Beirut: King of drinking games
Posted: Wednesday October 5, 2005 11:27AM; Updated: Wednesday October 5, 2005 11:27AM
They look at you funny when you ask for them at the drug store on Friday nights. You're sweating. There's panic in your voice. "What kind of ping-pong junkie am I dealing with?" the cashier wonders, casually sliding her right hand to the alarm button.
"Aisle six," she says. The young couple in line clutching a romantic comedy and a king-size bag of Twizzlers nods at you knowingly, wistfully. But rather than acknowledge them, you tear off like a Labrador after a stick, looking for those white .09 ounce balls that bring so much happiness to so many.
When it comes to boozing on college campuses, some people bounce quarters, flip cups or roll dice. Others prefer card or word games that degenerate into a slew of Bizzes and Buzzes. The rugby guys may sip their beverages over a few dirty limericks. A group of gals may pop open a bottle of merlot and watch Sex and the City reruns until their teeth are stained pink. But for the most part, on college campuses from Walla Walla to Santa Clara, from Miami of Ohio to Miami of Florida, Beirut is king.
The game is simple, though if you don't know the rules you're probably either over 30 or a computer science whiz. Beirut is usually played in dank, musty basements, but can also be played in locales of higher learning. Most teams begin with a triangle of 10, 16-ounce, red plastic cups, though there's no reason you can't play with bigger cups or more cups, as these guys did at Lehigh.
The A List even played once against a blind student. When we gave him a good-natured ribbing for his shoddy play he reminded us, "Hey, if I plunk I win and if I miss and have to drink, I win." Can't argue with that.
What can be argued is if you had one cup remaining and you had to plunk to avoid a naked run, which current college student would you give the ball to? We were leaning towards Duke sharpshooter J.J. Redick until he told us, "When I step on the table, people [expect great things and] will say stuff like 'You're 95% from the free throw line' and I'm like, 'It's a ping-pong ball and a Solo cup.' It's a completely different game." All the same, we're leaning towards Syracuse's Gerry McNamara.