Daniels in New York.
The lights went down in Mesquite, Nevada and at the end of it all, I didn’t get it done. I traveled 3000 miles and spent about $700 on a beer pong tournament. I flew six hours there, five hours back. I rented a car from McCarrans Airport and drove an hour out to Mesquite. I stayed in a town that had nothing but a casino and a hotel. I played craps at 2 in the morning on a table next to people talking about how much their parole officer sucked and how they didn’t need to be on probation. In retrospect, it was one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever done.
And I can’t wait for next year.
At the end of the day, I spent five of the most fun days of my life playing beer pong at a no-name casino in Nevada. It wasn’t Vegas… there was very little glitz and very little glamour. There were 180 guys longing to see an empty vagina. It didn’t make a difference. People were, for the most part, just happy to be there. They were happy to be playing beer pong with a bunch of people as into it as they were.
Funny thing about beer pong players as they start to get older. When you play in college, it’s normal. You play when you graduate and your buddies are still in college, still normal… but you’re starting to be the old guy. Play after everyone’s out of college and you’re a little bit weird. Keep playing years after everyone’s out of college and you start to get funny looks when you talk about it.
My girlfriend hates the game. She’s always hated it. In fact, on the rare occasion these days when I travel upstate to hang out and play, she thinks I’m insane. “It’s cold, it’s dirty, and it’s not fun.” To people who don’t play it, it’s insane and not fun. To people who do, it’s a good time. It’s an excuse to hang out with buddies and get drunk. You don’t need to go out and spend fifty bucks buying drinks to have a good time when you can spend ten bucks on a case of beer and get all messed up over the course of the night. Sometimes we play in the cold… out in the garage in the middle of January, just because we can. There’s a reason I prefer, on my birthday, to have a pong party rather than go out. I just have more fun. It’s my music, my friends, and my time.
What you got when all these people collected in Nevada was a lot of folks really happy to find other people who enjoyed the same stupid method of relaxing as they did. Everyone was really well behaved… there was no fighting and only a little bit of crying. Everyone was there just to have a good time. One of the guys there said that he figured everyone there was “respecting the game.” As stupid as it sounds, I think he had a point.
That’s the funny thing about people who are truly competitive. They’re good sports. If they lose, they lose. They understand the game is about getting in your opponent’s head. They understand that, really, it’s all in fun. Out of the 80 teams they, we all knew that only one team was winning the money and we really didn’t care. Sure, everyone wanted to win… I believe every team had a chance. Team France got hot at the right time and they won. Congratulations to them.
The two or three guys that set up and organized the tournament did a really good job. They managed to have this vision of big beer pong tournament and managed to organize right. From what I can tell, they did everything themselves. Found the location, got the beer, got the sponsors, got the cups, got the tables, got film crews there, and brought everything together in a short period of time. Once they got there, they managed to get everyone in, registered, and organized the divisions and matches in less than 16 hours. Then they got the double elimination bracket set up and ready to go in amazing time. They did an awesome job setting this thing up and they should be really proud of themselves.
Things I would change about the event… on the last day they had rebuttal rules. Basically you could force overtime by running the table if you lost. This rule should be adopted in all match play. It makes the six-cup game way more exciting. I understand the six-cup game is designed to get people done quickly. They work in 20-minute segments… but the overtime is exciting and it groups people around to watch games. It allows people take sides, cheer, boo, and really gets people into the day. The overtime rule should be adopted and made permanent.
The location also prevented a unique challenge. The problem was the complete lack of women at the event. Collect 180 guys in one place, they’re going to be upset if there’s nothing to look at. I don’t know how exactly you solve this one. If you have the event in Las Vegas, it becomes twice as expensive and makes less people come out. If you don’t, you’re stuck with a lot of guys looking for women and getting pent up. Truly, the answer is to leave the event there and try to attract some convention for women that same weekend. What, exactly, that convention would be, I have no idea.
At the end of it all, I can’t believe how much fun I had stuffed into five days. From playing pickup games of Pong in the bar, to the tournament itself, to running around to the casinos, to the gambling, to all the really cool people I met there. I met people from Wisconsin who run a website that keeps stats on their pong games, like rebounds, shooting %, and kills. I met a guy from Boston who dressed up in pink pajamas to play in the tournament. I met a couple of New York guys who were excited to argue baseball in between games. I met a few guys I can use for contacts for this site and other sites I might use sometime in my life.
All in all, if you asked me right now if I would go again next year, I’d give you a resounding yes. If you asked me if I thought the money was worth it, I’d give you another. Maybe you’d have to be a beer pong nut to enjoy yourself, but I think if you consider spending that kind of money to be the “World Champion of Beer Pong” then you’re the right kind of person to go. If you’re not a whiner, you can handle your beer, and you can gracefully lose, you’re welcome. If you get angry when you lose and think you’d put a fist through a wall or a face if someone got in your head and “made you lose,” consider something less intense… like knitting.
One final thought: Beware the Lumberjacks in 2007.
To check out all the columns I posted about this event, check out the whole series: