Paddlestar Galactica V

826DC is raising money by having volunteers and friends of 826DC compete in a bracket-style ping-pong tournament. Participants have the month of March to fundraise and on March 26 participants will compete at the main event. The more money each team raises the more cheats they’ll be able to “purchase” on the day of the tournament.


What's Happening & When

The Main Event

Sunday, March 26, 1-5pm at U Street Music Hall

Fundraising participants will compete for a first place trophy and prestige in a bracket-style competition. Prizes will also be awarded for “Best Uniform” and “Bling Pong” (for the individual or team who raised the most money overall). Spectators are invited to help select the winner for Best Uniform.

This year is our 5th ANNIVERSARY of hosting Paddlestar, so you can expect there will be some fun surprises along the way, including brand new cheats and our biggest tournament celebration yet.

We are also excited to announce that all gifts made to 826DC through Paddlestar (up to $25,000) will be matched 1:1 by generous donors, including The Kimsey Foundation.

Weekly "Practice"

Weekly in March, upstairs at Colony Club, 6-8 pm:

  • Wednesday, March 1
  • Wednesday, March 8
  • Tuesday, March 14
  • Wednesday, March 22

Participants and supporters are invited to come practice their ping pong skills, flex their fundraising muscle, and enjoy adult beverages upstairs at Colony Club. Each week the top individual fundraiser will receive a fabulous prize donated by a local business. We’ll also award a prize to the winner of our weekly “skills challenge.” These are open practices and everyone is invited to attend!

Register to Play

Ready to launch your philanthropic table tennis career? We recommend reading the FAQ section first before registering below. Then download our Paddlestar V “toolkit for success,” full of tips to make fundraising easy (and fun).

Register to Play

Please tell us a little more about yourself. You don't have to decide about joining or forming a team until kickoff, but this will help us keep in touch between now and the tournament.
  • Got one? Tell us who's on it. Looking for one? We can help.
  • Tuesday, Feb 21, 6-8pm at Colony Club (3118 Georgia Ave NW)
Register to Play Download the Toolkit

Rules & Cheats

Cheat Purchasing

Teams arrive early on the day of the tournament to purchase cheats. There will also be a few low-dollar *tournament specials* so spectators can give the team of their choice a boost during play. Teams may donate their unused cheats once they get knocked out of the tournament.

Rules of Play

Every table will have 2 volunteers assigned to it: a Scorekeeper and an Official Official. The Official Official is there to settle any disputed points and monitor the use of cheats. They have the final call on all points.

Cheats may be used at any time and last for 2 pts. A round is played best of 3 games. For each game, the first player to reach 11 pts wins that game, however a game must be won by at least a 2 pt margin. A point is scored after each ball is put into play (not just when the server wins the point as in volleyball).


Each player serves two points in a row and then server switches. After each game, players switch sides of the table. Serving player must first rest the ball on an open hand palm, then toss it up at least 6” and strike so the ball first bounces on the server’s side and then the opponent’s side. If the serve is legal except that it touches the net, it should be reserved (no points).



Cheat Description Price
“Paddle-fracked” Your opponent must use their hand as a paddle. $200
“Tigh One On” In honor of Col. Tigh. Your opponent must wear an eye patch. $200
“Phasers to Stun” When you serve, a teammate throws three balls at the same time, your opponent must return one and continue play. $200
“Cylon Swap” This cheat allows you to ask a friend, colleague, family or frenemy to play for you. $200
“Turbo Boost” You get to use a tennis racket with a tennis ball. Your opponent – a measly ping pong paddle. $400
“Starbuck’s Revenge” Swap your opponent’s paddle for a fly swatter. (This one is nearly impossible… nearly) $400
“Total Eclipse of the… Pong” Your opponent must wear impenetrable sunglasses. $400


What is this all about?
826DC is raising money by having volunteers and friends of 826DC compete in a bracket-style Ping-Pong tournament. Participants have the month of March to fundraise. The more money you raise, the more money your team has to “purchase” cheats on the day of the tournament.

What do I need to do?

  1. Become a fundraiser!
  2. Attend the Paddlestar Kick-off on February 21 at Colony Club.
  3. Ask people to sponsor you by donating money to 826DC via your fundraising page.
  4. Come to practice–the weekly check-in/happy hours, at Colony Club
  5. Compete at the MAIN EVENT on Sunday, March 26, 1-5pm at U Street Music Hall

Who should I ask for money?
Solicit contributions from everyone you know and everyone you wish to know. This is the totally legit reason you’ve been looking for to spark up a conversation with that attractive human on the Metro, at the office, etc.

Where is the money going?
To support the programming of 826DC. Our mission statement: 826DC is dedicated to supporting students ages 6 through 18 with their creative and expository writing skills and to helping teachers inspire their students to write. We believe that great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention and that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success.

What do I do when someone is ready to donate money?
Direct them your secure personal fundraising page, which will be generated by the time of kickoff on February 21. If your donors are web shy, ask them to write a check to “826DC.” (Or if you haven’t yet lost their trust, they can give you cash.) Then you can bring the check and/or cash to the next practice at Colony Club.

