Drunken debacle, or drunk(er) darts?
By Natalie Serafini, Assistant Editor
At some point during their academic careers, most college kids will eventually find themselves at one end of a table, facing a pyramid configuration of cups, with a pingpong ball in hand. The game is beer pong, and hazy vision and an inability to stand up straight for more than a brief moment before swinging like a pendulum make it both challenging and entertaining. Beer pong is a well-known and -loved game. It involves throwing and sinking a pingpong ball into a Solo Cup filled with cheap beer, then forcing your opponent to down said Solo Cup of alcohol. Some people might rush to classify this time-honoured tradition as a simple drinking game, but I’m not so quick to judge.
According to the official rules on BPong.com, beer pong can be an individual competition, or can be played in teams of two. The basic rules are that players aim to get pingpong balls into their opponents’ cups. If the ball gets in, the cup is taken away and the opponent downs the contents. If both teammates sink their balls in their opponents’ cups, they get the opportunity to shoot again; otherwise, the balls are in the other team’s court, and play continues. The team that forces their opponents to drink all the contents of all their cups wins.
Specifics of the rules make the game trickier. To start, games must begin by establishing the controversial Elbow/Wrist Rule. The rule states that players must ensure their elbows don’t cross the boundary line of the table edge while throwing; sometimes this rule extends to placing limitations on wrists as well. Implementation of the rule is often up for debate, due to the difficulty in determining whether there has been an elbow/wrist infraction.
Rules state that re-racking requests can be made a maximum of two times per game. Sticking to this limit will of course depend on how big of a stickler you’re playing against. Essentially, re-racking facilitates the sinking of balls by arranging the cups into specific configurations—see BPong.com’s section on Typical Beer Pong House Rules for more information. Requests to fix cups should not be confused with re-racking: fixing cups can be done anytime, and as many times as necessary, to put cups back where they would have been if not for drunken jostling.
The bouncing rule is your shot at redemption if you find yourself approaching the loser’s circle: if you manage to bounce a ball on the table before having it capsize in a foamy cup of beer, you have the option of forcing your opponent to down not one, but two cups, due to the difficulty of the deed.
House rules may vary from house to house, or from rule-maker to drunk rule-maker. Essentially, the main aim of the game is to sink balls in cups and to not get too drunk; get those rules down, implement them, and you’re golden like the beer you’ll be forcing others to drink.
This could turn into a controversial ruling, but beer pong strikes me as a sport in the same way that darts are: you might not initially agree because it lacks the physical feats of football, and because the game easily allows for jokes, laughter, drinking, and maybe a quick smoking break; nonetheless, even with these possible protestations, beer pong is indeed a sport.
Some people say that any “sport” during which you can sip, sup, swig, or drink heavily isn’t really a sport; I disagree. I say that the drunker you are during a sport, the more difficult it is, and consequently, the more sporty it is. Because beer pong not only permits, but facilitates and encourages drinking, I have no choice but to deem it a sport. If anyone disagrees, I would suggest they throw back a series of tequila and rum shots, nurse a few beers, then attempt to stand up straight while throwing pingpong balls at cups.
Beer pong requires very precise aim in order to keep opponents drinking; it requires training and endurance, especially in ability to hold your liquor; trash talk is inherent to the sport, and any little fumble could cost you a match. A drunk sport is a sport nonetheless.