The two gross of ping pong balls that I ordered online aren’t here in time to spray paint them black to use as cannonballs for the party. So I went off this afternoon in search of the cheapest ping pong balls in bulk in San Francisco. It ended up being super awesome.
First I found this place online, AMDT Club. As I drove over to it I couldn’t quite picture where it was, somewhere on Lombard St. so either in North Beach or Chinatown or in between. But on the way there I ended up on top of a very steep hill, looking out over all of San Francisco, Coit Tower, and the Golden Gate Bridge. The shop was on Lombard, but on the part of it that feels like a quiet residential street, across from a park and public pool. As I pulled up in front of the store I realized it was a neighborhood center for kids. About 50 middle school kids mobbed the shop on their way home from school, buying trading cards, sodas and candy, and also getting ramen noodle cups and heating them up to eat in the front part of the store. The back of the store was the table tennis club. Kids pay $100 a year to be able to come in and play, and lessons cost extra. They also have home work tutoring. On their site you can see the kids in team uniforms.
I stood around the shop waiting to buy my 144 ping pong balls (the cheapest kind) appreciating the spirit of the shop owner and the people who run the ping pong club for kids, not just giving lessons but really making a community center where kids want to come and hang out. I feel like so many people don’t like the chaotic and lively nature of middle school and high school age kids, but here was a place where they were welcome and appreciated. How beautiful!