Never played beer pong? Then you’re probably 27 or older, or so says Dan Lindsay of Los Angeles, a Rockford native who is somewhat of an expert on the drinking game that is especially big in college towns. It’s not that he’s a champion beer pong player. Rather, he directed a documentary about them. It’ll premiere next month at an edgy film festival in Las Vegas.
Never played beer pong?
Then you’re probably 27 or older, or so says Dan Lindsay of Los Angeles, a Rockford native who is somewhat of an expert on the drinking game that is especially big in college towns.
It’s not that he’s a champion beer pong player. Rather, he directed a documentary about them. It’ll premiere next month at an edgy film festival in Las Vegas.
Lindsay’s 84-minute movie “Last Cup: Road to the World Series of Beer Pong” will be shown at the 10th CineVegas Film Festival, June 12 to 21 at the Palms Casino Resort. The movie follows four of the best beer pong players in America as they compete in the second annual World Series of Beer Pong.
Lindsay had seen people play beer pong but hadn’t played himself before he took on the project. He’s 29, and it’s his observation that you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone younger than 27 who has not played beer pong. “It’s in every college (town) at every party,” he said in a telephone interview last week.
Even so, when a filmmaking acquaintance asked him to direct a movie about the World Series of Beer Pong, he laughed. “This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard of,” Lindsay said, recalling his initial reaction that there was even such an event.
When they started filming, they considered making it half “mockumentary” and half documentary, Lindsay said. Then he realized how serious the players are and decided to make a lighthearted documentary.
His regard now for beer pong and its players and watchers: “I have a fondness for the community of people,” he said.
About the game
Beer pong is a drinking game in which players throw a ping-pong ball across a table, with the aim of landing the ball in one of six or 10 cups partly filled with beer. When a ball lands in a cup, the defending team must drink all the beer in that cup.
The game is won by eliminating all of the other team’s cups before your own team’s cups are gone. The losing team then consumes the beer left in the winning team’s cups.
Teams often are made of two players, and they alternate shots back and forth.
Games typically last 10 to 20 minutes and usually are played in garages or basements.
Lindsay’s research shows that the “sport” was born in the basement of a fraternity house in the late 1950s at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. He estimates there are tens of thousands of seriously competitive beer pong players.
Does Lindsay believe beer pong promotes excessive drinking and drinking by those who aren’t of legal age? He said he knows those things can happen, but that’s not the case in the film. There, contestants are at least 21 years old, and the competitions result in drinking one beer per hour, or five beers from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
He said those who’ve seen the documentary say they almost forget a third of the way through that the focus is beer pong because they’re so into the characters.
Acquaintances who knew about Lindsay’s documentary skills helped get “Last Cup” to premiere at CineVegas, Lindsay said. And the fact that the beer pong world series was held in Mesquite, Nev., appealed to those promoting the more off-beat CineVegas and its Nevada roots. Filming also occurred in Chicago, Milwaukee, Baltimore and Boston.
Actor Dennis Hopper, best known for his role in “Easy Rider,” about two counterculture motorcycle riders, is chairman of the festival’s creative advisory board.
The debut could mean the documentary might be picked up by film distributors for viewing through video-on-demand Web sites, Lindsay said.
“Personally, I don’t concern myself with that,” Lindsay said. “I’m happy that it’s going to be seen by more than my parents.”
Georgette Braun can be reached at (815) 987-1331 or email@example.com.
On the Web
To see a video clip of “Last Cup: Road to the World Series of Beer Pong,” go to cinevegas.net, click on 2008 Program, then Pioneer Documentaries, then Last Cup.
For those at least 21 years old, find out more about beer pong at beerpong.com.
Is beer pong played in local bars?
It has been at Chubby Rain House of Tunes in Poplar Grove, for example, but not anymore.
Owner Mark Currier said the game was played at Chubby Rain for about three months, but he stopped offering it about seven months ago. “I don’t think the cops liked it,” he said. “On the nights we had it, they parked four-deep, waiting,” he said.
Sgt. Dave Jacobson of the Loves Park Police Department said he’s unaware of any beer pong going on in Loves Park bars. “If problems surfaced because of that, we would have a talk with the owners,” he said. “But if they played the game and there were no problems, we wouldn’t interfere.”
About Dan Lindsay
Hometown: Rockford; a 1997 graduate of Boylan Catholic High School, where he wrestled and played soccer
Residence: Los Angeles, where he’s lived for seven years and now rooms with Daxx Nielsen, drummer and son of Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen of Rockford
Other activities: Writer and actor who has played small parts on TV in “The Office” and “Entourage”
Family: Parents Kathy Lindsay, retired, and Mike Lindsay, a financial planner with Dan’s brother, Brian, of Rockford; and another brother, Patrick Lindsay, who lives in the Chicago area.
Local players: Beer pong a great way to socialize
Former and current college students who live in the Rock River Valley like playing beer pong because it’s fun and easy to play with friends when they get together.
Jeremy Behling, 24, an evening DJ at WZOK 97.5 FM who goes by the name JB Love on radio, said he usually plays in a friend’s garage and drinks Miller Lite as part of the game. “You’d have to be gutsy to play with Guinness or lagers,” he said, noting that you would likely get drunk fast if drinking such heavier beers.
He said he and his friends don’t drink and drive when they play the game. “We usually end up crashing on someone’s couch.”
Behling likes playing beer pong, he said, because it’s all about socializing and competing. “And you don’t have to do any stretching” exercises, he said.
Cassie Gottschalk, 21, of Byron, who’ll be a senior at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb in the fall, said she first saw beer pong played at a house party. “It’s fun to compete,” she said, adding that she prefers to drink Bud Light as part of the game.
Gottschalk had T-shirts made for Christmas gifts for her and her beer-pong partner, Sean Mattingly of Stillman Valley, who go by the name “Team Bomb.” The shirts declare them champions.
Playing and watching beer pong is entertaining, she said. “It’s a good way to get a bunch of people involved and not have to worry about something to do.”