Councilmember Peter F. Vallone, Jr. put a spin on charity work by following the bouncing ball in a ping pong tournament.
Vallone competed in the “Everything You Know Is Pong: Tournament of Champions,” a celebrity table tennis tournament, on November 10 at Lincoln Center alongside 15 other players, including “30 Rock” actor and comedian Judah Friedlander, “Daily Show” comedian John Oliver and New York Times crossword editor & National Public Radio contributor Will Shortz.
“It was a great event, the Atrium was packed, there were actual celebrities as opposed to myself,” Vallone said. “It raised money for a good cause.”
Friedlander won the tournament, besting Shortz in two-of-three games and winning 11-9 in the final game.
“There is something to be said for the World Champion shirt he was wearing,” Vallone said of Friedlander’s victory, referencing his shirt with the words “World Champion.”
“I went down swinging,” Vallone said of his own performance. “I’m going to do much better next time.”
The event was organized by authors Roger Bennett and Eli Horowitz to celebrate their new book, Everything You Know Is Pong, which provides a colorful historical account of the sport. Its proceeds will go to 826NYC, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping children develop their creative and expository writing skills through tutoring, workshops and field trips.
With offices located in Brooklyn, 826NYC offers one-on-one attention in their writing center structured around a core belief that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success in any field.
Vallone, a table tennis aficionado, won a championship at Fordham College and, afterwards, was invited to play against the Chinese national ping pong team on ABC’s “Wide World of Sports.” Vallone credits quick-thinking abilities and a healthy sense of competition in part to ping pong.
Vallone and his two brothers were taught how to play by their father, former Speaker of the City Council Peter F. Vallone, Sr., at the Astoria local Boys and Girls Club. Vallone in turn taught his daughters, nieces and nephews the game.