With a Paddle

Local table-tennis players whack away

When Forrest Gump was on the All-American Ping-Pong team, he just loved playing ping-pong with his Flexolite paddle. Okay, so Forrest Gump didn't really exist, and Flexolite manufactures pest foggers, but don't hold that against ping-pong -- or, rather, table tennis. As far as paddle games go, it's more popular than age-old fraternity spankings and, arguably, tennis itself. In Houston, there's a great following for the sport, and the Houston Table Tennis Association ensures that local players get to take a swipe at it. Founded in 1998, HTTA is an organization whose mission is to promote table tennis locally and internationally. Table tennis is, after all, a pretty wholesome sport. Located on the west side, the HTTA's facility has several tables and a few world-ranked players. But no worries: The place welcomes all. Says Bob O'Neill of the HTTA, "We have some players in their seventies. I do it for the enjoyment and for exercise. It's an addictive sport." No word on any 12-step groups dedicated to ping, er, table tennis. 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays; and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays. 11109 Bellaire. For information, call 713-270-5511 or visit www.htta.net. $4 to $7. -- Eric Norvell

Road Rage

SAT 8/21

Of course, if you were a truefan, you'd hop a 737 and follow the Texans to Kansas City, Indianapolis and Pittsburgh. But maybe you're broke, or you just don't want to interact with anyone north of Austin. Then the next best thing might be to hit the official Texans Road Show at one of Houston's three Baker St. Pub & Grill locations. You and the other half-assed fans can watch all the games -- home and away -- on plasma TVs, eat fish and chips and hang out with the occasional cheerleader. It's no Reliant, but it beats staying at home, drinking by yourself and throwing Fritos at the dog every time Carr goes down. The Road Show kicks off at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, August 21. Baker St. Pub & Grill, 15970 City Walk, Sugar Land. For information, call 281-494-0774. Free. -- Julia Ramey

 
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