A Little Friendly (Sometimes) Ping-Pong Competition


When we (Great Range Capital) moved into our new office space in 2016, we expected to fill it with desks, chairs, computers, a conference table, some furniture and perhaps a plant or two—all the things a private equity firm needs to conduct business. A ping-pong table was never high on the priority list. In fact, it wasn’t on the list at all until another group in the building offered us one…an offer we couldn’t refuse.

Ryan Sprott, Managing Partner recalls, “We’d never played much, but we’re all pretty competitive. It wasn’t long before we started keeping score. Pretty soon, the interior glass walls became the scoreboard. And now, there is pride in being on top of the ladder.”

For a while, everyone played with the standard-issue paddles that came with the table. It wasn’t long before Ryan’s competitive nature led him in search of a professional paddle. Larry Flanagan, GRC’s reigning ping-pong ladder leader, claims the new paddle was cheating.

Larry explains, “Mark Robinson, GRC’s most prolific player, equaled the playing field by ordering personalized ping-pong paddles with the Great Range Capital logo for everyone. Suddenly, Ryan’s ‘cheater paddle’ lost its edge.”

Today, the ping-pong table is as much of an office fixture as our desks and conference table. Mark and Larry still play when time and schedules allow. Larry claims a “78% win rate,” which has never been independently verified.

“Mark was always dragging me and our summer interns into games. I had to start losing on purpose so he would stop,” jokes Larry.

No one is immune from the call of the ping-pong table. Our team, market ambassadors and visitors all hear its call to come play. So, the next time you’re in our neighborhood, stop by for a “friendly” game. Just don’t expect anyone from GRC to take it easy on you or for beginner’s luck to be on your side. Our market ambassador and tennis all-star, Ron Rice, learned that lesson the hard way during his first ping-pong game at GRC.