||It has been suggested that this article be merged with Beer pong (paddles). (Discuss) Proposed since February 2013.|
Slam pong is a form of beer pong. Unlike many other variants of beer pong, slam pong is a fast-moving game that retains some of the rules of table tennis but borrows inspiration from the rules and game play of volleyball. The name slam pong is derived from beer pong, which is in turn was derived from Ping Pong, a trademarked name for a brand of table tennis merchandise. The "slam" in slam pong refers to the action of slamming a table tennis ball with a paddle into a plastic cup of beer placed on the table, the fundamental way of scoring points in the game.
Beer Pong with paddles can trace its origin to the mid-1950s, when fraternity houses at Dartmouth College first began to experiment with drinking games that included the placement of a newly-available plastic cup full of beer on a table tennis table during a game. An Alpha Phi Delta fraternity alumnus, David Thielscher, class of 1954, recalled in an interview for The Dartmouth newspaper that beer pong was played when he was an undergraduate. The objective was to try to hit the ball with a paddle into the cups. The sport seems to have been played in a rather informal manner through the latter half of the 1950s and the 1960s and spread to a limited number of other college campuses in the northeastern United States.
Beer pong became recognized as an intramural sport at Dartmouth College in the 1970s, with individuals and teams most often representing fraternities and sororities. Rules of the game were standardized, and competitions were held at the fraternity and sorority houses. The game was played in a manner very similar to table tennis, with one beer cup placed on the table for each player. Beer pong at Dartmouth was the only college-sponsored drinking competition in the country, until 1977 when the college decided to discontinue its sponsorship of the games. Official derecognition would not reduce the level of beer pong activity at Dartmouth or elsewhere, but would lead to many new variations on the game.
Slam pong was one of the forms of the game that evolved from the traditional beer pong of the late 1970s. Slam pong retained the use of just one beer cup per player, with two players per team, but added the twist that a legal volley required the ball to strike the paddles of both players on a team before striking the table or beer cups. One of the earliest documented record of slam pong comes from Chris Robinson, Dartmouth College class of 1986, who recalled playing slam pong when he was an undergraduate. An article in the March, 1986 issue of Playboy magazine describes slam pong being played by the brothers of Psi Upsilon at Dartmouth. By the early 1990s, slam pong was played in nearly half of all Dartmouth College Greek organizations, and had been introduced to other colleges including Bowdoin College, Bucknell University, Cornell University, Lehigh University, Princeton University, and Williams College, but by the middle of the decade was beginning to decline in popularity. By the early 2000s, slam pong had been almost totally eclipsed by other variations of beer pong, especially Beirut, one of the first variations of beer pong to be widely played across the country. At Dartmouth, lob became the standard variation of beer pong played by undergraduates.
Points are earned through hits, sinks, and knockovers. There are two primary variations for counting scoring and declaring the winner of a game. In the five-point game, hits count for one point, sinks count for two points, and knockovers count for five points. In the five-point game, whenever a team earns points, both players of that team are expected to drink one fifth of the total volume of their cup for each point. In the four-point variation of the game, hits count for one point, sinks count for up to two points, and knockovers count for up to two points. If a cup is half-full and gets sunk or knocked-over, that counts as only one point. Players in a four-point game are expected to drink half of a single cup for each point. A team cannot lose on a serve. If a team has only one point left, they cannot have the last point scored through their own ineptitude. However, if both teams have only a single point left, a team may "serve out" if others are waiting to play a subsequent game. In a five-point game, the first team to earn five points loses. In a four-point game, the first team to earn four points loses.
Concerns over binge drinking on college campuses have increased focus on games like beer pong and slam pong. Dartmouth College Anthropology Professor Hoyt Alverson published research work on the beer pong culture at Dartmouth in the early 2000s. Although slam pong had largely been replaced at Dartmouth and elsewhere by other forms of the beer pong game at that time, Alverson noted that the variations played from 1999 through 2002 involved complex social processes. "Beer pong and similar drinking games are not played solely to achieve inebriation, Alverson finds, but instead serve as a competitive outlet for high-achieving students, and a structured atmosphere for peer interaction." Critics of beer pong contend that, regardless of their social nature, the games encourage binge drinking, and should be discouraged.
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