Friday, April 25, 2008

Beer Pong - For the love of the game

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There are few sounds in this world more satisfying than the sound of a ping pong ball landing in a Solo cup.

Beirut or Beer Pong, as it known for short, requires minute precision and impeccable hand-eye coordination.

It also requires teamwork (it's a two-on-two game and you need both people to pull their weight to accomplish the sought-after "sendback"), strategy (the question of "to bounce, or not to bounce") and an unyielding commitment to excellence, many of the virtues espoused at Michigan State University.

It is for these reasons I nominate Beer Pong as the National Collegiate Pastime.
College football, as we've all found out this year, has its ups and downs. Baseball, as great of a game as it is, doesn't start until spring and can be really slow. Beer pong, not soccer, is the game of choice in my book.

Furthermore, pong encourages drinking in moderation. That's right.

You see, unlike flip cup, which has no real point other than going pedal-to-the-metal on intoxication highway, pong has a very simple system of checks and balances designed to curb excessive drinking.

As in any playoff system featuring single-loss elimination, pong carries with it the immediacy of its "win or go home" doctrine.

Quarters, kings, shotgunning, the ever-so-popular "drink the beer" - while each has its own merits, none of these have the same appeal as pong and require no real talents other than a high tolerance.

Furthermore, pong has become a nationwide phenomenon, sweeping across the nation's colleges with awesome alacrity.

Depending on where you play, the game has different rules and variations, including "Full Contact," a version in which every ball that ricochets off the table becomes "live." The player who can successfully recover the fumble and emerge from the pile, ball in hand, is awarded another shot.

Another popular twist is the "NBA Jam" rule, in which a player declares that his or her partner is "heating up" after three consecutive makes, resulting in that player shooting until he or she misses.

Pong does not discriminate against people by virtue of their athletic talent or physical prowess (or lack thereof). Many Bookstore basketball teams are doomed to an embarrassing failure from the outset by mere virtue of being short or slow. Pong provides a level playing field (literally) for all players of all creeds. It is the great equalizer.

For these reasons, and many more not enumerated here, pong is the sport of kings.



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