Tailgating isn't new. Ancient Greeks drank mead outside the Parthenon back when the Olympics were all-nude, but - like real sports - tailgating games are always evolving. So, while games like bocce ball are certainly a throwback, today's most adventurous thirsty throwers continue to invent new ways to play before bucking up to pay stadium prices. Here we'll take a look at ladder ball and some of the other new-school innovations in the world of leisure sports.
A tailgating game needs to be simple. Easy to learn, easy to set-up, and easy to take down. If you've ever tried to play flag football or pinochle while holding a fully-loaded bratwurst, you understand. Tailgate games have evolved naturally to accommodate this simplicity. So, when we invented horseshoes, we started tossing them. When we invented washers, we started tossing them. When we invented bean bags... well we invented them to be tossed in the first place, but you get the idea. Here's what's going on at the cool tailgate parties today:
Ladder ball - Throwing Us for a Loop
Party Like It's 1999
Around 1999, the game of beanbag toss, a.k.a. "cornhole," started to catch on in the midwestern United States. A tossing-game derivative using hand-held bean bags and angled wooden targets, its simplicity and DIY components helped cornhole expand quickly. Its popularity is especially strong in Cincinnati, where many argue the game originated, and Kentucky, where people claim their ancestors created it in Germany in the 14th century. Either way, this game is clearly here to stay.
Tailgating is about having a good time with food, drinks, and games. Sometimes, though, you have to prioritize. Some tailgate games, certain types of "pong," allow streamline the playing and drinking into one sublimely satisfying competition. If you win you win, if you lose you drink. Splash Cup Football and Mini Table Tennis Tables are perfect for setting up these guzzling games. Spend any time on a college campus, and you'll see these games reaching dizzying heights.
These shoes were made for walkin'
Horseshoes are perfect for tailgating, but they aren't exactly new. For as long as we've been shoeing our equine friends, we've been screwing around during free time. Legend has it that idle Roman soldiers would take turns trying to toss large metal rings over a stake in the ground. The game of horseshoes brings a distinctly nostalgic vibe to the tailgate and contributes the "clang" of heavy metal to the soundtrack.
Much like horseshoes, the game of washers came about when the requisite materials were commonplace. Washer pitching started in the 1920s when gamers found themselves awash with small metal parts and tin cans on account of the industrial revolution. As a game that finds its roots in a time period instead of a geographical region, you'll find an incredible number of "right" ways to play. For instance, folks in St. Louis set washer boxes 25 feet apart and typically play to 15 points, while the northeastern US plays the game while seated. There are many more variations of washers out there, and continued evolution is likely.
In the 1960s, everybody smoked, looked cool, and listened to great music, right? They also figured out a cooler way to golf - with a disc. The flying disc wasn't new, it'd been around since the early 1900s, but it was always used for playing catch. Sometime around 1964, alternative students at colleges across the country took to the golf courses during off hours and created their own take on their fathers' sport. Now a burgeoning national phenomenon, disc golf is fun, easy (to get started), and you don't even have to wear bellbottoms.