AfterDark at the Pongathon City Challenge

On the 6th of March 2012, I became part of a new club. A close friend and I welcomed Pongathon into our lives and it was the best Tuesday night I have had whilst living and working in London for the past 2 and a half years. I got drafted into the Pongathon City Challenge on late notice as a team re-schedueled their appearance to the 20th of March event, so Adrian ( Mr Pongathon) gave me a call Friday evening and I jumped at the chance of taking part!

The late notice meant my 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and probably 6th choice partner could not make it, so I called up the 7th choice man Josh, who politely agreed to make up the other half of AfterDark’s team! (I should add that Josh was my 7th choice only because I had seen him play once…against me…he lost 11-0,11-0 and 11-1.)

So it was fair to say that my expectations were not high when we were escorted to our table by the friendly Pongathon staff! The point wasn’t to go there and wipe the floor with everyone, (although in one of our games floor wiping was required as one of Josh’s serves sent the opposition flying back, knocking over my beer…onto Josh’s jacket) but was, for once, about taking part and supporting Adrian and the Pongathon organisation.

The first game got off to a good start, with us winning the right to serve first after the opposition failed to chose the correct hand the ball was in. This was a phycological win for the AfterDark team, and is the only thing we did win all night. In fact we won the right to serve first in all three games! Game one we lost convincingly 11-4, 11-5 with Josh’s game improving considerably each point. His tendency to direct the ball straight into the net did start to become frustrating but rather than moan I just made him pay for the next round!

2 beers down, the confidence levels were at an evening high and the wrist loosened up allowing me to hit a few of my famous back-hand winners. Josh had managed to work out the aim of the game was to get the ball OVER the net and we begun giving the opposition a run for their money. We would have been happy with one game, let alone a match! The second match was less of a walk over but sadly only 2 games long as Wiff-Waff-Wallop beat us 11-6 11-8. The most memorable point of that game being AfterDark leading the second game 6-8, only to throw it away with a succession of double faults…Still we went into the final game against Karamara Gold in high spirits and even higher confidence as we begun, to finish, our third beers. We managed a fight in the first game with it finishing 11-7 but let all the hard work go in the final game losing 11-3.

But wait, I was not done making a fool of myself! There was one more thing the Pongathon team had in store for me, the Hoola-Hoop challenge was awaiting me on the next door table. I signed up quickly, only to be told I was 11th on the list! EVERYONE was keen to have a go and that was so refreshing to see that people were so keen on giving it a go. (Even though we knew we would all be making a bit of a fool of ourselves!) It was great to see everyone cheering each contestant on with people laughing with each other and never at them. On a serious note, you felt comfortable there in the environment and the whole crowd was approachable, something that is very unusual nowadays.

So Josh and I came out of the evening with one slightly soggy jacket and a bruised ego from the thrashing we received on the ‘court’. Will I go back on the 20th of March and for other future events? Hell yes! I also met a load of great new people, ended up trying to beat the ‘PongBot’ whilst hoola-hooping (no easy feat I must add) AND spent the night drinking and playing the sport I love in a great location and atmosphere!

At the risk of sounding like I am trying to plug Pongathon…GO, try it out and I can bet you a beer that you will be back again. Well done to Karamara Gold and Deli Stars for progressing through to the next round, and for those of you who haven’t already, REGISTER A TEAM! No matter how good or bad you are, it is the perfect excuse to get out on a Tuesday night, meet some new people and have some fun playing a sport we all love!




Pongathon Challenges the City!

ADPP met up with Pongathon’s Adrian, to talk about their latest project…The Pongathon City Challenge. Click here to read the interview and find out how you can enter!

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