CORNHOLE ARTICLES / A Campus Culture
A Campus Culture
Everyone has that friend: the eternally adaptable figure that can adjust to fit seamlessly into any atmosphere imaginable. You know, that person that can float effortlessly from an impromptu run-in with distinguished university alumni to a high-energy game against the school’s biggest rival to giving a speech at a local charity event without appearing the least bit fazed. She's the person that everybody loves because he or she is so completely a part of every situation.
On college campuses around the nation, cornhole is that friend. Cornhole is arguably the most versatile of all sports; it can be played by any person, at any age or skill level, in any atmosphere. From giving people something else to do at tailgating parties to raising money for charity, cornhole actively engages the players as well as the audience, and leaves everyone satisfied at the end of the day. In fact, cornhole’s ability to add excitement to an event, alter the mood of a variety of probable settings, and adapt to fill different roles makes it one of the most popular activities at America’s universities. But what different types of roles can cornhole play, you ask? Let’s take a look…
Cornhole is: The Partier
Probably one of the most easily recognizable personalities on campus, the partier looks to have a good time and spares no expense to have it. Cornhole’s undeniable presence at football tailgating parties proves just how easily it fills the party-loving, good-time-having, slightly rambunctious role. It is hard to resist picking up the bags in any situation, but this easy-going setting seems ideal: the drinks continually flow, the hamburgers sizzle delightfully on the grill, and colorful bags fly through the air alongside the pigskin. All the while, strains of Jimmy Buffet’s greatest hits help set the mood. Friendly rivalries spring up unexpectedly between tailgaters, whose boards openly display their collegiate loyalties, lending to the competitive atmosphere.
Kristen Jenkins, a student at Clemson University in Clemson, South Carolina, noticed that cornhole always seemed to be set up during tailgates. She said, “It was so cool to see visiting spectators set up their boards next to Clemson fans, creating a tailgate tournament to try and predict who would win the real game later on.” Not only can it provide a link between students from different schools, but it can also “[unite] like-minded students in tradition, school spirit, and healthy competition,” Jenkins went on to detail.
The beauty of cornhole as a party personality lies in the fact that it is shamelessly relaxed and carefree. Although competition is present in this role, it is undermined by the laid-back, stress-free, and fun-loving mood.
Cornhole has been described as the game that requires only one hand to play, conveniently leaving the other free to hold a chilled bottle of beer – a description that appeals to a great majority of America’s collegians. Cold beverages, sports, and friends – cornhole seems to embody some of the most memorable characteristics of college life!
Cornhole is: The Do-gooder
Although the good natured, charitable figures on campus may be difficult to spot due to their selfless tendencies, they play an important role in the dynamic of the campus. There are endless fundraising opportunities and events to attend or participate in on many college campuses, sponsored by students with a cause. Cornhole tournaments – the activity of choice by many student-run groups – are becoming popular with college-aged students because they know it is an easy way to attract a large number of people to helping their cause.
Ben Cohen, a student at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana, helped organize a tournament for his fraternity’s philanthropy event because “it is so big at school right now; not even just Butler, but everywhere.” He was impressed by the response that he received from the Butler community – not only did fraternities and sororities participate, but other unaffiliated students found a way to make teams and participate as well.
One of the reasons his philanthropy event was such a success, though, was because cornhole was the main event. Cohen said that “it was a huge draw” for the students. He also said that with even more planning and better marketing, the event could be incredibly successful in the future.
Pizza, prizes, music, raising money for charity and cornhole? Honestly, could it get any better?
Cornhole is: The Competitor
You know the Competitor from the way he walks around campus: the cocky stride, the confident smirk, and the occasional unsolicited muscle display. The Competitor can often be heard saying something along the lines of “Well, I bet…” or “I could…” as a challenge to other unsuspecting students. Cornhole’s role as a competitor, while not necessarily as in-your-face, cannot be downplayed. According to many college students, the inevitable competition is one of the main draws towards the sport.
Cohen reveled that “competition is something that a lot of college students are attracted to, but it is a good time at the same time. It has become a sport that everyone can participate in, no matter what.”
Jenkins agreed, but took her reasons for playing a step further. She said, “Cornhole’s appeal is not in its simplicity, but rather in its draw for competition. When players are even just decent at the game, it explodes into a whole new level of competitiveness, which each toss serving as an attempt to gain – or regain – power.”
Cornhole has become an obsession, a way of life of sorts, to some collegians. From the custom boards and bags to the placement of coolers at the end of each board, die-hard competitors never cease an opportunity to size up and comment on one another’s gear. While these intense competitors strut around with their chests forward and inflated egos, thankfully not all are so extreme.
Cornhole can be seen on almost every part of a college campus: from outside freshman dorms to the front lawn of the most well-known fraternities and sororities: from common space to registration-only tournies. It is visible on almost every campus and has created a passionate following of players and enthusiasts.
Thomas Weiss from Arizona State University said that even though cornhole is certainly a competitive game and is appropriate at almost any time, it is “universal and inclusive. You can play cornhole whether you’re a seasoned vet or a newbie, and either way [you’ll] still have a great time.”
No matter the occasion, cause, or mood, it is obvious that cornhole plays an integral role at the majority of America’s universities. Whether cornhole takes the personality of the Partier, the Do-gooder, or the Competitor, cornhole has undeniably become a campus culture.