Hole in one
Could the latest drinking craze really be considered a sport?
“I’m a professional athlete… That may not be the entire truth, but that’s there story we’re going to stick with. I’m a professional beer pong player,” Jamie Clouser proudly admits in the documentary, Last Cup: Road to the World Series of Beer Pong.
During the course of a lifetime, every athlete dreams of being a hero. While some dream of sinking the winning basket, scoring the overtime goal in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals, or hitting that walkoff homerun to win the game, dedicated beer pong players all over the world imagine themselves sinking that ping pong ball into the final cup.
Although it is debatable whether beer pong can be considered an actual sport, it is definitely not your run-of-the-mill drinking game. In fact, it seems every year it’s becoming more and more of a competitive activity.
Beriut, more commonly known as beer pong, is a relatively simple game to play. Six to ten 16 oz. cups filled with beer are placed in a triangular formation at either end of a table. An extra cup – known as the wash cup – is filled with water and is also placed at both ends of the table. Beer pong is normally played with teams of two, but it is also acceptable to play one on one.
One team will start with two ping-pong balls and they’ll try to throw or bounce the balls into the opposite team’s cups. After both balls have been thrown, the other team has a chance to throw them back into the opposing team’s cups. Once a ball has been thrown into a cup, that cup is then removed and the beer inside of it is consumed. Teams continue to alternate turns of throwing the ping pong balls until one team has no cups remaining. The team who runs out of cups first loses.
Rules such as the bouncing of the ping-pong balls before entering the cup, two balls in one cup, and leaning distance vary depending on what the teams are accustomed to.
Arising publicly in 2005, brewer Anheuser-Busch, the brewer who manufactures Budweiser, released Bud Pong, a modified version of beer pong. Anheuser-Buch began distributing and promoting Bud Pong kits. To avoid the supporting of binge drinking, the company recommended users to fill their cup up with water as apposed to beer – which is still commonly done today.
From the cold garages of drinkers and ‘pong partiers’, to the main stage in Las Vegas, Bud Pong was only a pint to the massive keg of opportunities that were to arise for competitive beer pong players.
If anybody wants to make money playing competitive pong, it’s at the World Series of Beer Pong. This drinking sport expanded globally in 2006. The World Series of Beer Pong, played in Las Vegas at the Flamingo Hotel & Casino, has drawn in competitors from all over the world.
It’s quite evident that the WSOBP has grown in popularity over the years. In its first year of existence, the winning team was rewarded $10,000, while in 2011, the winning team “Smashing Time”, was rewarded with a ‘beerific’ $65,000. Along with the cash prize, the amount of teams competing in the WSOBP has also increased over the years. While only 80 teams competed in 2006, 507 teams tried their hand at the game in 2011. The final match in 2011 was even announced by UFC octagon announcer Bruce Buffer.
For local beer pong competitors, Regina has also contributed to the uprising popularity of the drinking sport. Held in August of 2010, the Regina Beer Pong Tournament X held its competitive “Tournament of Champions”, where 30 teams of two competed for a grand prize of $500. In late December 2010, two Regina men won a beer pong tournament held at the Envy Nightclub and advanced to participate in the World Series of Beer Pong.
Contrary to what most people believe, according to Scott Reck from the Last Cup, beer pong isn’t all about getting drunk.
“It’s more about the competition and earning the victory,” he said. “It’s more about skill than anything else. It’s not about the hardcore drinking, because you can do that anywhere.”