SPiN's grand opening: Ping pong with pros and celebs for charity

SPiN, the ping pong social club co-founded by Susan Sarandon, made its official debut on March 10,  at 344 N. State St. with a private VIP celebration in partnership with Esquire and White Girl Rosé. Chuck and I attended and the crowd scene was insane! Who knew ping pong was so popular? A red carpet led guests into the 16,000 sq-ft. space where they helped toast the club's mission of supporting underprivileged youth and, of course, PING PONG!

Spotted at the star-studded event were familiar faces, including CHICAGO PD cast Sophia Bush, Jesse Lee Soffer, Brian Geraghty, and Marina Squerciati. Currently in Chicago filming season three of the hit NBC drama created by Dick Wolf and Matt Olmstead, the cast enjoyed a fun night out after a day on the set. Also spotted in the crowd was famed personality Josh ‘The Fat Jewish’ Ostrovsky, who gave a special ping pong performance in Center Court.

Susan Sarandon was scheduled to host the event, but unfortunately had an injury while hiking in Columbia that prevented her from attending. She recorded a video message for guests stating her excitement for the opening of the Chicago ping pong club, and her regrets for not being there to share the moment. SPiN CEO Pieter Vanermen also gave remarks and expressed gratitude surrounding support from the local community on SPiN’s mission to give back.

Ping pong enthusiasts enjoyed two special shows that featured Ostrovsky who played a thrilling game against ping pong champion Soo Yeon Lee, and the ‘Dirty Dozen’ in which notable SPiN pros including ping pong showman, Wally Green, and Kazuyuki Yokoyama, the best defensive player in America, went head-to-head for a crowd-pleasing match. Another opening match featured Alex Perez and Malin Pettersson (the lady won!) The evening also highlighted an electric performance by widely-known singer and beatbox sensation KRFNX (Terry Im), and music was spun by the uber-talented, DJ Luxxury.

Guests sipped on handcrafted cocktail creations expertly concocted by acclaimed Mixologist Benjamin Newby and Chef Ariel Bagadiong dazzled guests with delicious bites utilizing sustainable ingredients.

The evening recognized SPiN’s mission to support underprivileged youth. In partnership with STIGA, SPiN will generously donate tables to two Chicago Public Schools, Jacob Beidler Elementary in East Garfield Park and Dulles School of Excellence in Englewood, as well as non-profit organization, Breakthrough Urban Ministries in East Garfield Park – the kick-start to a larger initiative to make ping pong a scholastic sport among Chicago’s widespread educational system.

And YOU thought you were having fun playing ping pong in your parents' basement!

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