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The Greatest Spectacle That Still Hasn’t Seen The Light Of Day

by Trevor Freeman

At first I poked fun, but now I embrace.  For if ESPN is airing the “World Series of Darts”, then we now stand on the border of the greatest sporting event known to man.  I’ll give you a hint.  

65 teams of two.  

A ten-foot table.  

Full Pitchers of Natural Light.

Fifteen cups with a six-cup overtime.

That’s right my friends.  It is time for ESPN to finally air the “World Series of Beirut”.  
Now, I know what you are saying.  “Trevor, there is no way in hell ESPN would ever televise Beer Pong”.  My question is this.  Why not?  ESPN is currently airing the “World Series of Poker” which involves just as much luck as it does skill.  Can’t you make an outstanding argument that accurately shooting a ping pong ball into a twelve-ounce cup at a distance of 8-10 feet involves more precision and skill than playing cards?  Isn’t there a case to be made that successfully balancing out the beers in order to maintain a level of sobriety for both partners requires teamwork?  And isn’t teamwork what makes us all fans of sport?

Before you laugh, let’s think this over.  Isn’t the key demographic for advertisers, males between the ages of 18-34?  The NFL and NCAA Tournament have billion dollar television contracts because everybody knows these are events people in our age group will watch.  Tell me a countrywide, “World Series of Beirut” wouldn’t become an instant cult favorite.  It would be “March Madness” meets “American Idol” meets “Cheers”.  

Envisioning this spectacle isn’t something that is a stretch of the imagination.  In fact, I can’t believe Spike hasn’t already greenlighted a “Beirut” Big Dance.  All you need to do is rent some bar space in Las Vegas/New York/Boston/Los Angeles (and when I say bar I mean something with O apostrophe at the beginning of it).  A little money probably needs to be spent in order to convince some combination of Bill Raftery/Walt Frazier/Jim Ross/Jerry “The King” Lawler to announce.  However, whatever money you spend here is made up by the fact that you wouldn’t have to pay the competitors.  “Beirut” has always been more about pride than money.  For obvious reasons, I think Tara Reid would have to be persuaded to be the sideline reporter.  All in all, it wouldn’t take much to get the “Granddaddy of all Beirut” tournaments right.    

The biggest question with putting together a “World Series of Beirut” would be choosing the 65 teams that compete.  Clearly, you have to have a representative from each state so that’s 50 teams right there.  Since Penn State hosts the largest collegiate “Beirut” tournament in the nation, their winner has to receive an automatic bid.  I would also give automatic bids to whatever team emerges in tournaments on the campuses of Chico State, Arizona State, Delaware, Florida State, and UC Santa Barbara.  Seeing as I earned the nickname “Throw Em Back” for being the greatest individual “Beirut” player in the history of the sport, me and whomever I choose to partner with are in the Big Dance as well.  That leaves eight teams.  I’m not sure how you can have a drinking competition without involving Vin Baker so he’s in with the “Reign Man” Shawn Kemp.  For the final six teams, I’m all for some open tryouts overseas and in Puerto Rico.  Perhaps reaching out to Gary Busey, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, and Brad from “Real World San Diego” would be something to look into as well.  All in all, I don’t think filling the spots would be a problem.

The real key would be to compile a set of rules that work.  In my opinion, there’s only two that would be controversial but would absolutely have to be enforced.  First off, blowing in the cups when the ball is spiraling around would be an automatic one-cup penalty.  There’s nothing more irritating than playing with a chronic cup blower.  Plus, if you really need to do that to win……..then you’re probably not very good at “Beirut”.  Secondly, leaning your entire body over the table and stretching out to throw the ping pong ball would be an automatic disqualification from the tournament.  I don’t think this rule needs to be explained at all.  If you’re a leaner, then you’re just weak.  Plain and simple.

It does not take a visionary to get the “World Series of Beirut” off the ground.  All it takes is a really important television executive to courageously pull the trigger.  If poker and darts are now worthy of television, I say what about “Beirut”?  Why not air America’s biggest underground sport?

