Good riddance, pingpong table

Bella Daher offers her take on the campus controversy of the Elrod Commons pingpong table

Bella Daher

What comes to mind when you think of the Elrod Commons living room? Maybe you think of comfy couches, convenient study tables or the hanging portrait of former university president John Elrod. Perhaps you think of various clubs that table for events and fundraisers, or the beautiful grand piano you occasionally hear one of the many talented people on campus playing.

But during fall semester, only one thing clouds students’ vision of Commons living room: the massive pingpong tables. What seemed to be a temporary presence meant for an innocent pingpong tournament turned into campus controversy.

Ever since the tournament, walking past it has made me feel like there is unfinished business that someone has yet to take care of. By the way that all of the furniture has been carelessly shoved to one side of the room, it seemed to me that the addition of this table was not thoughtfully planned out.

The formerly spacious couch area had about a foot, give or take, between each piece of furniture, and just about the same amount of room to even enter into said sitting area. I don’t think anyone considered the fact that with the pingpong table present, there was too much furniture than what is actually appropriate for the space.

You would think a little more thought would have been put into leaving something so conspicuous in a room proven to be central to campus life. It is a notable campus location featured on campus tours, a hub of student clubs and events and a casual area for people to study, chat or hang out. The pingpong table frankly does not fit the vibe of the area, and furthermore felt forced and out of place. Maybe this is why the remaining pingpong table has mysteriously been removed within this past week.

I’d like to be clear: I am not against pingpong. It’s a fun game that I am sure many people have been using as a way to blow off some steam between classes or after a long day. Could I lie to you and say that I haven’t played it myself? No, I cannot. I like pingpong. I fully understand why people want it around and I even understand why it is in the Commons building.

What I don’t understand is why it is in the living room, a place that it clearly does not belong. I am fairly certain that no one reading this would want a pingpong table in the middle of their living space. But I get it, it’s not a real living room. It would make perfect sense for the pingpong table to be in there…if we did not have a designated game area merely one floor above where the table was. On the second floor above Coop, there are already two pool tables and a storage unit filled with board games.

There used to be a foosball table too, until that was brought downstairs, as well. I don’t even remember the last time I saw anyone play foosball, ever, except maybe on some TV show. But no matter how many episodes of “Friends” you have watched, Joey and Chandler are not your friends and they aren’t coming to play foosball with you in the Elrod Commons living room.

There doesn’t seem to be any compelling reason as to why the school wouldn’t just get rid of one of the pool tables and bring the pingpong table up instead of bringing foosball down.

At present, the pingpong tables are gone. As for how long they will maintain their disappearance, only time will tell, but something tells me that this pingpong table business is far from over. Let’s just say that the next time I see the table in Commons, it better be on the second floor. And who knows? Maybe seeing it there will be just enough cause to celebrate — with a fun game of pingpong.