There’s nothing Wriggle‘s head honcho Rob loves more than a few rounds of Table Tennis after work. You’ll often find him lunging over a table, paddle in one hand and beer in the other, battling against anyone who’s willing. Here’s why he rates table tennis and his favourite spots to roll up for a game in Bristol.
I have a theory – everyone loves table tennis. I’ve yet to find someone who straight-up doesn’t like it. Personally, I find that there is something innately satisfying about a long rally in table tennis, something mesmeric about the movement of the ball, and the hypnotic rhythmic noise of its bounce on either end of the table, closely followed by the strike of the bat. That’s probably me overthinking it a bit – but here’s my 5-step guide to why everyone loves table-tennis.
- It’s not hard! However uncoordinated you are, however incapable of kicking a football, or throwing a ball without appearing to have an epileptic fit, you can hit a table-tennis ball over a net. It doesn’t look easy – the ball and bat are small for starters – and it certainly appears harder than hitting a tennis ball with a tennis racket – and yet the same people who can never connect with a tennis ball (cue “hole in racket” joke) still seem perfectly capable of prodding a table-tennis ball back back over the net.
- Let’s face it, it’s not really physical exercise (apologies to any professional table-tennis players who, for some obscure reason, might read this) – so no need to put yourself through hell to have a good game.
- Since it’s not physically tiring, players don’t sweat (much!) meaning that you can play in your mufty. No need to nip home for a shower and a change afterwards.
- People play better after a few drinks. It’s an unwritten rule in the table-tennis world that there is an almost directly proportional correlation between the amount of alcoholic drinks consumed and performance. With a few drinks down you, a player’s shot-making becomes unstoppable – infused with dutch courage and reckless abandon. And any sport that can be enjoyed whilst drinking is ok by me.
- Finally, because it’s played in such a small space, at the same time as pinging the shining orb of plastic backwards and forwards between yourself and your opponent, you can discuss the situation in Syria, or the relative merits of the latest notch on your bedpost – basically enjoy a good ol’ chinwag.
Sam shows off his secret weapon: the leaping leopard of doom (forehand, of course)
So basically, the secret of table tennis’s popularity is that you can play a game which everyone is able to play, at the same time as drinking and chatting, and without having to wear lycra and sweatbands. In short, it’s a fun way to enhance your interaction with your mates – whether at home, at a friend’s, in the pub or at one of the many places to eat in Bristol. And there just happen to be a few great places to play table-tennis in Bristol which you should head to with your mates. So next time you’re planning which pub or bar to go to, how about heading for a game of table-tennis and a beer at one of these places (and feel free to add any other suggestions in the comments below):
- Club Haus – This is a hidden gem on the ping pong scene in Bristol and it’s our go-to place for a game after work. There’s plenty of tables available and a great selection of beer and grub. Club Haus also hosts Battle of the Paddle – get your work pals together and sign up!
- Kongs – Get on down to Bristol’s Beer-muda Triangle, grab a paddle, and get your game on. Kongs has one table right next to the bar (so it’s easy to top up your pints) and you can battle for 30 minutes at a time. There’s usually a great bunch down there ready to challenge to too.
- Wiff Waff, Ping Pong Noshery – If you’re after a game of ping pong with a great coffee and some sweet treats, this is the place for you. Don your sweat bands and head over there one lunch soon.
- Ping Pong Parlour – It’s a simple but great set-up: a number of table-tennis tables dotted around, top-notch music pumped out, and lots of friendly people up for a game. It’s over in Easton on Tuesday evenings – all in all, a great evening and very good value. No alcohol served, so bring along a few tinnies.
- Parks around Bristol – If you want a bit of fresh air, you can head to one of a number of parks in which metal tables have been installed as part of the Olympic celebrations of 2012. All you have to do is bring along a couple of bats and a ball, and a drink or two – and away you go.