New York City's Public School Athletic League declared both table tennis and badminton will be added to the long list of varsity sports offered at many of the organization's 200-plus schools. And, in a strange twist, actress Susan Sarandon — a reported Ping Pong enthusiast — couldn't be more happy about it.
“Table tennis improves the mind and the body with little physical risk or expense," the Academy Award winner told the New York Daily News, "and you can play for the rest of your life unlike other sports.”
Of course, Sarandon is among the owners of a chain of "ping-pong entertainment venues" called SPiN Galactic, including one in NYC that serves alcohol. The New York Times ran a 2008 feature detailing her love for the game along with other celebrities like 50 Cent and Jimmy Buffett. In other words, she's invested in a new generation of table tennis enthusiasts, and so is the U.S. Olympic Badminton Team.
"This program could be the catalyst that produces the first United States Olympic champion in the sport," USA Badminton CEO Dan Cloppas told the New York Daily News.
Well, maybe once China's Lin Dan and Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei retire.
According to the Daily News, New York City School Chancellor Carmen Fariña, like Sarandon, lauded the addition of the two sports to varsity play. Meanwhile, a recent study by a Bronx history teacher illustrated a disturbing discrepancy in the PSAL's funding for high- and low-income districts, and his school's requests for adding teams in traditional sports like baseball and volleyball have repeatedly been denied.
The PSAL also features cricket and double dutch among its varsity sports, according to the Daily News.