2013 Scotch Pong World Championships - West St. Paul, MN
Last November, our friend Dantigravity came up with a concept for something that had potential to be life-altering – Scotch Pong. It’s like Beer Pong, but much classier. Dantigravity thought D.Rough and I should host this event, since we have the room to pull off a party of this magnitude.
If you’re unfamiliar with Beer Pong, I’ll give you the basics: You set up a triangle of red solo cups at each end of a long table (like a bowling pin configuration). Then, one member of each team throws or bounces a ping pong ball and tries to get it into the cups at the opposite end of the table. If the ball goes in the cup, that opposing team has to drink what’s in the cup. Simple, right?
Now let’s look at some numbers. Beer generally has 3-7% alcohol by volume. Scotch has 40-50% alcohol by volume. Do you see where we are going with this? I had to come up with some way for people not to DIE at this event. I thought we’d go with just a shot of scotch in the cups, rather than a mostly full cup. Also, we’d only use 6 cups, instead of 10 cups. Still too deadly, in my opinion. This event is a double elimination tournament, so participants would be playing a minimum of two complete games. And people sometimes forget to drink water during these events, so I needed to add water into the game. That lead to three cups of water and three cups of scotch for each team.
Then, these games could go pretty quickly, so I needed to come up with a way to drag this out as long as possible,. If participants were required to drink multiple shots quickly, things were going to go south FAST. So…… I changed the red solo cups to glass low-ball (old fashioned) glasses. You might think this isn’t a big change, but it turned out to be the greatest impact on the evening. It is REALLY difficult to get a ping pong ball to go into a glass cup, even with liquid inside the cup. I bought a case of low-ball glasses from a bar supply store and did some trial runs. Plus, drinking scotch out of glass cups is more classy, and we’re all about class at the Scotch Pong World Championships.
Due to the high alcohol content for the evening, the official Twitter hashtag for the event was #MassSuicideFest2013. Thank you, TempleOfDoom for coming up with that most appropriate moniker for the event. And everything is more fun with FUN-fetti cake!!!
The entry fee was simple for this event – bring a new or full-ish bottle of whatever scotch you would like to drink. We had one team accidentally bring Irish whiskey and we would not let them participate. However, KingDavid had brought a bottle of Islay Mist (clearly the Arbor Mist of Scotland), and happily donated it to the team so they could play. Thank you, KingDavid, for your generous donation.
I won’t go into details about the entire night, but it was one of the most fun parties D.Rough and I have ever thrown. We encouraged people to dress formally, since it was a fancy event. Many people did dress up and it enhanced the atmosphere of the entire night. I even broke out a new ascot for the night. (I had already taken off my tux jacket by this point - sorry it didn't make it in the photo)
We had eight teams participating in this double elimination tournament with only one team swap out when one team went home ill (flu-related, not alcohol-related). Awkward Taco was under the weather to begin with, and coincidentally, The Kool-Aid Kids arrived just as Awkward Taco forfeited the game.
We had The Highlander and Braveheart showing on the television to highlight the Scottish heritage of this event. We also realized that we had inadvertently scheduled the event on Robert Burns’ (famous Scottish poet) birthday. What better way to honor his fine work than with a Scotch-drinking event.
We had a crowd of designated drivers, spouses, live-tweeters, photographers, and revelry-lovers. This group provided much cheering and heckling and even some food to help participants absorb alcohol. I’m so glad we had spectators to witness the shenanigans.
There were numerous upsets and nail-biting rounds. Many matches came down to one cup for each team. That cup is extremely difficult to drop a ping pong ball into, especially using glass cups.
In the end, Team Casual (featuring our very own M.Giant and his partner whom he hadn’t met before that night) triumphed TWICE over Bearded Wonders (featuring B.Sweet and ME!!!). Bearded Wonders only had to win one of the two games to win the title and we managed to get both games down to one cup for each team before Team Casual swooped in for the win. Team Casual had to win both games to win the title (which they did). It was an intense battle, but seriously, it was incredible fun for everyone.
(Thanks for the photo, Spike!)
Some other hilarious things that happened:
Team Commander Stein didn’t realize “cask strength” means super-alcohol-y scotch
Man wearing ascot vs. Man in Tuxedo
Team Dan Dan noticed after their second round, that their scotch was 10% higher ABV than everyone else’s
Space Jam was quite inspiring in Commander Stein’s gameplay, also thanks to Scar for top-notch coaching (You’re the best Mr. Fuji ever!)
Teams that pre-gamed before the event didn’t fare well
Unsanctioned extra-curricular scotch pong WILL, in fact, get you weavy-drunk
Irish AND Canadian whiskeys were barred from participation
Taki’s go with every party
More parties need roller derby infield seating
We even had some subtle product placement from the Twin Cities Terrors’s newest men’s roller derby team – The Thunderjacks! Nicely played, gentlemen.
Here is the final bracket for the night. Very impressive, mainly in people’s ability to hold their liquor.
And finally, the most hilarious part of the night (and a little before and after): the Twitter feed for the evening. It was quite entertaining to read. I broke it all down to only related tweets, to make your lives easier. But, if you are into twitter at all, you’ll be highly amused by the live event tracking for our home viewers. Open this document (which is in Word) and start at the bottom of the page and read up to the top. You’ll thank me later.
Huge thanks to all the participants, spectators, live tweeters, referees, photographers, food-bringers, and designated drivers. We couldn't have done it without you all!