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The State of Suds

Let The (Drinking) Games Begin

By John Allen

With the Olympic Trials arriving in town and the Summer Olympics right around the corner, it’s hard to resist getting caught up in the spirit of sport and competition. As ABC’s late, great Jim McKay used to tell us every Saturday afternoon, it’s all about the “thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.” 

There is one type of competition that affords competitors the opportunity to experience both visceral emotions simultaneously. The games in this competition come in many forms, take place on various fields of play and have very different rules. However, the goal is always the same — to achieve supreme and undisputed intoxication. Of course, the competition I speak of is the wide world of drinking games.

Too many years ago, as an enthusiastic, wide-eyed college freshman, I was a competitor. Quarters was my game. I could bounce coins into shot glasses with the best of them, or so I thought until I met my nemesis: Beowulf. That was his nickname. I don’t even know what his real name was. Anyway, this skinny dude was named after the hero of the Geats, and he could deal in the realm of quarters.

 Sure, I could land maybe 75 percent of my shots. But Beowulf had a technique that involved the use of a 1/8 inch gap between his front teeth. He would place a quarter vertically in his mouth, between the gap and lower lip, and he would simply drop the quarter onto the table. It would bounce on edge once and find its way to the bottom of the shot glass — every time! Try as I might to hold my own against this gap-toothed quarters prodigy, I could not do it. 

Time after time I found myself in a dormitory bathroom stall thinking that once again I had been defeated, and that Stroh’s beer tasted about the same coming up as it did going down. That’s when the true spirit of drinking games hit me. Sure, I was a loser because I was face down in a toilet vomiting with the force of a fire hose. But I was also a winner because despite my nausea, I had achieved the ultimate goal of any drinking game. I was drunk!  

With these fond memories, I set out to research drinking games in general and find out what, if anything, college kids are playing today. Wow! Never did I realize how many ways people had invented to tie one on while in the heat of competition. Here are some of my favorites.

Bizz Buzz: It’s all about the mathematics. Players sit in a circle and begin counting from one. Every time a number is divisible by three, the player says “bizz.” Divisible by five, the player says “buzz.” Divisible by both, the player must somehow utter the tongue-twisting phrase “bizz-buzz.” Mess up or hesitate at all in your calculations and the penalty is … you guessed it — DRINK! Sounds simple, but after nine PBRs, even Nobel laureate mathematician John Nash from A Beautiful Mind would get flustered.

TV Games: All you need is a television, an electrical outlet and the desire to get loaded. Ahhh, technology! These games vary widely and yet oddly, somehow are all the same. Every time Napoleon Dynamite says “Gosh,” drink. Every time Kramer busts through Jerry’s door, drink. Every time Homer says “D’oh,” George W. says “nu-cu-lar” or anyone in any Quentin Tarantino movie drops an F-bomb …  drink, drink and drink!  

Has anyone … hiccup … sssseen the remote?

Boxing: Yes, the sweet science and oh, so simple. All you need is a stopwatch, four people, two shot glasses and some beer. There are two boxers and a corner man for each boxer. The boxers roll the dice. The lower roll drinks a shot of beer. The corner man’s job is to refill the glass. It is intended to be fast-paced. Three minute rounds with 30 second breaks between rounds. If Mike Tyson hits you, you’re punch drunk. When 67 shots of beer in 13 minutes hit you, you’re just plain drunk.  

Beer Pong (Beirut): Beer pong, as far as I can tell, is today’s most popular alcohol consuming game. According to the “World Series of Beer Pong” (yes, you read that correctly), it is played on an 8-foot by 2-foot table, regulation height 27.5 inches. At either side of the table 16-ounce cups form an equilateral triangle. 

House rules vary widely depending on university or region (e.g., “Ivy League Rules,” or “West Coast Rules”). However, the gist of the game is to throw the ball across the table into the opposing team’s cups. When the ping-pong ball finds its way into one of your cups, you drink. Failure to do so in an expedited fashion incurs a penalty of — what else? — drinking more. The winner of the game is decided when one player eliminates all his or her opponent’s cups. 

Like many competitive endeavors, beer pong is not without its inherent health risks, and unfortunately, in this case, they extend beyond the usual risks associated with heavy binge drinking. With a stray ping-pong ball bouncing around a college student’s basement and then into a beverage to be consumed, bacteria are a concern. While some rules allow for balls to be dunked into a cup of water, research by one enterprising college student “has shown that the wash cups still hold bacteria such as E. coli.” What makes midterms way more fun? Give me an E! Give me a C! ... 

So there you go: some fun and competitive ways to socialize and intoxicate yourself. And remember, in drinking games there are no losers. That is to say unless you fail to recognize the not-so-fine line where games become real life. So PLEASE drink responsibly. Know your limits and after the game is over, by any and all means, stay away from the wheel of an automobile. 

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