Princeton Pong is a fulltime club in New Jersey that has 14 excellent tables and a professional coaching staff. Kathy Lane is the facility’s owner and Princeton Pong was initially founded by her husband Flint Lane in 2014.
Although Mr. Lane is the more active table tennis player, Mrs. Lane observes and appreciates the diverse and amicable table tennis community they have fostered in their club. “I only play for fun but have found the sport to be so engaging for so many people of so many ages- I am surprised that the bug hasn't bit me,” she remarked.
According to a Facebook post in Mr. Lane’s Table Tennis Club Owners page, he first started playing the true sport after Mrs. Lane gave him a birthday present in the form of table tennis lessons from three-time US Olympian David Zhuang. Zhuang and Mr. Lane would later go on to start Princeton Pong, with Zhuang as Head Professional Coach.
Another important player for the Princeton Pong scene has been General Manager Ben Rosenberg. Initially a master of another sport, golf, he says he first became acquainted with Mr. Lane at a driving range where he taught. Later, Rosenberg became the general manager for Mr. Lane’s facility, and he says although the first year he dedicated himself to increasing revenue, “I knew something was missing.”
He realized he didn’t have the technical background as well as the information about equipment and what not for table tennis. As he attempted to increase his savvy with skills in a new sport, he started to improve his own game. “All this allowed me to achieve a 1200 rating and best of all a love for a sport I never thought possible,” Rosenberg stated.
As owner during these difficult pandemic times, Mrs. Lane has been trying to keep in touch with members by sending emails checking in and expressing gratitude for their continued patronage. The club is still awaiting the green light to reopen to the public. Since there are still costs with maintaining the club, exacerbated by no one playing, Mrs. Lane says a lot of members have stepped up and still pay their subscriptions.
Regarding reopening procedures, Mrs. Lane and staff have been extensively planning on how to best social distance and keep everyone safe. This means the use of masks as well as initially only having singles play. Also, less tables will be used in order to space out the players in the facility. However, as Mrs. Lane noted, “All of these protocols are subject to change on a weekly basis.”
Finally, when asked about what words of encouragement he would offer to those waiting to play midst the pandemic lockdown, Rosenberg suggested,
“…try reading or finding unique ways to practice in your home. Practicing your stroke in a mirror could be one or doing specific exercises to strengthen your table tennis muscles. We will get through this, together as a community stay #pongpositive. Look forward to seeing us ALL back on the court!”
Best of luck to Princeton Pong and all you other clubs out there waiting so patiently to reopen in the safest of conditions.