When did you start playing Ping Pong and/or Table Tennis?
I played mostly Ping Pong in High School and college a little bit. Then I would say last year, maybe three months ago, I finally discovered this place. I started playing here almost 2-3 times a week.
What about the game resonated with you to stick with it?
I needed a place to work out, lose some weight, and actually have fun doing it. There’s a lot of good guys to play with and I got better, and they were helping me to get better by encouraging me to play. It reminds me of growing up as a kid and playing.
What’s your favorite part about the game?
There is a lot of strategies involved, it’s not just aimlessly hitting the ball, there’s a lot more to it. Different kind of shots, paddles, ways of playing the game, different styles– so that’s one of the main reasons why I like this game. You can go deeper and deeper and it just gets better.
Do you have any special tricks, strategies, or moves?
I play with long pips. My style is a little different. Not many people have that style. It can be effective, depending on what level you’re playing. So I play close to the table with long pips, which actually if I chop, it reverses the spin. I use that as my primary weapon.
What has Pure Pong in the Pearl brought to your game?
More than anything else, it’s a community and subculture. Different guys and different styles trying to get better, hanging out with them, getting to know them, they’re helping you, you’re helping them. Overall, it’s a community for ping pong. The primary reason why I keep coming back here is that the guys are great.
What’s your biggest challenge playing Ping Pong?
People trying to figure out my game and get better, while I’m also working on understanding their styles. I think the biggest challenge is that it requires a lot of hard work and coaching to get better. I love playing matches; I don’t like practice. I think that’s my biggest problem.
Have you inspired any friends or family to play Ping Pong, also?
I recently played a Nationals tournament in Vegas and live-streamed some of my matches on Facebook. I had a whole bunch of friends from India and other parts of the country watch me and become inspired to pick up the sport. I had a blast playing there for almost three days in a row.
Next to Ping Pong, what’s your favorite free time activity?
Food! Portland’s a good city for food. Watching movies, going to the bar, hanging out with friends, just the usual stuff. But this has replaced a lot of useless stuff I would do. This is a lot more meaningful and it obviously helps me be in shape.