If you have any questions or comments feel free to e-mail me at [email protected]  

22 replies on “The Greatest Spectacle That Still Hasn’t Seen The Light Of Day”

Awesome Trevor

Never have I seen such a grand vision articulated on the pages of this site.  I am very impressed with the idea.

Thank you. With ESPN airing darts and poker, I just can’t see how the World Series of Beirut isn’t feasible.  Every male between the ages of 18-34 would not only try to make the show, but also watch religiously.

not to mention Another thing that would make this very televisable would be it’s backyard playability. It’s a fan friendly sport that anyone can pick up and play. Whether it’s with water, orange juice or beer, you can find some liquid to put in there that would make the players happy. I think it’s a great idea, and a great article.

Thank you I never thought of the backyard aspect, but perhaps you could have an Outdoor and Indoor Champion like they do in College Track & Field.  It’s something to look into.  You have the Indoor champion crowned in the winter with the Outdoor championships held in summer.  Maybe hold the outdoor championships in Waikiki.  

You’re all sick where do I sign up? I’m a Beast Ice guy, though. 5.9% alcohol by volume.

Beast Ice Choosing a beer with a 5.9% alcohol volume would a whole new dimension to the contest.  Then tolerance or as I like to call it “Shooting under pressure” becomes a bigger factor.  Lots of great players lose their aim when they get progressively drunker.

This could be the most important column we’ve ever published here at Sportscolumn.

If only we had someone with enough cash to foot the bill, we could do this.

The Tourney It would be an incredible cash cow, especially if you did at the right times.  You either go on weekdays in early February right after the Super Bowl, but before March Madness kicks in.  The World Series of Beirut could be like a March Madness pre-party.  

Or you go in July.  There’s nothing happening in July other than baseball.  I would be a World Series of Beirut would actually trump regular season baseball in the ratings.

I Love the Idea Forget the four major sports plus all the other ones.  Beer pong would reel in the most viewers in the history of ESPN.  Hands down.

Great article.

First off…… Just checked the site.  And I love the fact that somebody is actually taking steps towards crowning a national champ.  For me personally, the article was a light-hearted……..yet serious plea to a Spike, FX, or ESPN2 to put together a March Madness style Beirut tourney.  

I have couple quibbles with your rules and I was wondering if you could walk me through some of the reasoning behind it.  First off, I note that you guys are playing 6 or 10 cups per side (TBD).  I don’t want to sound like a Beirut snob, but I’m not sure how you can have a regulation game without using 15 cups (with one rerack at 6 cups).  To me, 6 or 10 cups isn’t really enough.  Secondly, I see that leaning is permitted, w/ some restrictions.  I hate leaners.  I think they ruin the purity of the game.  What are the restrictions you guys put on leaning?  

Thanks for reading the article and coming over to visit Sportscolumn.com.  You should download this week’s episode of “Poor Man’s PTI” when it comes out tomorrow as we really go over the game of Beirut in some detail.

rules In choosing many of the rules behind the tourney, the organizers are using what they feel to be the consensus of the beer pong community. While 15 or 21-cup games are fun, most tournaments are held in a 10, or more commonly a 6 cup format. In addition, the prelims (most likely the first two days of the event) of the world series of beer pong (wsobp) will include games that are limited to 20 minutes (they have to be in order to fit in all the games scheduled), which could cause a problem for 15-cup pong. Yes, a decent team should not have a problem with this time restriction, but you would be surprised.

As far as leaning is concerned….it is allowed. You are allowed to have your body touching the table, but you are not allowed to put weight against the table. This has been the subject of much debate on the bpong.com website. The truth is, a leaning rule (such as no elbows past the edge of the cups) is very hard to enforce equitably and consistently in a tournament of this scale. It is something that the organizers have considered for some time…the consensus seems to be that leaning should be allowed…though this may change in future years.

