Saddleback and Irvine Valley colleges are now encouraging school spirit through school spirits.
Saddleback College and Irvine Valley College will be allowing students to obtain more opportunites for athletic scholarships through beer pong. (Photo illustration / Niko LaBarbera)
Traditionally, college sports are reserved for a small group of athletically gifted elites, which can be very subjective and limiting of educational and scholarship opportunities for students. However, Saddleback has been searching for a sport that would attract a wide range of interest to allow more students the chance to become part of that small and restrictive fraternity. Starting in the fall of 2015, a form of competitive table tennis known as “beer pong” will become Saddleback and Irvine Valley colleges’ next sanctioned sport.
Many college sports are chosen based on popularity in the region, but some sports are universal. Beer pong has been identified as one of the most beloved activities across the country.
Cost plays a factor in choosing an appropriate sport. Equipment cost can make or break an athletic team. Few people are aware that on average it actually costs $1,000 to fully equip each football player, according to Businessinsider.com. If Saddleback is going to add a team it had to be cost efficient as well as widely supported. For this reason, only 20 ping pong balls will be provided each game, after which costs for replacements will be the individual responsibilities of the players. In addition, only 24 paddles have been allotted in the budget per season, despite harsh criticism that costs will skyrocket for individual players due to need for replacement gear.
“I’m really proud that our schools are progressive enough to make beer pong an official sport,” Saddleback student Al Kahalik said after the announcement was made. “I remember as a kid my dad would take me into the yard and we’d toss some beers back, it’s been such a huge part of who I became as a person. I wasn’t great at organized sports growing up so it’s refreshing to see some changes that allow non jocks an athletic outlet.”
Kahalik wasn’t the only person with thoughts on the new sport.
“Wait, really?” said Saddleback instructor Mark Zajac. “I feel like that’s not true.”
Zajac isn’t the only one who hasn’t been enthusiastic about the ruling.
“What?” IVC instructor Kari Tucker commented.
The team will be limited to 30 student athletes broken into teams of two. This is a coed sport and both teams shall reflect this. Events and practices will be on weekdays and weekends, so administration has encouraged students to schedule courses prior to practice to avoid inebriation during class, however no official rule has been made.
“I can’t remember the last time I came to class and wasn’t buzzed,” Saddleback student Kahalik stated, “so this works for me.”
Tryouts will be held for spots on the team that will include test of both ping pong ability as well as ounce per ounce liquor each individual can hold while retaining fine motor skills. Students must be at least 21-years-old to play.
Saddleback is encouraging every student to take advantage of this new program and opportunities for scholarships will be available. If football, baseball, swimming, track and field, soccer, basketball, softball, tennis or golf is not your thing maybe, throwing a ping pong ball into a beer filled glass could be your ticket to an athletic scholarship.