The sound of plastic pings echo like a chorus of metronomes throughout the second floor of the Falls Center. It’s been home to Trolley Car Table Tennis Club since this January, and practice sessions are open to the public Monday through Friday evenings from 6 to 10 p.m. for $5.
Nimble-footed competitors of all ages prance across the floors during the weeknight practices. Little chatter is heard but the tapping of plastic tennis balls as they’re dashed against paddle and table, and the occasionally shot of “yes” punctuating a point scored. “I don’t know of anything else where you can pay $5 to do something this fun for four hours,” says Trolley Car Table Tennis Club tournament director Bruce Crawley. Crawley, 58, of Bucks County, got hooked on competitive table tennis as a wayward youngster in a juvenile detention center, where a ping pong board was the only entertainment.”You had to learn to win if you wanted to keep playing,” Crawley says. Crawley organizes the tennis club’s tournaments, which are scheduled for every other month through 2012. Their tournament this Sunday, June 5 is open to the public and begins at 9:30 in the morning.Trolley Car Diner and Cafe owner Ken Weinstein founded the the table tennis club as a non-profit because Philadelphia had no such organization. Weinstein’s club is sanctioned by USA Table Tennis, the national organizing body for the sport. People who compete in the tournaments held by Trolley Car every month are ranked by USATT.”We accommodate people from all levels of play, from the beginner to the very experienced,” says Weinstein. “That’s the amazing thing for table tennis, that people come together who wouldn’t normally come together to enjoy this game.”