And had no idea it was called cornhole [snort and laughter] -- complete with the American Cornhole Association and the American Cornhole Organization and the American Cornhole League.
Wow. It's bean bag toss. A game you play at family parties, children's carnivals or to keep your kids busy at breweries while you're tasting beer. I had no idea that the modern game of cornhole, known more commonly as bean bags or just bags in the Chicago area, was likely spread after an article on how to make the boards was published in Popular Mechanics magazine in September 1974. The game spread in Chicago, Illinois, and the Northwest region of Indiana in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Again, I never said it wasn't fun. It is. And it's competitive as well, like many fun family games can be. It reminds me of growing up playing horseshoes with my grandfather and how much I got into the game. He taught me how to toss in a way that ensured the closest landing to the post. And then of course there's the sweet ringing sound of the ringer. It's the same metaphorical sound with bean bag toss when you hit one of the open holds.
But I have to fast forward, because the game of bean bag toss (i.e., cornhole) wasn't the point of why it even came up in conversation in the first place between me and my wife, Amy. She was researching possible day and weekly camps for both our girls for the summer and reading off options to our youngest, Bryce. Our oldest, Beatrice, was at a friend's house for a sleepover.
Every camp offering Amy read out loud to Bryce she said no to, except for the theater camp. The girls have been in multiple after-school theater productions and have had a lot of fun doing them. In their latest production, Charlotte's Web, Beatrice played the role of Charlotte and Bryce played multiple roles including the sheep and a baby spider.
Camps ain't cheap, though, especially when looking at weekly rates. Figuring out the most best bang for our buck, and for the children's time and infotainment, isn't easy. We're balancing our work schedules and budget with the kids' summer vacation and all that time off when they're home. Many parents struggle with this every summer, and yet not all parents have the means to send their kids to even a day camp. We do, but again picking these most cost-effective, learning-effective, engaging and fun camps for our kids is overwhelming to say the least.
And then we were back to reading the local summer camp catalogue, when Amy came across pickleball (which is also apparently quite big as a competitive sport):
"What is pickleball? Nobody plays pickleball," said Amy.
"I have no idea. Did you know that bean bag toss is a competitive sport?" I said.
She didn't respond.
"No, really. It's actually called cornhole, or cornholing," I said.
[laughter then a snort]
"That's what it's called."
[more laughter and a snort]
"What is this, Beavis and Butt-Head?"
[snort and laughter]
For those who've never watched the old MTV Beavis and Butt-Head, a highly inappropriate cartoon for kids featuring two teenage boys who like to rock out and who laugh at anything that sounds sexual. Anything and everything. Kind of like my teenage years. Or, wait, that was my friends' teenage years, not mine.
Which is why it was so funny to me when we were talking the endless summer camp iterations and costs and I said cornhole and Amy burst into tittered snorting laughter.
He said cornhole. [snort and laughter]
Cornhole camp it is then!