Ping Pong Super Ambassador
by Dora Kurimay
When I first picked up a paddle at Club Statisztika in Budapest, Hungary game to the public.
I never imagined the places I could go playing table tennis. From
traveling around the world playing juniors to meeting other amazing - Where do you think the sport will go over the next five or ten years?
athletes with the Olympics—Ping Pong opened many doors for me to
make friends, experience other cultures, and ultimately find a passion for I expect it to become a national school sport and for a professional league
sports psychology. In my new life at Spin New York I have been honored to emerge that creates high profile matches with large prize money.
to meet another woman who believes in the power that Ping Pong can
have in young people lives, the Academy Award- winning actress and
activist, Susan Sarandon. She has been a patron of the sport and a partner ... it’s more fun to play
of SPIN Galactic, high end ping pong social clubs that provide a new
trendy twist for the sport. I was honored to interview Susan recently on while drinking and
how she got involved in ping pong about her hopes and beliefs about this
in-vogue sport in the United States and in all around the world. socializing than bowling
- How did you get involved in ping pong?
or billiards and people are
just bored with typical bars
I was doing post production on a movie and started playing occasionally
for fun and discovered what a great game it is for so many reasons. I where there’s nothing to do
decided it would be worthwhile to open a club in Manhattan with my
partners --who were all obsessed with introducing New Yorkers to a new
but stand around
presentation of the classic game of ping pong.
- Are you getting involved in the promotion of the sport – or are you only
- Did you ever played ping pong as a kid? focusing on ping pong as a social/relaxing/entertaining activity?
Not much, maybe a couple of times. I’m the oldest of nine kids so I I’ve been working with Ben Nesbit who runs the American Youth Table
was busy taking care of my brothers and sisters when I was a kid, so I’m Tennis Organization (AYTTO) to get ping pong into the new York city
trying to make up for lost time now. public middle schools.
- Who do you play ping pong with and how often? - When were you exposed to the Olympics/competitive table tennis?
I don’t get a chance to play very often, unfortunately, but when I do it’s I watched a little of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. And I’ve seen forest
usually with family or friends who come by SPiN and we hit back and Gump, of course.
forth for a few minutes. I’ve taken some lessons with you, Wally Green,
and Ernesto Ebuen. It’s fun to play with great players who can keep it on - How do you think SPIN is changing how society views ping pong?
the table for a long time.
SPiN is helping to establish ping pong as a sexy night time activity and
- What celebrities have you played against? bringing attention to some of the exciting American players who play it.
I played Jimmy Fallon on his TV show and beat him in a quick game to - Where are you planning to Open SPIN clubs around the world?
five points, so it wasn’t exactly an official match, but I was happy I won!
All over. We are talking with people right now in England, China, South
- What do you enjoy or like the most about ping pong? Africa, Germany, Dubai, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and we are opening in
Toronto next month.
I really love the democratic nature of the game. Not politically, of course,
but in the equalization of genders and ages and even handicapped players. - You are on your way to China for the 14th Shanghai Film Festival in
It’s also a great game for your brain which I think is important. June. You mentioned that you are going to use the trip as an opportunity
to play some ping pong with the SPIN Team against China! Are you
- Do you have any favorite styles to watch in table tennis or a favorite expecting to do well? Are you preparing for it now?
I am expecting the worst! I’m really not a good player and a little nervous
I am a fan of Jan Ove Waldner who I met and was able to convince to about playing on TV in China, but I’ve been told they will pair me with
travel to our club and perform his incredible style with former world a comparable player. However, I fear there aren’t any players in all of
champion Mikael Appelgren. I also really enjoy a young player at our China at my low level. I’ve taken several lessons with you , Wally Green,
club who’s 11 years old, his name is Alex Lippan and he’s a top junior and Kaz (Kazuyuki Yokoyama), so hopefully that will help me.
Photo by Steve Hopkins
- Why do you think table tennis is catching on as a cool game to play SPiN Galactic www.spingalactic.com
Because it’s more fun to play while drinking and socializing than bowling SPiN New York: 48 East 23rd Street New York NY 10010
or billiards and people are just bored with typical bars where there’s SPiN Milwaukee: 233 East Chicago Street, Milwaukee, 53202
nothing to do but stand around. Also, so many exciting entertainers and SPiN ST. Pete: 242 1st Ave, ST. Petersburg FL 33701
athletes enjoy ping pong so they’re bringing a new awareness of the SPiN Toronto: 461 King Street West, Toronto, ON, M5V 1K7
42 USA TABLE TENNIS MAGAZINE • Jul/Aug 2011 USA TABLE TENNIS MAGAZINE • Jul/Aug 2011 43