By contributing writer Niles Hodgman
Beer pong, Beirut, Lob Pong, Scud. Many of us spend our weekend (even weekday) nights playing this wonderful game, but little know of its origins and history. While it may seem like a relatively new game, beer pong has been around for thousands of years. Welcome to “The History of Beer Pong.”
Jesus (29 – 36 AD)
Historians attribute the origins of Beer Pong to one Jesus H. Christ some 2000 years ago. Yes, you read correctly, Jesus invented Beer Pong. After a satisfying Last Supper of His own body, the Lord decided to play some Beer Pong. If you look closely, original scriptures in the Bible describe the setup as six cup format, which worked well, since there were twelve apostles with twelve cups. Early records show that Judas and Bartholomew won sixteen straight games before Jesus came in and single-handedly beat them by himself (wonder if God was on his side). Today, Catholics still recognize Jesus’ accomplishments with the game, honoring him with a large beer pong table, commonly called an altar, in the front of the church.
Greeks (300 AD)
The Greeks, well known for their intelligent minds, also had a knack for sports. The Olympics originated in Ancient Greece, but Beer Pong was not introduced as a sport in the games until 300 AD. At this time the all-powerful Zeus decided to honor his half-brother Keystoneus, God of Drink, with a sport in the Olympics. Now I know some of you are saying, “Hold on, I’ve never heard of Keystoneus before!” You might not have read about Keystoneus in high school because he was like the drunk relative (usually your uncle) you never discuss. Many mythology texts do not even recognize Keystoneus. Anyway, the sport was played with all-nude men (Ryan Seacrest’s dreamland), as women were not allowed to play until much later on. The first gold medalist? No one knows; everyone was so drunk they couldn’t remember.
The Dark Ages (476 – 1000 AD)
For the next 524 years, Beer Pong saw its darkest days in history. New age games like “Flip Cup” and “Quarters” were introduced and passed on through word of mouth in the kingdoms. These sissy games required no skill whatsoever and Beer Pong enthusiasts were outraged with these alternatives, denouncing them as mere fads. Unfortunately, even the mere talk of Beer Pong could get one arrested and thrown into the torture chamber. Still, there was hope as secret diehards joined together in houses to play the game they loved. Sadly however, there arose a beer plague and a third of the European population was soon dead, as too were all drinking games. And people thought the plague was fleas and rats….
Beer Pong Revolution (1793)
After an uprising in the late 1400’s, Beer Pong saw its rules come into question during the late 18th century. It is then no surprise that a country associated with whining and riots started the Beer Pong Revolution. Yes, France. The country had seen years of boredom in the Beer Pong rules and decided they needed a change. New rules such as “the bounce” and “the overthrow the table and pull” were put into effect (much to everyone’s surprise, the French did not create a rule where you could just surrender a game). However, these rules did not last long and a constitution was written worldwide allowing the introduction of house rules.
No Beer! (1920s)
Good ol’ 1920s America, one of the greatest decades of all time. A time when jazz and the Charleston (still don’t know what the hell it is) ruled the cities. This decade was all about prohibition as well. What?! No alcohol!!! With the amendment came organized crime and the creation of “speakeasies.” Speakeasies were secret clubs where alcohol was served and Beer Pong was played. Men could not only play the game they loved, but gawk at the strippers of their generation, wearing nothing but a large dress… down to the ankles… with a little skin showing. Hot damn!
Around this time, women began taking a more active in political issues; thus came the move towards allowing women to play Beer Pong. Finally, the 22nd Amendment was passed and women were allowed to play. With the new player came a variety of new styles such as “the lean,” in which a girl would lean over the table (illegal), possibly show some cleavage (in which case men wouldn’t care if she was leaning), and proceed to make a cup (and smile). Also new to the game was the “Oops! Can I shoot again?” A ploy in which a woman would miss horrendously and ask for another shot, saying she was distracted. Overall however, historians see the introduction of women into the game as a good one. Now, pathetic guys could pair up with a hot chick in hopes of getting some, awfuls could feel good about themselves by beating a pair of women, and even more embarrassing, some men could depend on certain women to carry them (example: Schorno/Fleszar).
Cold War (1950s and ‘60s)
Many professors make the mistake of telling their students that the Cold War was centered on the development of nuclear arms and the space race. In fact, the Cold War was based on one item: the Solo Cup. The Solo Cup Company was founded in 1936 and during the Cold War those Commie bastards wanted the same technology. This cup had special ridges to tell one when it was time to stop the flow of beer. This technology, highly coveted by the Russians, almost started World War III. The Solo Company kept the blueprints secret and watched desperately as two nations raced to produce a replica. Finally, it is said that the Americans filmed a fake Solo Cup production for the world to see, beating out the Russians. Conspiracy theorists today still question the making of the tape and acknowledge the possibility of a cover-up.
Beer Pong Today (Present)
Today, Beer Pong is played from Beirut, Lebanon to Waltham, Massachusetts. Even stars such as Paris Hilton have been known to play (she even drove home after playing thirteen games!). The game is played many different ways but is still based on the original game Jesus prepared. The World Series of Beer Pong is played annually and dormitories across the world hold games every night of the week. The game spans many age groups, from seniors in Florida condos to Michael Jackson, who holds a special 12-and-under game at his house weekly (sleepover follows!). Beer pong is well-known for bringing together both friends, enemies and hookups alike.
Thanks for joining me on a journey through “The History of Beer Pong” and continue to sink those cups!