Water pong club aims to offer all the fun without the hangover

Jacob Scandone, right, competes in a water pong tour- nament at The
Station Bistro and Lounge on Sept. 28.

Jacob Scandone, right, competes in a water pong tour- nament at The Station Bistro and Lounge on Sept. 28.

AJ Taylor

Water pong is on campus. The Sacramento Area Pong Enthusiasts, led by club president Jacob Scandone, is the only college water pong club in existence and is looking for new members to enjoy this underground, alcohol-free, competitive sport.

The club is seeking approval from the Sports Club Council to be considered an official sport club. Right now, the club is registered on Orgsync.com, is functioning as an unrecognized club and is holding open informational meetings.

Scandone is calling upon interested students looking for coaching, practice or just a good time to come out to these meetings. The next is scheduled for Oct. 14 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in the Well’s Shoreline Room.

The club will be the only college water pong club in the nation and all members will be voting in the club’s own official water pong rules at one club meeting.

“It would basically be probably three to four tables of people playing the sport, food … Just generally a good time. We would be practicing the sport, getting the rules down for any that’s interested,” Scandone said. “For anybody that had any questions, definitely I would be available for (coaching).”

Sinking a shot during a two-cup rebuttal to send a game to overtime is not simple luck. Scandone has a few tricks up his sleeves he can offer to competitive players looking to learn.

“I know that physics has broken it down to the ball best entering the cup at a 40-degree cadence. Mostly that means a lofty shot with not too small an angle at least trying to get the ball into the cup.” Scandone said. “I guess the best thing to do is to keep a little bit of loft in the shot and not try to laser game it.”

Scandone himself has been playing competitively in the sport of water pong for more than a year. He first experienced the sport at an event hosted by the Sacramento Pong Circuit.

“I learned of the actual sport of water pong while attending an event put on by Sacramento Pong Circuit almost two years ago. At this event, and all future events that I attended, cups placed at opposing sides of a table were all filled with water and none were consumed, rather, they were simply moved to the side,” Scandone said. “That is not to say that I had not been aware of other, more dangerous sides, of where the sport came from since high school.”

That gave Scandone the inspiration to bring the sport to campus. Of course Scandone knew he would face some adversity bringing a sport that shares a similar name to that of a drinking game.

Scandone and Erin Saluta, assistant director of Sport Clubs and Intramurals, recognize the stigma that has been associated with this game for years. The sport club staff initially had a difficult time taking the idea of a water pong club seriously.

“To be honest, when he brought it forth it wasn’t face to face and it was, ‘Oh, this has got to be a joke, right? You’re really trying to bring this?’” Saluta said. “But when he actually shows up fully prepared with the historical relevance of the game and history of the game, the safety concerns, what he actually is planning on implementing and who he is trying to engage on campus to assist him with this including Health Services – they have a drug abuse representative – in that aspect to bring a positive image to a game that has classically been considered a drinking game.”

This is why Scandone included language in the club’s constitution discouraging members from involving themselves in alcohol drinking games, citing risk factors such as the heightened risk of transmitting the herpes simplex 1 virus. This virus causes cold sores, and cases have jumped 230 percent since 2007 in beer pong players aged 17 to 21.

Scandone is making every effort to introduce the sport of water pong to the Sac State community in as positive a light as possible.

“Once we got over the initial shock … It looks like a positive contribution to the campus,” Saluta said. “I think he’s going to get a lot of people interested in more ‘I’m good at beer pong’ wanting to join a club and wanting to engage in that type of activity. That’s going to be his challenge.”

The club is required to have eight members signed up on Orgsync by the end of the third informational meeting to become an officially recognized club on campus.

The club now has seven members on board.

One of those members, Dillon Azzopardi, gives his reasons for joining the club.

“I thought it would be a good team building experience, possibly a way to meet new people as well as a way to get a little practice,” Azzopardi said. “I expect to have the accuracy of a laser measuring device when sinking every ping pong ball.”

All are welcome, it is all for fun, but as far as Scandone’s vision, the club will one day have two branches – one recreational, the other competitive.


AJ Taylor can be reached at [email protected].