The D.C. Council is used to a lot of back-and-forth, but it’s not usually this literal.
Councilman Charles Allen of Ward 6 joined seven other councilmembers for a ping pong tournament in Farragut Square this afternoon. The event was organized by at-large Councilman Vincent Orange and the Golden Triangle BID, which holds events in the square every Friday.
Allen faced off against Orange, as well as Council Chairman Phil Mendelson; at-large Councilwoman Elissa Silverman; councilmen Brandon Todd of Ward 4 and Jack Evans of Ward 3; and councilwomen LaRuby May of Ward 8 and Mary Cheh of Ward 3 in singles and doubles tournaments.
The Ward 6 councilman entered the tournament with little confidence, saying “I’m going to embarrass myself aren’t I?” before explaining that he hadn’t played ping pong since at least high school.
Allen faced a tough first-round game against Orange, who had the best serve on the Council. Orange knocked Allen out of the singles tournament easily with an 11-5 victory on his way to winning the whole competition.
Evans had the last laugh in the singles tournament, though. As Orange posed with his trophy, Evans interrupted and accused Orange of using deflated ping pong balls.
The smack talk from Evans continued into the doubles round, where Evans and Allen were paired. The two easily beat Mendelson and Silverman in the first round, but lost to May and Orange.
Allen joked throughout that his staff was not allowed to examine the ping pong tables prior to the tournament and was “playing in protest.” He joined several other councilmembers in accusing Orange of having an unfair advantage due to the orange-colored ping pong ball used.
Although he left the tournament empty-handed, Allen said he had fun competing against his fellow councilmembers and complimented the Golden Triangle BID on its work organizing events for the square.
“It’s just nice that the park is being used, whether it’s for ping pong or places people can sit and eat from the food trucks,” he said. “It’s good that it’s not just an empty space.”