For the last five years now, I’ve volunteered at 826NYC, a non-profit organization in Brooklyn that offers free tutoring and creative writing workshops to children (the Huffington Post deemed it one of the ten most generous moments of the decade). Next week, I’m participating in So You Think You Can Pong, a charity table tennis tournament in which the top four fundraisers skip the early rounds of the tournament and go straight to the Sweet 16, where they will get their choice of celebrity opponents.
It is my intention — with the help of you, dear readers — to raise enough money to choose my opponent so that I may destroy said opponent in sporting competition and document it for Internet history. Here are my potential opponents, with a quick analysis:
New York Rangers Left Winger SEAN AVERY — This could be potentially delightful and awkward. Avery’s one of the NHL’s more notable douchebags, and I’d be interested to see whether he’s a nice guy playing for charity or if competition drives him to trash-talk me like this.
Chef, Author and Restaurateur MARIO BATALI — Meh. I’m not as into “Iron Chef” as much as everyone else.
Author (and founder of 826) DAVE EGGERS — One of my favorite writers.
Actor JAKE GYLLENHAAL — “Nice to meet you, Jake. I loved Jarhead. No, not the movie. The book.”
Actor and Producer CATHERINE KEENER — Total indie crush. I want to hug her, not play her in ping-pong.
New York Times Crossword Editor WILL SHORTZ — I’m a huge nerd, but not that huge of a nerd.
Actor DAVID SCHWIMMER — He was good in “Band of Brothers”?
Author, Humorist and President of 826NYC SARAH VOWELL — Also the voice of Violet in The Incredibles. But I don’t listen to NPR, so this wouldn’t be a big deal to me.
Actor MIKE MYERS — He still owes me $7 for the second Austin Powers movie.
So who’s it gonna be? Help me raise enough money, and I’ll play against whoever gets the most votes. If we’re successful, I’ll recount the stinging celebrity embarrassment right here on Warming Glow.