Susan Sarandon is yelling at the TV and her hands are in fists. It’s the Stanley Cup finals, and her beloved Rangers only need one shot to win.
Everyone is screaming—even me, and I don’t root for a team that’s not the Minnesota Wild. It’s only appropriate that we are watching this time-honored testosterone fest since we are at SPiN, Sarandon’s ping pong bar in New York, to chat about men—stubborn ones in particular. And Sarandon is giving out bright blue ping pong balls for charity.
For the entire month of June—men’s health month—Sarandon’s club is promoting a Rally for Men’s Health at all its locations (there are SPiNs in New York, Los Angeles, Toronto and Dubai). Anyone who comes in is offered the “Blue Ball Special,” which means they will play with blue paddles and balls at a blue ping pong table. For every customer who opts for the special, SPiN will donate $1 to the Testicular Cancer Society. They will also donate $1 for every photo of a blue ball posted to Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #SPiNBlueBalls.
Now that Sarandon’s business is off its feet, she says she felt it was time to start doing some good with its popularity. But why men’s health? She says men are an overlooked demographic in public health campaigns. “Men don’t go to the doctor, they don’t get checked. They need someone reminding them,” she says. And humor is the best way to do tackle the issue, she says.
Sarandon has two sons and daughter, and health is something she’s tried to ingrain in them. “I used to try to buy all organic food when it was so hard to find,” she remembers. Now that she is becoming a grandmother—she is also playing one in the upcoming film “Tammy” with Melissa McCarthy—family health and wellness is on her mind. “I want this to be something we do often,” she says. Sarandon says she got into ping pong because it’s fun, but also because she wanted to encourage physical and mental health by making the sport more accessible. She’s given 14 ping pong tables to schools in New York, and some have started getting kids to play before exams to blow off steam.
“I like ping pong because anyone at any age and body type can play. You can play your grandmother. Everyone can have a good time. It’s good for physical activity and mental health” she says.
The campaign is meant to be fun and entertaining, and encourage men to not be embarrassed by their health. And as Sarandon sips tequila and yells at the Rangers to get it together, I’m not sure who wouldn’t take her advice.