Yoshi and Nevin arrive together, unnoticed. As the rest of the Bellhouse fraternity gather for Amateur Ping Pong, steadying our nerves with $2 Bud lights, infantile one-upmanship, and delusions of grandeur, Yoshi and Nevin take to the tables with their own balls and paddles, readying themselves with shadow play, carefully sand-bagging their way through the first few rounds.
It used to be that you had to either be Chinese, North Korean or an eighties throwback in matching sweatbands, tight shorts with a strong command of power-ballads to command any respect from across the net. But times done changed and the Bellhouse has thrown it’s Amateur Ping Pong night open to any rank amateur, any dreamer that has awoke paddle in hand from another all-night training session, any heartbroken would-be-Olympian, any Brooklynite that’s grown weary of Skeeball, Shuffleboard, Barcade or lonely drunken nights with surly bartenders and country music, this means YOU.
Tonight is more about selling beer than discovering future champions, it is at once a clash of metal and pine, of Metallica and pong, it is an all swilling, all twiddling homage to the armchair athlete, a Wiifit gone 3D.
It was so supposed to be so easy. I, the reluctant hero, throw the requisite $5 in the kitty, biding my time in the early rounds, reserving my patented counter-clockwise spin serve for the Semis, my non-chalant smile and easy-going nature hiding the truth of my Machiavellian gambit.