Are donations tax deductible?
Yes. Donations made online will receive an automated letter. Donation acknowledgment letters for checks and cash will be given upon request.

What’s the deal with the weekly practices?
Weekly practice will kick off on Tuesday, February 21, 6-8pm at Colony Club. Practice is not mandatory, but strongly encouraged! Delightful weekly prizes will be distributed each week based on who raised the most money from the previous week and who is the weekly champion of a skill-based challenge. Here’s the full schedule:

  • Tuesday, Feb 21, 6-8pm
  • Wednesday, Mar 1, 6-8pm
  • Wednesday, Mar 8, 6-8pm
  • Tuesday, Mar 14, 6-8pm
  • Wednesday, Mar 22, 6-8pm

What’s the deal with teams?
This year, there is no limit on team size. Each round of the tournament will consist of 3 games. Only one person will play each game, and no more than 3 people can play in a round. So if you really want a piece of the action, we’d recommend a team of 2-3 individuals.

Flying solo, but still want to play? Come to the kickoff on Feb 21 and we’ll draft teams for competition, in addition to helping you create your individual fundraising page. There’s a BIG advantage to gathering a team: you’ll be able to purchase a lot more cheats with your combined fundraising powers. Another way to boost your impact? Ask your office to support by sponsoring a company team.

Do I have to actually be any good at Ping-Pong?
Absolutely not. The more money you raise, the more cheats you can “purchase”. Making your opponent use their shoe as a paddle or wear an eye patch (see ya later, depth perception!) might be enough to get you into that next bracket. And there’s always prizes like “Best Uniform” that are up for grabs– regardless of your Ping-Pong skill level.

How can I spread the word?
Take advantage of technology and post links and info on your Twitter/Facebook/Tumblr/Instagram/Vine/Snapchat, etc. Also, feel free to post your info in local coffee shops, company newsletter, legal telephone poles, etc.

How can I get more bang for my buck?
See if your employer/your donor’s employer can match the gift!

What else do I need to know?
You are the bee’s knees!

What if I have an unanswered question? Or some kind of Ping-Pong-related crisis?
Contact us at any time!


Become a Sponsor

Are you a local business interested in supporting DC’s only philanthropic Ping-Pong tournament? If you’d like to build a corporate team or become an event sponsor, download information here and feel free to reach out to with any questions.

Lead Sponsors

Catherine Wakelyn

The Kimsey Foundation


Colony Club

U Street Music Hall

The Ferbergers

Lockton Companies, LLC

Clark Construction Group, LLC

David Pryor and Microsoft




Meet the Teams

Long Time Listeners, First Time Paddlers

Support Zachary Clark and Kevin Johnson in their pursuit of ultimate victory by donating to their pages.

Team Lockton

Headed up by their fearless captain, Colin White, Team Lockton is here to win. Donate here to support their mission.

Brian Cognato

Brian Cognato is excited to embarrass himself publicly by futilely wielding a ping-pong paddle in the name of a good cause. Support his campaign by donating here. Check the “Perks” tab for benefits including original haikus, limericks, and even a short story in your name!

Backhanded Compliments

Erin Waters, Philomena Fritz, Patrick Fritz, and Matt Swinehart need your help! Donate today to support their quest for victory.

Team Write Sabers

Kaitlynn Mosier, Stephanie Jones, Kristen Dalton and Nicole Lach are joining forces to win it all. They believe that the pen is ALWAYS mightier. Support their efforts here.

Team Cornerstone

Donate Here to support the team representing Cornerstone Research in their quest for this year’s trophy.

Team Snufflepages

Support Brian Steinkoenig and Kurt Dahl in their quest for bragging rights. We’re not sure what their team name means either.

Team J/K

Donate here to support Kira Wisniewski and John Spain. Their long awaited musical collaboration, “J/K” will be making its debut by way of donation thank you songs. Give $200 and they’ll record a short song about you. Donate $18.26 and you’ll earn a mention in a song. More incentives to come!

Positive Spin

This pair of Ping-Pong athletes could really use your help in the cheats department. Give to Sam Brinton or Caroline Odom to support Positive Spin.

All Pings Considered

Our friends at NPR are represented by Lori Todd, Maggie Penman, and Jenny Phillips. Support their campaign today!

Paddle Day Saints

Lucy Cunningham, Gary Shoop, Stephen Clawson, and Erik Rasmussen are on a quest for Ping-Pong glory.

Team MM...K

Team MM…K is about two things: metal fabrication and dominating Ping-Pong. Donate here to give these Baltimoreans a much-needed leg up on the competition.

Freddy Montano

Support Freddy here!

Andrew Braver

Support Andrew here!


826DC Board Member David Pryor is leading the FUN PEOPLE PARTY TEAM to victory. Support their efforts here!

Team Ferberger

Alvaro Fernandez, Lisa Neuberger, and daughter Bella would like to dedicate this page to Lisa’s grandmother, Marjorie: For a life full of zest, humor, & joy. Donate here to support their campaign.