Mercer adds pang pong at the park

September 20, 2004|BOBBIE CURD

HARRODSBURG - Mark Bryant is happy that Hitachi has decided to bring the Japanese game pang pong to Anderson-Dean Community Park.

"I think it will catch on, and eventually I'd like to start a league," said Bryant, director of the park.

Pang pong is a game that started in 1922 in Hitachi City, Japan. It resembles a cross between tennis and ping pong, and seems to be gaining some popularity not only in Japan but at the nearby Hitachi plant. The company has courts on-site where employees can play and also sponsors a tournament where two winners will be sent to Japan to compete in the finals.

Bryant said Hitachi approached him in August about constructing the courts at the park, and they quickly put it in front of the park board for approval. "Hitachi is paying for the courts, and I feel like this will eventually draw more people to us," said Bryant.


Bryant added that Hitachi will build the paddles at their facility, as well as purchase the balls used in the game from Hawaii - the only state in the country that sells them.

One court is already painted out beside the Hitachi shelter. It basically consists of a large rectangle painted around a smaller rectangle. The court layout is 8 feet wide by 23 feet long, and the traditional "net" that would normally be used is replaced by a 1 by 4 wooden board that is 16 inches from the surface.

The courts under construction are near the batting cage, and the work is moving along quickly. Bryant said he hopes to have lights installed in the future for nighttime play. The courts will be open to the public after completion.

Chuck Taylor, a quality control engineer, has been playing the game on his lunch hour at Hitachi.

"I really enjoy it; it's great exercise," he said. "But I do come back to my desk pretty sweaty in the middle of the day."

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