Pub 32 provides shot at glory
A shot at glory was what 32 teams play for. No, I'm not talking about the NFL season. I'm talking about the Pub 32 Beer Pong Tournament.
The four-hour event, held this past Saturday, featured a variety of competitors, including locals and UConn students. When it was all said and done, the duo of Mike L. and Dave Zajac took home the title, as well as free entry and hotel stay at the World Pong Tour Championship this summer in Atlantic City.
Saturday's tournament was held at Pub 32, formerly known as the Stonewall Tavern, and was sponsored by the World Pong Tour. The tournament was open to anyone ages 18 and over, since the cups were filled with water. However, competitors 21 and over were more than welcome to enjoy any of Pub 32's impressive line of 32 draft beers.
In the preliminary round, each team played four matches. At the conclusion of the round, the 16 teams with the best records advanced to a single-elimination playoff. The winners, Mike L. and Dave Zajac, actually had the worst preliminary record out of the 16 teams, going 2-2.
"We figured there'd be a lot of teams," Zajac said. "We just wanted to come and show up some college kids." The duo had previously played together in various tournaments around Connecticut and are sponsored by the Waterbury-based entertained company, Zero Class LLC.
The tournament was a good time even for those who did not win. The runners up, Kevin Clay and Adam Delventhal, students at Manchester Community College, agreed.
"It was sick," Delventhal said." "We expected to win two games."
The duo did not leave emptyhanded, and was rewarded with free entry into the Atlantic City tournament this summer.
Sam Pines, CEO and commissioner of the World Pong Tour, was happy by the turnout. "We welcome anyone who wants to play." The business, now in it's seventh year of existence, blossomed from a local tournament into a national one. They hold qualifiers in various locations around the East Coast, culminating with the championship held in Atlantic City in June.
The business also has some UConn roots. Leonard "Lenny" O'Rourke, the director of operations, attended UConn from 2006-11 and majored in business. However, he dropped out to pursue a career in this relatively new sport, and was even ranked No. 1 in the world for eight months. Lenny started playing beer pong at parties at UConn and has not looked back.
Last year, over 240 teams competed in the World Pong Tour Championship in Atlantic City. This summer, Pines and O'Rourke expect over 600. The remarkable increase in participation shows the rise of beer pong from a college drinking game to a legitimate sport.
The tournament will be held between June 24 and 26 and will cost $50 per player. There are also various packages that include entrance fees and hotel stay. For more information, go to www.WORLDPONGTOUR.com
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