Beer pong: whether you love it, hate it, or had your entire college and post-grad life defined by it, there’s no denying that it plays a significant part in the entire history of drinking and the beer culture. When you think about it from a general standpoint, beer pong is a game that ties all generations together and brings every kind of beer drinker in agreement over its importance, which just shows how special it truly is! 

As celebrated as beer pong may be, however, there’s one important question that needs to be answered: what’s the history behind it? 

While it may not be historically immense, beer pong has a surprisingly-rich history behind it that may amaze any curious enthusiast or drinker. In the spirit of knowledge and drinking games, we’ve prepared a cohesive lesson on the history of beer pong, how it came to be, and all the developments that led it to become the cultural institution it is today. 

The history of beer pong in a nutshell

To better appreciate every shot you take and all the red cups, ping pong balls, and brewskies that make the game, let’s go over the game’s surprisingly-rich history in greater detail: 

Dartmouth College – The 1950s

The earliest recorded example of anyone throwing a ping pong ball into a beer-filled cup for fun dates back to the 1950s, long before Ford rolled out its first mustang and a few years before Elvis’s debut. While it may not necessarily have the most professional of historians or well-written history, the birth of beer pong has been tracked by all sources of information to a frat house’s basement in Dartmouth College.  

What first started as a quick getaway of boredom by putting a cup on the table between shots, it later grew into becoming a widespread game that took the nationwide college drinking scene by storm. It took quite a few forms and trial-and-error periods before beer pong picked up the staple mechanics that players around the world follow to this day. 

The spread of throw pong – The 1980s

For a while, beer pong was known as “that game” or several other incohesive nicknames until it was officially dubbed as “throw pong” in the 1980s. Along with the name change, however, came some tweaks in the game’s mechanics, such as a standard triangle formation of either six or ten cups and a complete disregard of using ping-pong paddles altogether.

The final name change – The late 1990s

With higher tensions and a threat of a third world war on the horizon, the US sent its troops to various locations, such as Libya, Lebanon, and Tripoli, to keep matters under control and avenge the deaths of American troops at the hand of suicide bombers. In between battles, former college students-turned-soldiers decided to kill time by opening a few cold ones and playing their all-time favourite game of throw pong.  Without a paddle, however, troops were left with a few cups, ping-pong balls, bottles of beer, and their own hands to throw the ball back and forth into the cups, which eventually led to the name, “beer pong.”

Knowing a bit of history behind the game of beer pong is a great way to hone a sense of appreciation for every shot that you make and each cup that you drink in every game. While it may not have a longstanding history, the story of beer pong is definitely worth looking back at and adding to in the future! 

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