Paddlestar Galactica

Bookworms, fearless fundraising heroes, Heisman-like athletes, and participator extraordinaires: are you ready to flex your table skills and support 826DC's award-winning youth writing programs? DC's weirdest and best philanthropic ping-pong tournament returns for year EIGHT on Sunday, June 7th. Let the games begin!


What's Happening & When

Wait, what's happening?

A bracket-style ping-pong tournament—with a twist. Players have about six weeks to raise as much money as they can for 826DC’s youth writing programs. Those donations then turn into points that can be used for offbeat cheats—like swapping your opponents paddle for a fly-swatter or serving three ping-pong balls at once, on the big day! This year’s games will be Sunday, June 7th, 2020, 12-3:30 PM at SPIN DC.


Player Orientation

We’ll kick off this incredible blaze of ping-pong goodness, and review all of the practical stuff, at Paddlestar VIII Player Orientation (February 25th, 6:30-8 PM at 826DC).

Can’t join us for orientation? No sweat. Register today and we’ll catch you up to speed.

Weekly "Practice"

Not required; just very fun. We’ll meet each week at a local bar to get some ping-pong practice in, to share fundraising tips and ideas, and to enjoy some adult beverages as you get to know the competition. 

Every week, the top fundraiser and the winner of a “skills challenge” will also win a fabulous prize donated by a local business!

These are open practices and everyone—participants and supporters alike—is invited to attend.

Note: Due to coronavirus concerns in the DC area, practices are currently paused. 

The Main Event

Paddlestar VIII will be Sunday, June 7th, 2020, from 12 PM to 3:30 PM!

There will be cheap drinks. There will be music. There will be tons of prizes to win—for winning, for raising the most money, for the best costumes, for good cheer…it’s going to be an amazing day. Invite friends to come to enjoy the chaos and to cheer you on!


Interested in launching your philanthropic table tennis career and/or trading in some athletic dignity for a great cause?

Register here!


What is this all about? 826DC is raising money by having volunteers and friends compete in a bracket-style ping-pong tournament. Participants have about six weeks 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. Register to play/fundraise! (see above)
  2. Ask people to sponsor you by donating money to 826DC via your fundraising page.
  3. Come to practice at the weekly check-ins/happy hours, if you can.
  4. Compete at the MAIN EVENT!

Who should I ask for money? Everyone you know and everyone you’d like to know!

Where is the money going? 100% of the money you raise will support 826DC’s no-cost writing programs for DC students ages 6-18. By funding our programs, you will help students as they build their storytelling skills and help teachers inspire their students to write!

Do I have to raise a certain minimum? Nope! Just raise what you can.

What do I do when someone is ready to donate money? Direct them your secure personal fundraising page, which we’ll help you set up. Donors can also write checks or give you cash!

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? They’re optional and very fun. 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.

What’s the deal with teams? You can play as an individual, ask to be matched with others to make a team, or start your own personal or corporate team! There’s nothing wrong with flying solo; the advantage of playing as a team is that you can fundraise together and you can pool your cheat money. Most teams have 2-3 players.

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. There are also always prizes like “Best Uniform” that are up for grabs, regardless of skill level.

How can I spread the word? Share links and info on your favorite social media platforms! You’re also welcome to post about this in local coffee shops, in company newsletters, (legally) on telephone poles, etc.

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

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!

Rules & Cheats


Every table will have two volunteers: 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.

A point is scored after each ball is put into play.

Each player serves two points in a row, after which the server switches. Players switch sides of the table after each game.

Serving players 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).

Cheats can be used any time and last for two points.

Teams arrive early on the day of the tournament to buy cheats. There will also be a few low-dollar specials so that spectators can give their team of choice a boost during play.

The first player to reach 11 points, with at least a two-point margin, wins the game. A round is played best of three games.


Paddle-fracked – $200 – Your opponent must use their hand as a paddle.

Tigh One On – $200 – Your opponent must wear an eyepatch.

Phasers to Stun – $200 – When you serve, a teammate throws three balls at the same time. Your opponent must return one and continue play.

Shoe-pernova – $400 – Your opponent must wear shoes on their hands.

Starbuck’s Revenge – $400 – Swap your opponent’s paddle for a fly-swatter.

Total Eclipse of the Pong – $400 – Your opponent must wear impenetrable sunglasses.

Baltar’s Escape – $600 – Neutralize one cheat used against you.

Return Fire – $600 – Reverse one cheat used against you back to your opponent.


Support your favorite by giving through their page! You can also donate here to give an underdog a boost on the big day.


Clark Construction

Note: Interested in sponsoring? Email us at