Beer pong: Not just your Friday night frat game

BeerPngBllr: i cant believe we lost last night! sorry I let you down bro. i practiced my throw for hours and i even did 4 pushups to get better upper body stregnth.
6Cupsodelight: np. hey wait, what are you talking about?
BeerPngBllr: at the big game last night :(
6Cupsodelight: oh yeah. I guess we didn’t drink enough before the game.

You might think this conversation is between two athletes who failed to stay hydrated, but it’s not. Nor is this conversation between two athletes who just lost a division championship. It’s a conversation between two athletes in the prime of their careers over a game soaked with history, glory, and anguish. This game is called beer pong.

There are few sports, if any, that encourage drug use. Sure, athletes sometimes get away with steroid use. But being high? You must be out of your mind. Drunk? Never. The highly competitive sport of beer pong is the exception to that rule; the point of the game is to drink enough that your coordination goes from being decent (hitting the cup and, occasionally, opposing team members) to pitiful (throwing the ball behind your head or over a balcony) to fantastic (hitting every throw while not being able to remember your own name).

Beer pong is a simple game — mostly because drunk people can’t play complicated games. It’s played by two teams, typically on a broken table that happens to be missing a leg or the door to your apartment resting on a pile of cinderblocks. Each team has six or 10 cups with about a quarter can of beer in each — depending on how hardcore you’d like to play — and a few cups of water to clean off the balls between throws. Each team’s players take a shot at their opponents’ cups with a ping-pong ball. When a team member manages to hit a cup, the other team has to drink the beer from that cup post haste. Yeah, we know, losing has never tasted — or felt — so good.

Taking it to another level

Carnegie Mellon might be a Division III school, but we’ve got some amazing pong-ball-tossing alumni. Two of our most highly regarded athletes — Billy Gaines and Duncan Carroll — organized the first ever World Series of Beer Pong, which ran from January 2 through January 6 of this year.

How would an event like this ever get started? To quote Carroll from his site, www.bpong.com, “I remember thinking this game was pretty hard. There should be a national tournament.” Sometimes dreams really do come true.

So you’re starting to get serious about beer pong. You’ve cracked your knuckles, rubbed your beer belly, and stopped going to your 9:30 am class. Now all you need is some high-quality gear. Look no further than our two beloved alums’ website. The site details the rules of beer pong, features some of the best tables created across the country, and allows people to register for the next World Series of Beer Pong. What more could you ask for (besides a GPA that’s higher than your BAC)?

Maybe a place in the WSOBP tournament. The goal of every tournament is to win — and in this case, to win big. But here, you don’t have to be recruited out of college to play... though it might help. All you need here is endurance in the form of high tolerance, so what better place to start training than college?

Be aware, while your relationship with your buddies might improve, your romantic life will probably suffer — you know, due to your rigorous training schedule and increasingly degrading physique. Carroll discussed his breakup with his own girlfriend in Playboy magazine. As he explained, “It wasn’t really specifically the event itself. It was sort of bpong.com in general. It was questionable to where my priorities were. The long-distance situation also played a part. But she was definitely like, ‘You care about beer pong more than me.’ ” This is not so far-fetched, since many CMU students are more committed to their work than their social lives already. Long-distance relationships, beware: beer pong cometh.

At the World Series of Beer Pong, the prize is $10,000 and the pressure is so high it can get to even the best. “These are everyday people who have an opportunity to do something,” Gaines said in the Playboy interview. “They know, ‘If I miss this shot, I’m out. If I hit this shot, I win $10,000.’ ”