ set the mood. This lively atmosphere is all part of a blossoming Ping Pong scene where traditional rules of where and how the game should be played take on a new SPIN. The ping pong social club called SPIN originally started in New York, and now has nine locations throughout North America, including Toronto. In San Francisco, social leagues and tournaments regularly fill the 18 tables in an 1100-square meter space. Tech startups are helping fuel the growth - the companies are often known for having tables in their offices to relieve stress.
"My previous company we had a ping pong table that was used for the company meeting because it was 12 people, so we just move the net and there you go."
The startup Grand Rounds is holding a company event at SPIN. As the competitive juices flow, staff keep the food and drink coming while making sure no one ever has to pick up a ball.
MARK NIU SAN FRANCISCO "On some nights, the playing area becomes a dance floor with live music performances. There are frequent parties on the holidays, and an online dating site even uses the place to hold first date mixers."
"It's definitely fun, and yeah, cool to meet people and have something to do. Eases the pressure."
"I would be a little bit shy showing off my terrible ping pong skills to strangers."
That's where the pros come in. Professional instructors are on hand to help players raise their game.
ALAN GULICK TABLE TENNIS INSTRUCTOR "That's something we're offering here at SPIN too. A more social, team, togetherness ping pong sort of atmosphere. We get so many people that oh I haven't played for 20 years. And they play here and are like I want to get back into that again."
RAPHAEL POULIQUEN TABLE TENNIS INSTRUCTOR "Right now, especially in cities like San Francisco, people want to do something, they want to have something to do. Whether it's playing ping pong or going to play bowling or doing some chess, you want to be active mentally. I mean I think ping pong is better, it's more fun because you get to move."
While it's unlikely the next great champion will be discovered here, SPIN does take pride in spreading interest and appreciation for the game while also making sure no one leaves without having fun. Mark Niu, CGTN, San Francisco.