Am I the only idiot who didn’t know that ‘Beirut’ is another name for ‘Beer Pong’.. We all know what Beer Pong is right? That idiotic college drinking game involving beer and balls (wait..that didn’t sound right).
For those of you who don’t know, according to the semi-official Wikipedia Definition:
“Beer pong, also known as Beirut, is a drinking game in which players throw a ping pong ball across a table with the intent of landing the ball in a cup of beer/water on the other end. The game typically consists of two two-to-four-player teams and multiple cups set up, in triangle formation, on each side. There are no official rules, so rules may vary widely, though usually there are six or ten plastic cups arranged in a triangle on each side. Each side then takes turns attempting to shoot ping pong balls into the opponent’s cups. If a ball lands in a cup, then the contents of that cup are consumed, and the cup is either placed aside or reinserted into the triangle. If the cup is reinserted and the other team knocks the cup over, it is removed. If the opposing team throws the ball into an empty cup, they must consume the contents of one of their cups. The first side to eliminate all of the opponent’s cups is the winner.
The order of play varies—both players on one team shoot followed by both players on the other team, or players on opposite teams can alternate back and forth.“
Anyway, I was doing some research on this, and came across an article tilted The History of Beirut (beer pong) by Chase Kinser of Boston College. In it he explains the origin of the game and the name ‘Beirut’,
“Everything has a history: this country, the person you hooked-up with last weekend, even your credit. Histories like these are easily accessible, all you have to do ask your professor, or your roommate, or those singing free credit report guys, and you will have an entire past laid out before you. Naturally, as college students and academics, we relish these opportunities to learn about the past. Of course, we love them even more when we can learn about the history of things we do quite frequently, like play Beirut.
Just because the point of playing Beirut is to get swaysted and free the brain from contemplating academic material, it doesn’t mean that we can’t still explore its history. As people who spend all their time drinking or thinking, it would appear to be our social responsibility. Ironically, though, there isn’t much scholarly material on the predominantly college game, probably because people were too busy drinking to think of it. Even so, there is some history, and it begins with Beirut’s alternative and controversial name, Beer Pong.
Beer Pong is first thought to have started somewhere in the fraternities of Dartmouth College in the 1950’s and 1960’s as a drinking game version of ping pong. There were only 1-3 cups on a side and it was played with paddles. Even still, the game had some popularity as it slowly spread around the east coast until the game we all adore originated in the 1980s.
One legend states that in 1986 at a Lehigh Fraternity, Sigma Nu, the game evolved from its primitive form with whacking devices. The story claims that during a rowdy game, the frat brothers broke all the paddles, and in their persistence to keep drinking like good students, they decided to use their hands and arms. They also added more cups on each side, but basic logic says they’re probably not the first group of college guys to think more beer was a good idea.
Thankfully, not all of them blacked-out, so they were able to play the game again, and from then on, it started to grow even more popular as people realized there wasn’t a point to playing with paddles. Since this was the 1980s and college students were aware of world events, they dubbed the new game “Beirut” after a recent story about a Hezbollah suicide bomber that killed 241 U.S. Marines in an American camp in Beirut. The vengeful founders of the game wanted the U.S. to retaliate by bombing that city, so they named the game based on its visual image of dropping bombs.
My Note: The origin of the name Beirut is disputed. According to wikipedia, “A 2004 op-ed article in the Daily Princetonian, the student newspaper at Princeton University, suggested that the name was possibly coined at Bucknell University or Lehigh University around the time of the Lebanese Civil War, Beirut being the capital of Lebanon and scene of much fighting.“
Other sources say that a different fraternity in Lehigh created the pastime based on observing a similar game at Bucknell University in 1983. Although not all sources agree on the specifics, the main idea is that the final concept originated at Lehigh somewhere in the 1980s. This would also explain why most New Englanders call today’s game Beirut rather than Beer Pong, having picked it up from their Pennsylvanian compatriots.
Ultimately, this history of Beirut tells us that once upon a time, a few students got drunk, rough, and clever enough to invent a game. Today, because of their genius, ping pong balls and customized tables are necessities that every party must have. See, history is great, isn’t it?”
How do you feel about the fact that a drinking game was named after Beirut because it reminded people of Israeli bombs being dropped on the city?