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Santa Maria Sun / Humor

The following article was posted on April 28th, 2009, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 10, Issue 7 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 10, Issue 7

Table up for beer pong

Drunkenness is now a legitimate sport

By ROB KRIDER

I enjoy the finer things in life. For instance: ping pong and beer. I like my ping-pong to be played in dirty garages on old, faded, warped tables, and I like my beer in the bottle, or in the can, or from a keg, I suppose. Eh, come to think of it, when it comes to beer, I only have one true question: “Where’s mine?”

I’m a busy guy, so I prefer to have the things I like to be combined and packaged together for the sake of expediency. I enjoy a little peanut butter in my chocolate, and I love the swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated. So naturally, as a person who plays ping-pong and drinks beer, I love the game of beer pong. For those of you who aren’t quite as sophisticated as me, allow me to explain the finer points of the trend that is sweeping college campuses these mid-week afternoons.

The beautiful (and oftentimes annoying) thing about beer pong is the rules are different depending on which part of the world you’re playing in. Actually, the rules may differ from room to room in the frat house. I’ll stick to the World Series of Beer Pong rules, since they will be the ones used during the championships held in Vegas, Jan. 1 through 5, 2010. Yes, believe it or not, there is a championship for throwing a ping-pong ball into a cup full of Pabst Blue Ribbon. For the first time in history, a person can be a world-class athlete while drinking beer, though I don’t believe anyone can get a scholarship to Stanford for it … yet.

Beer pong has some technical rules (nerds who care about stuff like the required 27.5-inch table height can go to bpong.com and learn about the league cup size down to the millimeter). There are also some very un-technical rules, like, “No player may take offense to anything said or done during a game, even if it involves their mother.” This is an important rule, since trash talking is as much a staple of beer pong as the slam-dunk is to the NBA.

The game play of beer pong is simple: There are 10 “keg” cups arranged like a triangle at the end of a narrow table, 10 more “keg” cups on the other side of the table, two teams, two players per team, and two ping pong balls (nope, you don’t need the paddles, which is good, because they’re usually lost anyway). The idea of the game is to throw the balls into the other team’s cups. If the ball lands in the cup, that team has to drink the beer and remove the cup from play. The first team to eliminate all of their competitors’ cups is the winner. Not that there are any actual losers in beer pong, since losing means you have to drink beer.

So what can you win playing beer pong? Besides the slim chance of contracting herpes, you could win $50,000! That’s right, Mom and Dad, little Johnny might be failing chemistry in college, but he’s the campus-respected beer pong champ, and he could make a few actual bucks downing beers and playing with his balls.

To find out if I had the right stuff for world-class beer pong, I entered a satellite tournament where the winners would qualify to enter the World Series of Beer Pong championship. It was my chance to make it to the show, the big time, to make it to the Super Bowl for alcoholic athletes. First things first for any sport: You gotta have the right uniform. I found out at the tournament that the official uniform is pretty much anything you want, as long as you wear a baseball hat backward.

Since beer pong is a team sport, for me to be in the tournament, I required the services of a gifted beer pong player to be my teammate.  I found the perfect partner in Ryan. His qualifications were as follows: He was unemployed, between classes at the local junior college, and he could quote every single line from the movie Beerfest. He was a natural B-ponger.

Ryan and I formed an alliance and began our quest to take over the world of beer pong, one ball into one cup at a time. Just like every beer pong player has a baseball hat on backward, every beer pong team has a wacky name like Team Don’t Pee in the Fish Tank and Team Awesome. We became Team Spaceballs. Our first match would be against Team Green Man, who was rumored to be a formidable force in the beer pong community.

I made the first toss of the match and sank it: Nuthin’ but cup! Ryan and I used our pre-practiced signature Spaceballs’ high-five. It was an awesome feeling. There was beer, my adrenaline was flowing, and we were winning. Since we were winning, Ryan and I celebrated by drinking some beers. Forget the beer in the cups, we had extra beers on the side. The game continued on, we drank, we threw ping-pong balls, we drank, we high-fived, we drank. And so it went. I can’t say that my game got better the more I drank, but I can admit that the more I drank, I didn’t really care if I missed a shot. Sometimes I would get caught up in the moment and try to high-five after one of my missed throws. Ryan didn’t have my back on those.

When it was over, Ryan and I were successfully drunk and Green Man crushed Spaceballs handily. I think I only sank the first shot. Ryan made about 50 percent of his shots, but it wasn’t enough to make up for my deficit. After the game, Ryan, a truly nice guy, told me: “Good job.”

“Good job?” I asked. “For what? I missed most of my throws.”

“Yeah, but you did pat me on the back when I made my shots, so that was good.”

Rob went to bpong.com and ordered the official table, the official cups, and the official balls in order to practice. He wants to be officially good. His wife, whom he loves, says the only thing that is actually official is that his quest to be a professional beer pong player is idiotic.




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