Ah beer pong. That age-old competition that combines minor athletic ability with major consumption of cheap beer. It’s considered the most popular of drinking games, and the only one that has a tournament in Las Vegas where you can win real money (as far as I know, there is no World Series of Kings, or Grand Prix of Crying Alone with a Bottle of Chardonnay). But like any sport, playing Beer Pong comes with considerable risk, and the greatest is not knowing where that sweaty bro across the table’s fingers have been.
Students at Clemson University studied the amount of bacteria on Beer Pong balls, and discovered they were fucking disgusting (I’m paraphrasing). The balls were teeming with bacteria (including salmonella, listeria, and e. Coli) that transferred from the ball into the cups during shots. The most bacteria-filled balls were from games played outdoors, but a sample taken from a game played inside on carpet still had 200 bacteria on it.
The good news: over 90% of the bacteria was found to be harmless. The bad news? The huge amount of bacteria makes it likely you will come in contact with some of the gross stuff.
Now, this probably isn’t news to any one who’s ever played Beer Pong. Yeah, you can wash the balls off in a separate water cup, but by the third round that cup is a murky grey with several species of bug floating in it. And at that point, everyone is too drunk to care.
So what’s the solution? I think the best way is to set up the table with cups filled with water, not beer. That way, when your opponent makes a shot, you can take a solid drink from your own beer can, thus preventing the concoction of everyone’s finger-germs from getting in your mouth.
Oh, and don’t make out with the girl with the “cold sore”.