I would suggest that you sign into the forums on the bpong.com site to argue (excuse me…discuss) your points. The organizers are always looking for feedback…..

Thanks for coming by and reading the article I will definitely login and weigh in on the leaning debate.  I agree with the stance that your elbows have to be behind the edge of the back row of cups.  I absolutely hate playing people who release the ball from a spot which essentially six inches to a foot past the front of top row of cups.  We use to have a Drinking Olympics amongst people at my college and leaning was not only not permitted, doing it made you the subject of intense ridicule.

Word I agree. I hate leaners too, but there’s really no way to enforce a leaning rule fairly with the volume of games they have going on. They would almost need to have a judge standing by every table and draw some kind of arbitrary, de facto line you couldn’t cross.  I didn’t make the rules though, I just show up to play. Their goal is to minimize disputes and keep the games fair, and that approach worked out great last year, despite the few leaners.

While it hasn’t quite met the graces of ESPN airwaves, our beloved game has caught a glimpse of the light. It’s only a matter of time before it hits some national spotlight. Your article almost described parts the first WSOBP. It was held the first week of January at the Oasis in Mesquite, north of Las Vegas. There was a hot playboy playmate reporting from the sidelines. To compete, however, all you had to do was register and show up, and after 3 days of pong they handed out a fat $10,000 check. The prize has double for next year, and interest has grown exponentially as well. You should definitely check it out, and maybe I’ll see you in January.

one problem with this… although I think this is good idea and possibly a huge moneymaker, there is problem. Something like would be so hard to get on tv and to advertise because of groups like mothers against drunk drving and other anti-alcoholism groups. They would be all over something like this and fight against it till the death. And they would win a case like this because of the influence it would have on teens, making the age when kids consume alcohol decrease. Thus, this could also increase drunk driving because more and more teens would drink underage. The only way around this would be to make a special channel which isn’t acessible to teens but this isn’t as feasible or as cheap as getting it on cable. Basically this is the reason why this would never grow. It was good thought though.

Beirut That’s true if you’re ESPN, but if you’re Spike TV why not?  It would be a huge moneymaker and you’re a cable channel.  It’s no different than airing violent movies.

ESPN would never do it it’d have to be on Spike.  Remember, DISNEYSPN doesn’t want to believe there’s such a thing as alcoholism or gambling.

MFADD has been around forever and they can’t influence anything.  Every single ballpark in america has beer ads everywhere.  And every day, families bring their kids to the park.  You can’t say alcohol is legal and not allow games or sponsorships involving alcohol.  Now, the World Series of Joint Rollin’  would be a tough sell.

a better comparison… This would be kind of like when the world series of poker aired on espn. More teens and kids started playing poker for money thus starting gambling at an early age. Parents (mostly mothers) didn’t like espn airing poker and started some controversy. If kids and teens see these guys playing beruit, they are going to  want to try it too. Anything that kids see on tv is going to influence them so even spike might not be able to do it. I know that there are middle school kids that watch spike so putting it on spike would not make it any better. I feel like one of their only options is like late night HBO or something of the sort. Even though parents weren’t able to get poker off tv, I think keeping beruit of tv would be a lot easier.

you know what though? f em.  Parents need to do some parenting and talk to their kids about alcohol and drugs.   Why ruin a good time FOR adults just cause they can’t control their kids?

dude there really is no way of controlling what a kid watches on tv. Any parental blocks and they will always find away around it. Same with playing beruit. I’m not saying it can’t be on tv but it would have to be a channel FOR adults like HBO late at night or starz late at night. I’m not saying it wouldn’t be a good show to watch, I just think it wouldn’t be able to happen on cable. What I was thinking about though was like going in a direction sort of like what UFC did and make a reality show for it. Takes you through the life of a beruit competitor and how they train. I think that would be really fun to watch.

Beirut Reality Show A reality show following the life and training habits of a championship Beirut player would have the potential to be the funniest show in history.  It could redefine Bill Simmons’ unintentional comedy scale.  

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