Ping Pong FUN

The word “Fun” instantly brings a change in facial expression. For just three letters many facial muscles get into action, 26 in fact. Is good, is Fun. Fun encompasses so many actions and inactions. Verbal sparring trying to out fun each other. The fun of a live classic comedian such as Billy Connolly, leaves the audience craving for less fun as the body, mouth and mind are just so exhausted from the mirth.

Fun in actions and fun of doing something satisfying that brings that glowing self acknowledgment of the process leading to the finish line.

Most recent fun has been just that. Creation of a Ping PongParty Top (name coined several years ago).

Have a big love of the ‘Pong’ mainly cultivated as an adult. A found Pong table from annual verge collection not far from a mates place. Was set up and sorted out. Bit of surface paint applied and substructure repaired, net, paddles and balls procured and we played. Not for points, just play. We became much better players (Garage Pong Rating Scale).

I fell in love. This philosophy of “just play” was liberating and lightened the mood. Comedy attached itself to the long times spent.

I started making a few tops, first off salvaged trestle table frame. Left over 9mm Plywood painted in gloss burnt orange. Alternative net structure was built in. Bounce not so great, but table about 3/4 normal table size, so seemed to work. It went on surf trips.

“It went on surf trips”

Others with better bounce (9mm MDF) were made to fit a spare kitchen table, one based on a local Aus Football League Club colours and two for my Cricket Club trestle tables. The Club tables received a fair workout and thumbs up from all that played, even though not standard size.

The key to a good hard and fast game was a slight reduction in net height to compensate for small reduction in length from traditional tables. With a satin polyurethane finish, they stood up to the rigors of Beer Pong as well. Tried, tested and passed as Party proof!

” … for my Cricket Club …… they stood up to the rigors of Beer Pong ……. Party Proof”

Was a fair way along to perfecting the net system. Engaged an Industrial designer to take the net system to decent prototype stage for potential production funding. That was 2014.

2015? Leave home for greener work pastures in Malaysia. PongParty Tops stopped dead in the water. Life was in a Condominium. Bit tricky trying to assemble something that required large boards, sawing and painting in a flat!

The PongParty just wouldn’t let go. Mind randomly reflecting on the previous few years endevours and still pushing to revive the love affair. Pretty difficult with the added disaster being that I didn’t know anyone that had an interest in Ping Pong. The musings were kept to myself.

Two years ago and the move back to landed property happened. Perfect timing as the Condo was starting to make me stir crazy, especially with the previous year basically locked up due to Covid. The day we moved, walked up the driveway and into the garage, instant PongParty light switched on and never turned off.

It took a while though. About three months ago, finally found a local source of MDF rather than the Plywood sheets that everyone here seems to sell. Bought it online as 2 x 4ft x 4ft pieces delivered to the door a few days later. All the tops are folding. Piano (continuous hinge) are my preference, but gained blank looks every time I inquired. Finally sourced on Lazada, but must have misread the dimensions as the hinge was more suitable for a Jewelry box rather than a table of substance. Reverted to standard door hinges easily sourced. Went through my leftover paints and chose a mix out of two distinct mauve tones. Went with black for highlights to edges and hinges.

Set up the trestle table that was bought a year earlier for this specific purpose and went to work. The family were intrigued and a bit mystified as progress continued. Gear came out – circular saw for a small amount of size reduction to width and length, jigsaw for the signature quarter circle corners, drill for the invisible screwing of the sub-frame and holes for hinge self tapping screws, various grades of sandpaper and all the paint gear.

Fun was had with the sawing, sanding, screwing, gluing and painting. Net fabrication was a bit more involved with MDF offcuts for the anchor structure. Twelve tiny pieces had to be carefully layered and glued as well as painted. Found some cheap nets at local sports store. Visited our local street tailor who wonderfully reduced their size and re-hemmed top and bottom for that professional look.

Main dilemma was the table finish. In the past only had to visit one of the major hardware chains to find my beloved water based satin finish polyurethane paint. No luck at all in KL. Only gloss finish and all solvent based. Online shopping platforms were the same. Finally settled on external house paint with the 15 year guarantee . Applied two top coats and finally ready to play. Yay! Will see how the scuffing from the paddles works out.

Have had a couple of sessions so far. One session with a total sceptic experienced ping pong player whose first impression of the PongParty top was too skinny and short. He did like the rounded corners though. Challenged him up and all of a sudden he was under pressure to perform.

Smashes, crazy spin action, drop shots, lets and edges all came into play. Half and hour later, the sweat was beading and dripping. Cardio rate firmly up! I still got beat but held my own. The smile on the dial from both of us was more than enough satisfaction of the Fun that had been had.

Naked with first paint coat applied. Love those rounded corners. Safety endorsed by Mums!

Never let the Itch diminish and die. The cliche saying of “where there is a will there is a way”, truly describes the last seven years in the pursuit of PongParty fun again.

“Where there is a will there is a way”

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