Atlanta has a reputation. I’ve lived here most of my life so I don’t always see Atlanta the same way that visitors from other places see it. It’s not Las Vegas, and it’s not New Orleans, or Miami Beach, but it’s definitely possible to get into some trouble during a layover in The ATL. The suburbs are a somewhat boring maze of subdivisions, churches, restaurants, and shopping areas. Inside the perimeter, where Sherman did most of his damage, it gets a little more interesting. The reality is, Atlanta can be a lot of fun. You just have to know where to look.
A quick search of clubs in Atlanta brings up such legendary spots as Goosebumps, The Cheetah, and The Clermont Lounge. I recently found myself without a place to play table tennis on a Tuesday night. All I really wanted was a place to have some good clean fun, competing against some good (but not too good) table tennis players. I certainly wasn’t dressed well enough to go any place where the employees weren’t wearing any clothes, so I did my own version of clubbing in Atlanta.
Fortunately, I did have some options as to where I could find a table tennis club. Paragon Golf Center has more table tennis going on than most table tennis clubs. I decided to cruise over and check it out. When I arrived, I was one of about five players, leaving about eight tables unoccupied. Gradually more players drifted in, and I began to get some quality matches against some good penholders, and somebody I apparently used to coach. At some point I noticed all the other tables had filled up, and everyone else was playing doubles. About half of the players were women, and there was a real party atmosphere that I hadn’t felt in a table tennis club in some time. I did notice some players congregating around a desk. Suspecting they were about to organize some league matches, I wandered over hoping to be included. I was promptly presented with a bowl of fruit, a smile, and a question about my paddle.
This mostly Korean club was having way more fun than I was used to. There wasn’t going to be any league competition. There didn’t seem to be any rules about signing up for tables, probably because everyone was so polite they didn’t need any. As it turned out, I got in several hours of quality matches. They kept sending over progressively better players until I was finally too exhausted to continue. I was happy to get a little different experience for once. I’d like to think I could take away some of the fun and friendliness from Paragon and infuse it into my own club. Not that I think the other Atlanta clubs aren’t friendly, they’re just generally not as hospitable. It’s fun to play against tough opponents. It’s fun to win, and not as much fun to lose. But if it’s a really good club, it’s fun just to show up.