Beer, beer, beer. What can you say? It’s great. Pain-go-bye-bye juice. Homer Simpson once called it the cure for, and source of, all mankind’s problems—or something like that. Ben Franklin said it was proof that God exists and wants us to be happy. It provoked quaint thoughts and queer fancies in Edgar Allan Poe. Even the ancient Egyptians loved the sauce, as the following proverb shows: “The mouth of a perfectly happy man is filled with beer.”
And when it comes to beer and sports, they complement each other as much as sex and begging. People drink it at sports venues, while watching sports on TV or listening to it on the radio, when drafting their fantasy-football teams, when talking about sports, when celebrating their team’s success and bitterly dealing with their failures.
But, of course, chugging beer and playing sports are incongruous at best. The hoppy goodness makes you fuzzy, stupid, erratic and clumsy and hinders your judgment. Recreationally, it’s far better to combine beer with sex than sports. That’s just stupid.
Or . . . is it? Following are 10 sports in which the liquid derived from saccharomyces cerevisiae (ale yeast) might not be mandatory and might not help your performance, but definitely enhances the experience.
You may have heard a resounding “awww, crap” echo across Huntington Beach in January. That was because Police Chief Ken Small put a ban on the most popular bar game of all time—beer pong. But enthusiasts of the game have gone underground; it’s not hard to set up a pyramid of red-plastic cups in the privacy of your own residence. In fact, it’s quite easy, and we highly recommend it! Partially fill some kegger cups with a beer of your choice (lighter seems to be easier to chug), arrange them in a triangle (the 3-2-1 format is traditional), then try to shoot a Ping-Pong ball into your opponent’s cup, making them drink the contents. (Of course, it’s always a good idea to keep another beer in one hand. You know, in case you get thirsty.) The one who ends up drinking all their cups is the loser, but let’s be honest: It’s really a win-win situation. (Erin DeWitt)
Not a sport, if you consider a sport being something you have to get off your ass to play, but definitely a sport in terms of competition and intensity. And without a doubt, playing chess while buzzed will open strategic doors you never could have imagined sober. It will also end disastrously. The real challenge of drinking beer while chessing: Can you really trust your opponent to not cheat when you have to break your urinary seal? (Joel Beers)
Get yer mind out of the gutter: This ain’t no Dan Savage-ism. It’s a competitive endeavor also known as Indiana horseshoes, corn toss and lots of other cute names. Basically, it’s all about throwing stuff into boxes. It’s like horseshoes, except wooden boxes, called cornhole platforms, are used instead of stakes, and corn bags are used instead of horseshoes. There’s a hole in the box, and any bag in the hole earns three points. If you just hit the platform, it’s one point. First tosser to hit 21 wins. It can be played anywhere, and as long as you can aim and toss 30 feet, you can play. Now, obviously, finding bags of corn might not be easy in Orange County, but you can use just about anything: rolled-up socks, potatoes, your grandmother’s panties. The sky’s the limit. And how can you not play any game called cornholing without your buddy Weiser in hand? Check out www.playcornhole.org for all the appropriate 411. (JB)
It’s not a true pub unless there’s a dart board hanging in a dark, cobwebby corner. Among the many drinking establishments, we like Campus Billiards in Cypress and the Irisher in Seal Beach. The game has been around for decades, and the dartboard itself has seen numerous makeovers, from being constructed of solid elm to sisal fibers. But one thing has remained steadfast throughout the years: Whatever you do, do not walk in front of one. The game of darts is designed to only take one hand to play—enabling the other to hold your drink—and revolves around throwing a really sharp thing across the room with as much precision as you can muster, which usually isn’t much as long as that other hand stays busy funneling booze into your face. (ED)
First: No one is supposed to bring beer into a city or county park (although you can get a permit to truck in suds at a county park for a wedding or special event). So, if you’re discing and drinking, you’re a bad, bad, bad person. It’s disrespectful, illegal and just bad form. But lots and lots of people do it. So if you are a sociopath who absolutely must imbibe while competing in this very difficult sport, keep this in mind: You might want to set your beer down before you spin a Herculean drive off the tee. A great deal of acceleration is needed to gain the necessary momentum for distance, and you’re probably going to spill some of the precious contents of your 40 of Olde English. Also, how about stashing the beer in a backpack or your disc bag and just sneaking a sip from time to time? Because the more beer cans and bottles strewn about a course—even in trash cans—the more the Man is aware that low-level criminality is occurring. And no one wants Him sniffing around. (JB)
So, you take some heavy, curved metal things and throw them at sticks. What a perfect game to play with a beer in your hand! Though the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association of America takes the game a bit more seriously, horseshoes is a great backyard side attraction to the main event (which is drinking—it’s always drinking) that you can set up practically anywhere—like that ugly dirt patch alongside the garage. Get the horseshoe around the stick, and score some points—hell, get the horseshoe close to the stick, and that’s cool, too. It’s a perfect game to play if you’re blitzed—or just like throwing stuff at other stuff. (ED)
Okay, so it may not be as much of a sport as some of the others here, but you can’t deny it’s a physical activity. You sit on a block of ice and slide down a hill. It sounds simple, but if you’re going to sneak into a park at night, risk running headfirst into a tree or freezing your ass to a block of ice, we sincerely hope there’s alcohol involved—some say holding a beer in one hand helps keep your balance. (ED)
Yep, the sport of royalty is still around, with scores of lawn-bowling clubs scattered across the country, including five in Orange County. Since you only need one hand to toss the ball, which only weighs about 3 pounds, you’ve got a free hand. And the choice is yours: You can cradle the ball with your free hand in order for a more accurate toss, or you can hold a can or bottle of liquid courage in it, which won’t help you play any better but might make you forget that you’re actually being quite serious about playing one of the least-serious games ever invented. (JB)
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Pool is one of those games that’s usually bet upon by its players. And, well, drinking while betting money on your skill and exactitude can be tricky business. And keeping a beer in your hand? Well, that’s what the side of the pool table is for—don’t try to shoot one-handed, stupid! You’ll only set your beer down for two seconds. Promise. But here’s an old trick we’d like to hand down (Paul’s Cocktails in Orange is a great place to do this): Start the night off by horsing around with your buddies, playing worse than usual on purpose—and fer chrissakes, lay off the shots if you’re going to try to pull this off. Then, after the pool hounds have seen your inept talents, invite one to a friendly game with a friendly bet, and—what’s that? What’d you call my shot? A Viking? Is that a good thing? (ED)
Nothing better than posting up in right field during a casual softball game and pounding a few Mickeys while everybody else huffs and puffs. Laugh at all the crowers running and scooping up grounders and chasing down flies in short left. Smile at the guy smacking his bat into the ground for whiffing at a third strike. Just kick back, enjoy the cool night air, and bask in the realization that life is so—hold on, there’s a line drive screaming toward your mug! (JB)
This article appeared in print as "10 Sports You Can Play With a Beer In Your Hand."