Summer Games: Cornhole

Now that summer is here, it's time to get that itchy shirt off and get outside. This is doubly true in times of Cub woe that we're currently experiencing - we need something to pass the time and dull the pain. Summer Games will examine some classic outside games, carefully choosing ones that lend themselves to shirtless participation and the coexistence of your favorite summer beverage.

Yeah, the name should scare you. Cornhole, or Baggo, or Bags, or the bastard step-child of horseshoes. Different names, all the same game. It seems the gaming industry has tried to distance itself from the original name of Cornhole. Jeez, why would they ever want to do that? Cornhole is a game that was once described by Stephen Colbert as a cross between horseshoes and sodomy. And as resident bartender Dave Thomas will tell you, cornhole was something entirely different on the fierce streets of Purdue University, and in retrospect, maybe it's not so prestigious to brag about winning a (Purdue) cornhole contest.

Regardless of what you call it, the basics of the game are virtually the same. The bags are supposed to be made of duck material, which is the fabric Carhart jackets are made from, not feathers and bills. The bags should be 6" x 6" and filled with dried feed corn (traditionally) and should end up weighing one pound. Obviously corn is not a must, plastic pellets could be substituted, which will help if the bags ever get wet. (Please don't tell me about "tradition" with corn. Do you use sheepskin condoms in lieu of latex?)

All bags are thrown at the boards, typically measuring 2' wi
de and 4' tall. Dimensions may vary depending on material, but I'd strongly suggest throwing on wooden structures and NOT the crappy plastic ones they sell at Walmart or the local Piggly Wiggly. The boards have a 6" hole in them placed 9" on center from the back of the board. The boards are set on an angle with the rear of the board being 12" off the ground. Ah, the heck with this, if you want to build your own, you can find tons of plans online. A good one here. The boards are set apart so that from hole to hole there is 33'.

Scoring is perhaps one of the few attractive parts of cornhole, it's fast and furious. If you throw your bag in the hole, you got a cornhole (glory h
ole!) and are awarded three points. If your bag lands on the board you get one point. Bags are tossed alternately between contestants and after each cornholer has thrown four bags, you calculate the scoring. Points cancel out points, cornholes cancel out cornholes. So, if Cornholer A throws two cornholes and two points, and Cornholer B throws one cornhole and three points, then Cornholer A gets 2 points. Cornholer A would throw first in the next round, scoring goes to 21.

Like it or not, cornhole has really gained popularity year by year. It lends itself greatly, I'll admit, to tailgaiting. In a crowded parking lot it's not exactly feasible to pitch horseshoes or bowl bocce balls. One pound bags of corn are pretty much harmless. Obviously drinking plays a part as in most, if not all, outdoor summer games. If you've played enough, you've probably come across one of the many drinking games associated with cornhole. Rumor has it that weed can also play a role as well.

The boards, themselves, have become a way for the
owners to express their personal flair or allegiances to sports teams. The aforementioned plastic boards that you get from the grocery store will typically come adorned with your local college or pro team. Please stay away from these. They're smaller boards, they bounce like no other, and last you maybe a few years at most. The wood boards are easy to build, and you can paint or decorate them as you see fit. Are you torn by who you like more - Pink Floyd or The Cubs? An Iowa fan (Jeez, nice effort)? Even goths play cornhole!

Chad Cordero could not be reached for comment. It's ALLEGED that he blamed his pitching injuries and subsequent regression on cornholing.

But really, nothing is truly a legitimate game until it has officially jumped the shark, right? Or, as we say around The Saloon, "nuked the fridge". You can even play

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