Odd Ball: Weird NYC Sports
by Jonathan Zeller, 01/02/2013
Courtesy, SPiN Galactic/SPiN New York
Dirty Dozen Pro Ping-Pong at Spin New York
What is it? We all know table tennis as a fun childhood basement activity and a serious sport that's contested on an Olympic level. The "Dirty Dozen" tournament held at Spin on Friday nights is strange because it brings professional players—who compete for a $500 prize—into a raucous, alcohol-fueled environment complete with a DJ, interactive audience games and, apparently, raunchy dancing.
Why should you go? Dora Kurimay, who has won the tournament twice, has traveled the world playing table tennis. But she's never encountered a degree of distraction on par with what she faces at Spin. "The first time I came to Spin and played a Dirty Dozen, I played against [elite men's player Kazuyuki Yokoyama], and he started removing his clothes," she remembered. While Kurimay was surprised, it seems such antic tournament behavior may not be unusual. Kurimay also says dealing with enthusiastic fans—who sometimes heckle—is a peculiar problem for a Ping-Pong player to have. Regardless, she calls it "a really fun environment."