The Sport of Cornhole Explained

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Perhaps you have heard of a new game called “cornhole” that is spreading across America.  The first time you heard the name “cornhole” you probably spent the next week laughing hysterically and rolling on the floor wondering how anyone could actually do such a thing.  “Don’t they know what cornhole is, for pity sake?” you asked.  Well you’re not alone; it is quite possibly the worst named sport in world history.

But, after picking your jaw up from the ground and laughing until your insides hurt, you’re still curious as to what this game is all about.  Your friends keep talking about it, you see half-sober people at the Saturday football tailgating party throwing bags at a board with a hole in it, and your rowdy neighbor sets up the same boards every weekend for his backyard BBQ parties.  Has the whole world gone mad?  Your curiosity arises cornhole distance.

Well here are some answers you may be looking for.  The sport of cornhole was created in Cincinnati, Ohio sometime in the past few decades.  No one knows who created it, but everyone in Cincinnati claims to have a relative or buddy who actually invented it.  The game involves two wooden boards placed 27 feet away from each other.  The boards are 24″ x 48″ and are generally made of 2″ x 4″ framing and a ½” plywood surface.  The back end of the these boards are propped up 12 inches, and there is a hole 6″ in diameter on each board.  The boards can be painted however you like and team logos and decals often adorn them.  Customizing one’s boards is an art form in itself and cornhole gamers take board construction very seriously.

The game is played with a set of eight cornhole bags, four of one color, four of another color.  These bags are filled with whole kernel corn, hence the ridiculous name.  The game can be played one-on-one or in teams of two.  The object is to throw your bags in the hole or simply to get as many bags on the board as possible.  A bag that drops in the hole is a “ringer”, which is three points.  A bag that lands on the board is simply one point.  Scoring is kept by the cancel-out method.  For example, if Team Red scores five points and Team Blue scores three points, then Team Red has earned two points.  First team to reach 21 wins. Simple enough.

The sport has grown in popularity largely because of its addictive nature.  After playing your first game you’ll be hooked and you’ll be ashamed that you ever laughed at those hilljacks playing “cornhole”.  This is no longer your Bubba’s hillbilly game; it has spread across the Midwest to cities like Indianapolis, Columbus, Cleveland, Louisville, and even that hillbilly bastion of Chicago.  It is now rare to go to any college football game and not see hundreds of people tailgating and playing cornhole.  If you smell beer and you see the cornhole dust flying, don’t panic, all is well, and a cornhole game is in action.  Let’s Play!

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