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Commentary: Cornhole highly competitive focal point of picnics

For the uninitiated, "Cornhole," "Baggo," or "Bags" are interchangeable names for the same game. Cornhole is a lawn game in the same lineage as horseshoes, lawn darts, ladder golf, and "washers;" and, in all likelihood, if you're headed to a picnic today (or if you attended one yesterday) to celebrate Labor Day, you will play or witness folks playing Cornhole.
A typical game of Cornhole is played by two teams of two; partners paired-off and pitted against their counterpart from the opposing team; tossing corn-filled (bean) bags (measuring 6 inches by 6 inches) to a 2-foot-by-4-foot platform some 27 feet away. Each platform has, cut into it, a 6-inch hole, centered nine inches from the top.
A bit dyslexic from baseball; "pitchers" stand in "boxes" immediately to the left and/or right of their respective platforms; tossing their bags with the arc of an eephus pitch, some with the spin of a slider; trying to score points by tossing their bags into the hole in, or onto, the other platform.
A team earns three points for each bag that is tossed through the hole; one point for each bag that comes to rest on the platform. Each pitcher tosses four bags per "inning." Games are played to 21.
However, and similar to other lawn games in the same lineage, cancellation-styled scoring is used, such that, for example if, in one inning, one team's pitcher tosses one bag through the hole and lands two bags on the platform (for a total of 5 points), and the opposing team's pitcher tosses two bags through the hole (for a total of 6 points), the latter team would be the only team receiving points for that inning; earning a total of one point.
The game's origins are a bit of a mystery; though, most folks have heard a version of the Cornhole creation tale that describes the game as having been born, and its early popularity gained, in Ohio sometime in the latter part of the 20th century. That popularity skyrocketed in the mid-to-late aughts; with Cornhole games becoming as common at picnics, tailgates, and frat parties as the koozies being used to keep cool the beers being consumed at those same convivial gatherings. Today, there are Cornhole leagues; some complete with rankings and the requisite internet banter and trash-talking by and among Baggo-ers.
Like other sports, Cornhole has its characters; and, those characters have their own idiosyncrasies and "pitching" techniques. A once-casual lawn game has developed into a highly competitive and equally high-spirited focal point of and at frat-tastic tailgates, festivals, and family picnics. Most impromptu Cornhole venues now boast multiple "courts", complete with logo'd platforms; reserving prime platforms and broken-in bags for the big-shots of Baggo; the neighborhood picnic equivalent of UEFA's Champions League, of Cornhole; novice tossers being relegated to second-tier gear; left to stare in amazement at the tossing skills of the neighboring Baggo-bros elite.
And, novice Baggo-er beware. Baggo-bros cannot turn off their baggadocios bravado. Despite its lax settings and literal picnic and party-centric venues and surroundings, at its competitive upper echelons, Cornhole is anything but casual.
Today, at your annual wake to mourn the end of summer, when the conversation is inevitably hijacked by your family's or neighborhood's resident wannabe Ozzie Newsome Jr., who, hot on the heels of his or her fantasy drafts (because, let's be honest, people who play fantasy football don't just play in one league), insists on waxing poetic about how epic his or her upcoming season is going to be, and/or about how many wins (s)he is going to...
Sorry, I should save the fantasy football rant for another time.
So, when the inevitable annual meeting of amateur wannabe GMs breaks out around the grill, grab a few non-fantasy-infatuated friends and give a game of Corhole a try. Take a koozie, because games can be long. And, to avoid an early argument - if a bag skips or bounces off the ground and onto the platform, the bag is immediately removed from the platform, and no points are awarded for that bag.
Enjoy your Labor Day; and, enjoy the Cornhole-ing.

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