Answer me this, sports fans: Which game — besides pingpong — is played with pingpong balls, on a pingpong table? It’s a riddle that might stump the average Ph.D, but to every beer-sodden college undergrad from Tempe to Chapel Hill, the answer is as plain as the Pabst stains on a dorm room rug.
We’re talking beer pong, of course — that venerable frat-house pastime in which competing two-man teams wage a contest of escalating drunkenness and pingpong-throwing accuracy.
Though not exactly the sport of kings, beer pong will enjoy a brief spasm of competitive legitimacy Saturday when a World Series of Beer Pong qualifier comes to The Sets in Tempe. For a $40 entry fee, each two-man team will get a crack at the $5,000 purse (more or less, depending on the number of participants) and a chance to attend the 2009 World Series of Beer Pong in Las Vegas this January.
The World Series of Beer Pong is the brainchild of Duncan Carroll and Billy Gaines, who met as freshman at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh. After spending four years playing beer pong “practically every day,” the duo zeroed in on the notoriously underserved beer pong market, starting a Web site (www.bpong.com) and licensing World Series of Beer Pong satellite tournaments across the country.
Now in its fourth year, the World Series of Beer Pong is going strong, with over 100 satellite tournaments and thousands of players lining up to determine the country’s preeminent practitioners of throwing a feather-light plastic ball into a cup. Along the way, Carroll hopes to trump such trendy pseudo-sports as competitive eating and rock-paper-scissors.
“It’s really about the skills,” he insists. “We’ve noticed the same teams making it to the finals year after year. It’s definitely more of a legitimate sport than competitive eating. I mean, that’s just unhealthy.”
World Series of Beer Pong qualifier
Where: The Sets in Tempe (93 E. Southern Ave. on the southeast corner of Mill and Southern)
When: Noon today
Cost: $40 entry fee
Information: (480) 829-1822 or thesets.com