Since this post is being composed on a Friday, there can only be one subject that comes to mind - the weekend! And the weekend is the time when we all might imbibe an adult beverage or two. So with that inspiration in mind, there's only one thing we can discuss, the Sport of Beer Pong. Wait, what? Sport of Beer Pong?
That's right, there are places that hold Beer Pong tournaments and give out cash prizes. Over at sbnation.com/longform, author Michael J. Mooney has detailed such an event and it's a great read for a leisurely moment over the weekend. Who knew that Beer Pong had actual established rules? There are also many different strategies to the game. Take offensive strategy.
On offense, nearly every shot falls into one of three categories: the arc, or floater; the dart or snipe; or the bounce shot. Most people use variations of the arc: Some elevate with their knees and release at the highest point. Some actually leave the ground like a jump shot. Some try to take advantage of long, lanky arms by stretching over the table. Some shoot underhanded. Some flick with their wrists, trying to get more spin. Some people wear boots for the extra inch and a half, hoping it might improve their angle of attack, even if it's only by a degree or two. Some people try to stay sober. ("More focused.") Some people try to get drunk. ("More relaxed.")
And don't think for a minute some of these guys are not serious.
"Technically speaking," Tim says, "since we have paid rent with the money we won here, we are professional beer pong players." The absurdity of the premise isn't lost on him, but at the same time he grimaces when he's reminded that he hasn't won in three weeks. Mimicking the kind of dismissive attitude coaches and golfers take in press conferences, he calls it a "temporary setback," and notes that he "wouldn't even call it a slump, really."
Soon, Beer Pong will be appearing on ESPN 8, The "Ocho".
But inside this arena of seemingly mindless fun, the author of the piece finds there's more going on at these tournaments than plastic balls landing in plastic cups. The night of this particular tournament, the venue is packed with plenty of young adults just graduated from college. With a tough economy, finding a job that pays well is a challenge. So life for the new college graduate can be challenging.
Looking around, you can't help but think about what a strange time in life this is, those years right after college. It used to be that once you got done with 8th grade you were put behind a plow, and that was that. Now there are so many different stages of development. You're a kid, then a teenager, then a college student with funds and freedom and no responsibilities. Then: something else. The rules change. What's important changes. There's a lot to figure out. Soon it'll be time to get serious about a career, marriage, kids, Facebook photos of vacations to Disney. But that seems so far away when you've just moved back home and you're eating at your parents' table, trying to get them to cover a few bills. One minute you're with your friends, young and unencumbered, the real world just waiting for you as an abstract concept in the nebulous future. The next you're sitting at home on a Friday night, alone, counting down the hours to Wednesday [the next beer pong tournament].
The article is truly a treat to read. It weaves from the hilarious intensity that is displayed by the beer pong teams, to the struggles of the life of a person just stepping out into the real world.
Over the weekend, give "The Ringers" a try, and step into a night at a beer pong "brodeo".