July 25 - The World Series Of...
At first I poked fun, but now I embrace. For if ESPN is airing the "World Series of Darts", then we now
stand on the border of the greatest sporting event known to man. I'll give you a hint.
65 teams of two.
A ten-foot table.
Full Pitchers of Natural Light.
Fifteen cups with a six-cup overtime.
That's right my friends. It is time for ESPN to finally air the "World Series of Beirut".
Now, I know what you are saying. "Trevor, there is no way in hell ESPN
would ever televise Beer Pong". My question is this. Why not? ESPN is
currently airing the "World Series of Poker" which involves just as much
luck as it does skill. Can't you make an outstanding argument that
accurately shooting a ping-pong ball into a twelve-ounce cup at a
distance of 8-10 feet involves more precision and skill than playing
cards? Isn't there a case to be made that successfully balancing out the
beers in order to maintain a level of sobriety for both partners requires
teamwork? And isn't teamwork what makes us all fans of sport?
Before you laugh, let's think this over. Isn't the key demographic for advertisers, males between the
ages of 18-34? The NFL and NCAA Tournament have billion-dollar television contracts because
everybody knows these are events people in our age group will watch. Tell me a countrywide, "World
Series of Beirut" wouldn't become an instant cult favorite. It would be "March Madness" meets
"American Idol" meets "Cheers".
Envisioning this spectacle isn't something that is a stretch of the imagination. In fact, I can't believe
Spike hasn't already greenlighted a "Beirut" Big Dance. All you need to do is rent some bar space in
Las Vegas/New York/Boston/Los Angeles (and when I say bar I mean something with O apostrophe
at the beginning of it). A little money probably needs to be spent in order to convince some
combination of Bill Raftery/Walt Frazier/Jim Ross/Jerry "The King" Lawler to announce. However,
whatever money you spend here is made up by the fact that you wouldn't have to pay the competitors.
"Beirut" has always been more about pride than money. For obvious reasons, I think Tara Reid
would have to be persuaded to be the sideline reporter. All in all, it wouldn't take much to get the
"Granddaddy of all Beirut" tournaments right.
The biggest question with putting together a "World Series of Beirut" would be choosing the 65 teams
that compete. Clearly, you have to have a representative from each state so that's 50 teams right
there. Since Penn State hosts the largest collegiate "Beirut" tournament in the nation, their winner
has to receive an automatic bid. I would also give automatic bids to whatever team emerges in
tournaments on the campuses of Chico State, Arizona State, Delaware, Florida State, and UC Santa
Barbara. Seeing as I earned the nickname "Throw Em Back" for being the greatest individual "Beirut"
player in the history of the sport, me and whomever I choose to partner with are in the Big Dance as
well. That leaves eight teams. I'm not sure how you can have a drinking competition without involving
Vin Baker so he's in with the "Reign Man" Shawn Kemp. For the final six teams, I'm all for some open
tryouts overseas and in Puerto Rico. Perhaps reaching out to Gary Busey, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin,
and Brad from "Real World San Diego" would be something to look into as well. All in all, I don't think
filling the spots would be a problem.
The real key would be to compile a set of rules that work. In my opinion, there's only two that would
be controversial but would absolutely have to be enforced. First off, blowing in the cups when the ball
is spiraling around would be an automatic one-cup penalty. There's nothing more irritating than
playing with a chronic cup blower. Plus, if you really need to do that to win........then you're probably not
very good at "Beirut". Secondly, leaning your entire body over the table and stretching out to throw the
ping-pong ball would be an automatic disqualification from the tournament. I don't think this rule
needs to be explained at all. If you're a leaner, then you're just weak. Plain and simple.
It does not take a visionary to get the "World Series of Beirut" off the ground. All it takes is a really
important television executive to courageously pull the trigger. If poker and darts are now worthy of
television, I say what about "Beirut"? Why not air America's biggest underground sport?
If you have any questions or comments feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com.