The Brooklyn Paper has caught March Madness — and given the resurgence of Ping Pong, there was only one cure: An NCAA-style, bracket-enabled, three-round grudge match.
In this corner, The Brooklyn Paper’s under-rated table tennis team of Mike “Paddles” McLaughlin, “Kosher” Gersh Kuntzman, Vince “Illegal Serve” DiMiceli and Ben “Nails” Muessig.
Opposing us was a rag-tag band that included Mike Weiss and Tim Cunnane of Mikey’s Hook Up, Sarah “The Big Blogger” Portlock, and Eric Demby of the Brooklyn Flea, an antiques market (every weekend in DUMBO!).
The favorite? Weiss, of course. He not only plays the game on specially installed tables at both his DUMBO and Williamsburg stores, but his brother played table tennis in the Junior Jewish Olympics.
Round 1 matches
Weiss vs. McLaughlin: Alas, McLaughlin, whose prior experience at Ping Pong consisted solely of some semi-pro ball in his native Mohegan Lake, was the sacrificial lamb, falling to Weiss 11–1.
Demby vs. Muessig: The Brooklyn Paper’s junior reporter fell to Demby, who obviously learned spin during his time as a speechwriter for Borough President Markowitz.
DiMiceli vs. Kuntzman: Brooklyn Paper Señor Editor DiMiceli was no match for Kuntzman, who also competed at the Junior Jewish Olympics (albeit as a circumcision verifier). Kuntzman graciously allowed DiMiceli to use an illegal serve, then trounced him 11–2.
Cunnane vs. Portlock: Despite her 1970s-style World B. Free headband, superblogger Portlock folded like a cheap camping tent, losing 11–3.
Round 2 matches
Weiss vs. Kuntzman: This was a bit of a grudge match, and the PC-loving Kuntzman jumped out to an early lead over Mac-man Weiss. But Kuntzman collapsed in a blizzard of Weiss backspin, falling 11–4.
Cunnane vs. Demby: In the closest-fought match of the day, Cunnane bested Demby, 11–6, on a bad unforced error by the Flea man.
Weiss vs. Cunnane: Perhaps it was to be expected — that The Brooklyn Paper’s March Madness Classic would come down to two men who spend half their workday playing ping-pong. The game was close, of course, but Weiss won it on a backhand smash that was good enough to be in a Senior Jewish Olympics!
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