With a Ping and a Pong

Obscure sports and drinking: what two things do college students love more? Incorporating these two elements into one entity is something that is common practice for most in their early 20s, and when someone comes up with a good way to tie the two together, you get something called a "drinking game." Beer pong, arguably the most popular drinking game among today's legal youth, is one such activity that entwines the basement sport of ping-pong and the act of drinking typically cheap, domestic, light beer.
The rules are simple - two teams made up of two members each stand on opposite ends of a regular pingpong table, sans net. Each team has 10 cups set up in pyramid formation, with each cup containing a small amount of beer, roughly one third of a standard 12 ounce can. Traditionally, a typical 10 cup game requires six beers, three for each team. The only other tools required to play the game are two regulation size ping-pong balls. The rules of play are simple, team one and team two go back and forth taking shots at each other's cups. If a shot is made, meaning that the ball thrown falls in a cup, that cup is then removed from the table and its contents imbibed by the defending team. The first team to completely eliminate their opponent's cups is then crowned the winner.
And however informal and recreational this "sport" (if it can be called that) may sound, there are those who take it fairly seriously. As stated by the World Series of Beer Pong website, http://www.bpong.com, the rules of the game are designed with three main purposes in mind: fairness to all players, efficiency in running a maximum number of games simultaneously and the minimization of possible disputes between participants. The official World Series of Beer Pong occurs only once annually, however there are many venues and bars that hold their own beer pong tournaments for promotion; one such local bar that has a weekly beer pong tournament is Q's Billiards Lounge on Wilshire.
"We've been holding weekly beer pong tournaments for two and a half months now," said Kris Hawks, floor manager and head of the beer pong department at Q's. "It's pretty popular, almost every week it fills up." The relatively large tournament takes place every Sunday night at 9 p.m., consisting of 32 teams of two in a single elimination tournament. Consisting of mostly younger, local participants, the tournament is made up of colorful, self-named teams, with names ranging in subject from "The Blackout Makers" to "Kristin's Underwear."
Additionally, the homemade tables, fashioned by Q's own staff, match up with the World Series of Beer Pong's standards: eight feet long by two feet wide, standing 27.5 inches from the ground. The material is also important, as players need to able to bounce the ball into their opponents' cups, scoring them two cups as opposed to a normal one-cup shot.
And although the weekly tournament was created initially for the sole purpose of bringing business to the bar, according to Hawks, the participants last Sunday night seemed especially enthused, though that could have been due to the late start of the tournament because of the late running Angels-Red Sox game that went into the twelfth inning. But after the initial preliminary rounds, with all of the amateurs out of the way, the tournament took on a much friendlier, although still competitive, atmosphere.
So if you enjoy drinking beer while participating in competitive precision sports, stop into Q's on a Sunday night with a friend to sign up for the beer pong tournament. And be sure to get there before 9 p.m., as the spots fill up quick. Happy drinking.