The competition grows stiffer week by week – more Door County residents are making their way to the Cornerstone Pub in Baileys Harbor wearing tennis shoes, gripping their own ping pong paddles, and showing off their signature moves: fancy serves, crazy ball spins, and mad skills.
At 7 pm every Tuesday, the Cornerstone’s Matt Koehler wanders from patron to patron, as they enjoy a beer and/or delicious pizza. “You playing?” he asks. And the Ping Pong Tournament begins.
“It’s going well,” says Koehler, assigning players to their respective tables, set up in the cleared dining area. “There is a core group, and then more people keep showing up.”
One regular pong player is Aaron Richards. “It’s a very good way to spend a winter Tuesday night,” he says, sitting on the edge of the pool table, waiting his turn with paddle in hand. When asked if he feels like he’s improving, he laughs, “It doesn’t feel like it because there’s lots of good competition.”
Another regular participant is Wally Vartanian, who consistently appears in the championship round, and like many others, brings his own paddle.
“I travel with my paddle in the car,” he admits. “You never know when pong will happen, especially in Wisconsin.”
“It’s a heck of alotta fun!” he says, referring to the weekly tournament. “Everybody is stepping up their game.”
When asked where he acquired his mad skills, he says, “I worked for a Japanese company for 10 years, and got schooled in the cafeteria…for about 10 years.”
Vartanian plays, once more, in the championship round – but this time his competitor, Dave Wohnrade, out pongs him, and takes the glory…at least until next Tuesday.
The Ping Pong Tournament will continue every Tuesday throughout the Door County off-season. The Cornerstone Pub is located on Highway 57, across from Nelson’s Hardware in downtown Baileys Harbor. For more information call 920.839.9001.