From the Street with Alfie: Everybody was Cornholing

"That ain't even my beat," Laws told DJ Knuckles, who he nicknamed DJ Unprepared for the night. "Fuck it. I'll rap to it anyways."

Friday at Crowbar Laws laid down aggressive rap that commented more on socioeconomics than hip-hop culture. He spent a good part of the show off stage, rapping face to face with the crowd while his hype-man, LA, stood on stage, doubling up on Laws' lyrics.

Between performers opening for Little Brother, host Young Deacon kept the crowd lively while DJ Sandman made sure they had something to dance to. 

Before Laws, a tall, thin songstress owned the stage with her supreme confidence and songs that sounded like sped up spoken-word poems.

"She's pretty AND she can sing," people kept saying of Dynasty. 

When she yelled for people to throw their hands up, hands went up. 

Saturday afternoon, nothing could have prepared me for the number of times I would hear "cornhole" during Tampa Bay Club Sports 1st annual Cornhole Classic at Ferg's Sports Bar. The strange thing was that the term never lost its humor. It could be hyphenated with any word: regulation-cornhole, cornhole-free-for-all, Barbara Bush's cornhole.

"I see some great cornholing going on," announced the commentator over the PA.

"Creative Cornholes?" one competitor asked, confusing me with Custom Corntoss (a company entirely devoted to making custom cornhole games).The game's name, with its propensity to provide hours of drunken laughter, is partly why cornhole has become the premier tailgating game, overshadowing washers, horseshoes and redneck golf. Of course it also helps that the sport is simple enough to play while drinking and smoking; all you do is throw a beanbag at a hole.

As a requirement for participation in the tournament, cornholers had to come up with a name proud enough to be shouted triumphantly on the cornhole courts: The Great Cornholio, Nuttin' but Hole, Corn Ballers, Put it in the Right Hole, Baggin' Your Hole and Burning Bags of Fury (which I'm told is a walking STD).

All of the shade areas surrounding the festivities were occupied by team supporters (the name for those who drank beer while competitors' played) and losers who blamed their losses on high-five injuries. 

A few supporter's got involved by keeping tallies on official cornhole scorecards, as the first rule of cornhole is that you can't trust a drunk to remember his score. The score sheets were just one example of how well the tournament was run. Many people came expecting truckloads of cornholers arguing over the rules, not a flat-screen TV with up-to-the-minute scores. This is Club Sport's specialty. They take the hassle out of organizing tournaments for sports no one is really great at (e.g. dodge ball), and set them in a fun, competitive environment.

"We even have cornhole music," a Club Sports worker announced with a grin. "Well, we have one cornhole song." It was titled, "Everybody was cornholing."

I talked strategy with a hefty man who called himself, Double Load, Double Packing, Double Stuffer. … He was the kind of cheerful drunk who took a photo with everyone, raised his cup to toast in every picture and was insistent about getting his girls' double Ds in the shot — the kind of guy you can't hang out with without getting drunk.

"We need to rehydrate," Double Load's teammate Paul said in the 90-degree heat.

"Yeah. Let's do some shots." It was the only serious thing Double Load said the entire day.

Like any tailgating or barroom game, one's cornhole aptitude is positively influenced by beer consumption, to a point. There are several explanations for this. One is that competitors only practice cornhole while drinking. Also, there's a brief window between being tipsy and drunk when beer suppresses your inhibitions just enough to make you one with the cornhole.

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