May 8th, 2012 is the first annual Pongapalooza event, a ping pong tournament at SPiN Toronto in support of First Book Canada, an organization that brings awareness to low literacy rates in Canada and gets new books to children in need.
I’ve been asked to participate as an honorary team captain for Pongapalooza. Or, as it’s become affectionately known to me, Pongadongadingdong, because I never spell it right the first time.
First Book Canada stats to blow your mind:
- 90 million books have been donated to date;
- 35,000 books donated each day;
- More than 29 million children across Canada and the United States live in low-income households. Most of these children have no age-appropriate books at home, and the classrooms and programs they attend are woefully under-resourced. Approximately two-thirds of these schools and programs cannot afford to buy books at retail prices.
While I’m thrilled to participate in Pongapingdongdongarama, I won’t lie, I’m somewhat relieved that I won’t actually be playing. It’s not because I don’t have a wicked wrist—I do. I played racquetball off a painted brick ball at the local “Y” as a child, so there’s nothing you can’t toss at me that I can’t toss back. (I toppled my water just as I wrote that and may have fried my laptop.) And, yes, it’s true, I did once break a girl’s nose with a shuttlecock off my badminton overhead shot. But . . . yesss . . . it’s plausible that I’ve been reprimanded a few times — maybe more — for foul language when my ball hits the tin on the squash court.* It’s probably for the best that I simply scream encouragement from the sidelines.
*While the above is true, so is the fact that I’ve won some version of “The Good Sport Award” in all things sporting and leisurely. We’re going to have a great time! You should come watch!