For those that missed out on the fun, EARLY morning action back in April, Drew Carney from the morning KGW News Channel 8 came to see what Pure Pong is all about after first opening. Over 20 Ping Pong players moseyed in at 4:30 a.m. to play, show their support, and be part of the filming–strong evidence of the incredible passion the Portland Ping Pong community has for both the sport, and Pure Pong, though maybe it was the Voodoo donuts and free coffee we gave away… you be the judge. Regardless, we again so appreciate everyone that has, and continues to come play at Pure Pong. We also thank Drew for coming in, we had a blast, and if you see this post, we have your Pure Pong t-shirt waiting!
Picture it. Tuesday, June 24th, twelve of the City’s fiercest and most skilled competitors battling it out in the quaint Pearl District of Portland. With sweat on their brow, victory on their mind, cocktail in one hand and a trusty paddle in the other, the players knew this was no time games–for they shared one common goal. The players had received an exclusive invitation, extended only to la creme de la Ping Pong crop, to see if they lived up to their esteemed reputation as a force to be reckoned with. Those who proved themselves, would then be invited to participate in the upcoming baddest and dirtiest tournament this town has ever seen–the Northwest Dirty Dozen (ND12) at Pure Pong. Details of the tournament are not to be disclosed at this time, as Pure Pong in the Pearl fears the lavishness of the prizes and the innovative format that involves not only the elite chosen 12, but other unforeseen challengers as well, will be too exciting, distracting the pro players from meeting full playing potential.
The players arrived to find their names written on Ping Pong balls, that were then placed in the magic golden drum to select the play format for the evening. Among them, was Apichart Sears. Pure Pong is delighted to have a player of Sears’ caliber participating. Having been awarded MVP by the U.S. Olympic Training Center, Sears stands to be quite the contender in ND12, and an incredible athlete to watch. The players participated in a Round Robin tournament, receiving “Pure Points”, which is a new points system that awards elite players depending on match outcomes. Over $120 worth of certificates to Pink Rose, a sponsor and fabulous neighboring lounge for cocktails and eats, were given out for the evening as the first of many prizes to be allocated over the coming weeks. See who was invited, and how the players’ points stacked up from the first qualifying night for ND12 below.
The esteemed Multnomah Athletic Club (The MAC) is the place to congregate for many active and affluent individuals in the Portland area. Established in 1891, The MAC Club has stood as a prestigious facility, promoting health and enriching the lives of the 17,000 members that enjoy the fine cuisine, and renowned social events as daily amenities at the MAC.
Alan Peters, a member of the MAC club for over 60 years, has found that while the benefits of membership are plentiful, the MAC, along with the majority of athletic clubs in the country, is missing one thing—Ping Pong! Ping Pong players have long battled the nay-sayers and non-supporters of Table Tennis as a recognized sport in Athletic Clubs around the nation. Currently, the MAC club only accommodates Ping Pong on Tuesdays and Thursday from 7:00 p.m. to 9 p.m. any Ping Pong lover knows this simply is not enough! Peters, along with other Table Tennis players that are MAC members, were elated to learn about Pure Pong in the Pearl’s opening. Excited about this opportunity to finally have a space to play that not only recognizes Table Tennis as a legitimate sport, but is the largest club in the nation and located right down the road from the MAC, Peters invited Pure Pong owner, Duane Smith down to meet MAC’s Ping Pong players and extend an olive branch.
On Thursday, May 23rd, Smith did just that—bringing with him five of Pure Pong’s top quality tables and assisting Peters as emcee, while meeting the players during their Thursday session, introducing them to Pure Pong, and giving away prizes that included Pure Pong t-shirts and free play tickets!
“He was a real gem” Said Peters of Smith’s visit to the MAC club. “We’re envious of the space and availability of tables Pure Pong members have. I truly think it’s (Pure Pong) going to be the epicenter of Ping Pong” Said Peters.
Smith had a great time meeting the MAC players, a few of which have joined as a Pure Pong members since! Pure Pong hopes to collaborate with MAC club Ping Pong players in the future, in the hope of promoting Ping Pong, and supporting the movement of popularizing Table Tennis as a fun and healthful sport in Portland and across the nation! Smith hopes to see more MAC members playing at Pure Pong and is open to hosting tournaments and fun events in collaboration with the MAC Club in the future.
Pure Pong’s first group of Wednesday Night League players battled it out with paddles in hand and gumption in heart last night, to determine which team would be deemed champion after six weeks of exciting competition and good spirited trash talk. The color coordinated teams’ scores were relatively comparable heading into the finals, though there could only be one winning team from each of the two divisions. With prizes from sponsors including other Pearl District hot sports for socializing and fab food like Pink Rose and Justa Pasta, stakes were high. In the end, the blue team took first in Division I, and in Division II, the black team’s skill and perseverance proved to be indestructible.
Division I winners- Blue Team:
- Weiss, Jake
- Dogra, Raj
- Smith, Bryna
- Beck, Jenny
- Lackie, Frank
Division II winners- Black Team:
- Whisler, Casey
- Iovan, Laurentiu
- Harmon, Sally
- Stephenson, Trevor
- Wetherbee, Erin
Owner and Ping Pong enthusiast, Duane Smith, took to the microphone for the awards ceremony following the victories. Having been the star of his own show in Vegas before starting West Coast Event Productions 33 years ago, and most recently Pure Pong, Smith was in his element in front of the crowd. Everyone was jolly despite some of their losses. It is undetermined if this is because a Ping Pong players’ spirit can never be broken, or if the drinks from Pink Rose and Bridgeport Brewery, food from Silver Dollar and J Mo’s Sandwich Shack food cart just hit the spot. Regardless, a great time was had by all. A few curious spectators joined in the fun from off the street, and one of the players even brought their own mascot (see the furry cheerleader below). In all, the first round of Wednesday Night League was a great success. Pure Pong thanks the nearly 50 players that participated, and especially Tim Titrud and Alan Zimmerman for their passion for the sport, and helping ensure this event came together each week.
The next League will begin Wednesday, June 12th at Pure Pong. Come in to sign up at at 6:30 p.m. and watch for more details on the Tournaments & League and Calendar page coming shortly, or feel free to drop us a line with further inquires! Everyone is welcome, and we hope to see some familiar faces from the Spring League for a rematch!