Still got that Olympic fever? Take a lesson from me: eating the Michael Phelps Breakfast at Pete’s Grille won’t fill up your need. But visiting the elite training facilities of America’s best ping pong players just might; good thing it’s not far away at all.
The Maryland Table Tennis Center (formerly known as the National Table Tennis Center) in Gaithersberg is the home of Olympians, national champions, national junior champions, and — because ping pong players are no dummies — junior players who’ve snagged college acceptances to Harvard, Princeton, MIT, and Yale. (It’s also the place where a 12 year old bounced a ping pong ball off his ping pong paddle 1210 times in a row last week, which is pretty impressive, too.)
Earlier this month, Washington Times dubbed table tennis “a sport for nerds,” claiming that it was one of the only Olympic sports that most viewers can identify with. “It requires no strength, speed, musculature — or even practice, just a little hand-eye coordination,” Gerald Nachman claims. Well, we’d like to lock him in a room with some of the kids from MDTTC and see what happens. With all the top spin, wicked angles, and power serves of real tennis, table tennis requires its own blend of agility, hand-eye coordination, and daring. Plus, didn’t Nachman get the memo that ping pong is newly hip?
If you’re interested in improving your game, MDTTC offers summer and Christmas camps for kids, Thursday night group classes, Friday night leagues, birthday parties, and — if you’re really stepping up your game — an invitation-only elite league. Well, we can dream, can’t we?
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