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Another Round: Beer Pong Returns to the Warm, Flat Spotlight

October 22, 2009

Okay, here’s a question. I know many of our readers are well-versed and accomplished drinkers — but outside of a rare moment of sheer novelty, how often in your lives have you played beer pong?

Everyone knows beer pong; it’s the most famous of drinking games, whereupon identical pyramids of cups full of beer are painstakingly assembled and players lob ping pong balls into said cups to make their opponents drink. If I just informed you of anything you didn’t know, enjoy your bruschetta with white bean purée. Hope your monocle doesn’t fall out!

But let’s be honest; beer pong takes dedication to play. It requires a cleared-off table and pitchers, wastes many Dixie cups, utilizes staunch measurements, and necessitates a trip to a sporting goods store. All so you can reach into a cup full of warm beer and retrieve a ping pong ball that only moments ago flew behind your friend’s refrigerator during an errant toss. I myself was never much a fan — I’ve never needed additional incentive to drink many, many beers, much less via a gaming convention most often utilized at that traveling carnival in the Winn-Dixie parking lot. But that’s not to say I haven’t played my share of beer pong. 

Unfortunately, an attitude like mine these days puts me in a proletariat, as beer pong has never enjoyed such celebrity. I think it might even be safe to say that beer pong is “having its heyday,” if you’re the kind of person who uses words like “heyday.” And if so, enjoy your bruschetta with white bean purée. Hope your monocle doesn’t fall out!

For starters, beer pong is going mainstream — it’s a main attraction of many bars and taverns in 2009, including its fair share of Las Vegas casinos. You can visit for more information. Because if there’s one place you should be drinking beer laced with the germs of people off the street, it’s Las Vegas. Mmm! This beer tastes like $4.00 scallops and genitals!

Late Night with Jimmy Fallon may have been the first to ironically  tap into beer pong’s retro-mystique, as Fallon has challenged celebrities like Serena Williams, Charlize Theron, Ivanka Trump and Golden Girls’ Betty White. The bit was pure, goofy lark, and it worked. Of course, because it worked, Jay Leno promptly stole the idea for his “Beer Pong Shot of the Week” segment.

The NFL unveiled its officially-licensed beer pong tables (known simply as “pong” tables, onwhich tee-totallers can enjoy “cran-apple juice” pong), tennis star Andy Roddick was caught on camera enjoying a friendly game himself.

The Fine Living Network’s new program Bartender Wars, which pits bartenders against one another in mixology-based events, ends with a beer pong face-off (because a trivia showdown about “19th Century Authors,” presumably, yielded little success), and yesterday’s NBC Today Show featured the cast playing beer pong with George Wendt. And this July saw the introduction of the World Series of Beer Pong.

The ridiculous drinking game even popped up on the news ticker earlier this week when Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York earlier this week banned beer pong from campus as top brass claim it’s a spreader of the dreaded H1N1 virus. 

The choice is yours, America. Jump on the bandwagon of beer pong’s resurgence or be passed up forever. Because you can either huddle around a dirty table with Keystone Light dripping from your fingers or you can take a beer, open it, drink it, then get another, and drink that one. But I warn you, the latter will not involve competition, screaming, Meredith Viera or crippling pandemic viruses, and it will not be sanctioned by the Seattle Seahawks. And how on earth would you ever get drunk without any of that?

One Comment
  1. October 22, 2009 3:30 pm

    Hmm… I suppose I am the only one that prefers my random alcohol germs come from quarters instead of ping pong balls. Ah well.

    Damn. My monocle just landed in my beer.

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