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King Pong 2: With a Vengeance

Activity log of last week’s King Pong ATX tournament from Top Spun’s Bryan Au-Young.

4 P.M. Top Spun is currently masquerading in their “day jobs”. Quietly making creative stuff or fixing stuff or selling stuff when in reality, they know that their real job will begin in several hours. Chris Kocek stares longingly out the window in a conference room—envisioning the time when he will be unshackled from his back-to-back-to-back meetings to unfurl his ping pong fury to the rest of the world (or Austin Ad agencies at least).

5 P.M. Top Spun team members begin sneaking in YouTube video clips from Forest Gump for inspiration when nobody is watching. Joel Parr practices his angry face in front of the computer.

5:30 P.M. 1 ½ hr dynamic stretching session begins for Top Spun. Team members have carefully crafted their individual routines over the course of weeks to set their bodies up to peak right at 7 P.M. on Thursday night. Matt Kuhles runs up and down the stairs by the media pit with a blank sheet of paper. Some people think that he is in a hurry to get something somewhere. Top Spun knows that he’s just doing calisthenics.

6:30 P.M. The masses are gathering at GSD&M. Top Spun gathers in a conference room to talk strategy. Who was in charge of fronting the payment to Tonya Harding? It was probably Paul. He forgot. All he cares about is that damn Movember mustache. More stretching and hydrating.

6:45 P.M. GSD&M emerges from the Bonnie Hunter through a mass of fog, strobe lights and the Top Gun Anthem. Spectators think to themselves “wow, what a bunch of show-off—wait, is that a dinosaur tail?”. Team Top Spun has a dinosaur tail that shocks and awes the crowd.2011-11-10 21.21.38Bryan sported the dinosaur tail while Matt flew through the air during doubles semi-finals.

7:30 P.M. First round starts. It is announced that Brittany Hammer will be matched up against the 2010 King Pong Champion. Top Spun gives Brittany continuous encouragement with questions peppered in every now and then along the lines of “if you don’t make it out of this, can I have your iPod?” Brittany takes 2010 Champion to an epic 3rd game where she defeats him in the most stoic and introverted fashion you could imagine.

8:17 P.M. All GSD&M team members have made it out of the first round successfully, except for me but that’s ok because I’m playing doubles too and I have a dinosaur tail (so I’m the real winner of the night). Top Spun’s first doubles match begins. Top Spun drops the first set. Top Spun takes the second set. In the third and deciding set, the combination of thigh-high shorts, sweatbands, and a dinosaur tail is too much for Top Spun’s opponents to bear and they crack under the pressure on match point. Matt Kuhles only barreled into the barrier 4 times during this match, but he’s ok and has a 5 hour energy nearby just in case.

8:34 P.M. Charlie McClurg matches up with some guy who looks like he is really good at ping pong. If you’ve never seen Charlie play, just imagine someone who is wearing cinderblock shoes with Inspector Gadget arms that returns everything. Charlie takes this match 2-0 (I think…).

8:35 – 9 P.M. (?) I miss everything because I’m eating pizza.

9:15 P.M.  Chris Kocek and Brittany Hammer engage in a “cannibalization match”. They are not cannibals in real life, but metaphorically, we cannibalize a member of Top Spun in this match. Chris Kocek wins a hard-fought match. We have to get the janitor come mop up all the tears that the ground is soaked with — a dehydrated Chris moves on to the singles finals.

9:22 P.M. Doubles finals begins. Matt Kuhles and Bryan Au-Young cannot solve the mystery of the opposing team’s weird serve that accelerates on the second bounce. We lose really badly, but at this point we’re just happy to be here!

9:30 P.M. Chris Kocek and the guy who has been cast in the next Wranglers ping pong commercial square off. Never a close match, Chris takes home the gold, and is now the pride and joy of the advertising ping pong community (a small, but close-knit group). Wrangler guy mumbles, “damn you Brett Favre.”

10:00 P.M. GSD&M’s Team Top Spun takes home the trophy for first place. Well actually we were already home, so we just held it up really high.VictoryThe kings of pong: Joel, Paul, Matt, Charlie, Bryan, Brittany and Chris

Also pictured spirit coaches: Adele and Lindsey

Check out the full photo album here. Shout out to the other agencies for putting up a good fight. Until next year…

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