Another New Game in the Bag
Not that I’m turning this into a regular column about alternative sports, but in addition to my newfound interest in disc golf which I wrote about last week, I also find myself involved in yet another new (at least to me) game this summer. Here’s how it happened:
I was more than a little surprised a while back when my wife asked me – completely out of the blue – whether I thought it would be fun to play cornhole together.
Um, say what?
After I coughed up the bite of toast that had suddenly become lodged in my windpipe, I ask her to please repeat herself. Yep, she definitely said “cornhole.”
As nonchalantly as I could, I asked my dear wife what in the Sam-hill-heavens she was asking. I mean, we’ve been married over 26 years and all. You’d think nothing would shock me at this point. Granted, I haven’t read the wildly popular “Fifty Shades of Grey” and quite honestly don’t intend to, but, come on. I was a child of the ’60s and ’70s. A free-spirited, are-you-going-to-San-Francisco, drummer in a rock n’ roll band kind of guy. You dig? It takes a lot to shock me. I thought I’d seen it all and done most of it. Apparently not.
Noticing my dropped jaw and Little Orphan Annie eyeballs, my wife calmly explained herself. Thankfully, it turns out that cornhole is a sort of lawn game in the tradition of beanbag toss, lawn darts, croquet – that sort of thing. Oh. Of course it is. I knew that.
Doing further research, I discovered that the traditional game of cornhole (is there a non-traditional version?) is played with two 2×4-foot boards separated about 27 feet from each other. The top of each board is raised up off the ground and has a six-inch round hole in it. Each player or two-person team has four bags filled with dried corn and takes turns trying to toss a bag into the hole on the board that’s across the yard. A bag-in-the-hole counts three points. Landing on the board itself scores one point. That’s the game in a nutshell – or corncob, if you will.
Legend has it (okay, Wikipedia has it) that the game of cornhole was first played by 14th Century Germans and then made wildly popular hundreds of years ago by the Blackhawk tribe of native Americans in what is now Illinois. Apparently the Blackhawks threw pig bladders filled with dried corn. Let me tell you – that informational tidbit alone was enough to make me want to play, so I rushed out, bought some plywood and paint and made our very own set of brand spanking new cornhole boards. The fact that we were fresh out of pig bladders at our house didn’t stop my wife from sewing cornhole bags using denim from her stash of old jeans. That woman has a serious ability to zig when others zag. I love that about her.
Speaking of zigging, we couldn’t find a local source for dried corn anywhere. So we filled our bags with pinto beans. Technically, I guess that means we’re playing “bean hole,” but that doesn’t sound kosher on so many levels. So, cornhole it is.
Cornhole even has its own vernacular including a “woody,” “boarder” and my favorite, “cow pie” – the name for a bag that ends up on top of the board. “Corn on the cob” or “double deuce” is yelled when a player lands all four bags on the board, or “Holy Moly Triple Cornholy!” is shouted when three bags go into the hole.
It’s pure “cornfusion” when players lose track of the score, and any bag that falls short of the board and lands on the ground is a “Sally.”
Finally, “nothin’ but corn” is triumphantly called out when a bag is tossed through the hole without touching the board at all.
This amateur cornholer is already dreaming of making such shots.
I’ll see you ’round town.