The International Pong Case
I was at a dinner party in Washington DC when I struck up a great conversation with a couple that happens to have a second home in the Italian countryside near Tuscany. I’d had the pleasure of traveling through that region when I was 18 so we had a lot to compare notes about. We got onto the subject of beer pong - which happens a lot when I’m around - and it came out that they loved the game! I should say - they loved the game but hated the mess. They even had a really fun twist on the rules, which was when a team got down to the last cup, the normal 16 oz cup was replaced by a 9 oz cup of grappa. For those that don’t know, grappa is a very strong grape-based brandy that rivals whiskey in terms of proof. Pretty assertive rule, but I like it!
They quickly jumped at the chance to custom build a pong case in honor of their second home, but wanted me to think about how to really minimize the mess - even water in the cups was to be avoided if possible.
We started on the customization piece. They gave me this picture they took of the skyline of their nearby village, Todi:
I took this picture and converted it to SVG, which is the file format that can be read by the software that runs my computer assisted router.
From there it was a matter of designing the custom layout and cutting it out:
The results looked pretty great!
The finished product came together really nicely. The playing surface is in cherry and the rails are in curly maple for that beautiful chatoyant look. The last step was to figure out how best to weight the cups without having to use water. I experimenting with a lot of things. Sand? Ugh, too messy. Metal washers? The balls bounced out. Fabric? Not heavy enough. The answer came serendipitously while I was taking part in a wedding photoshoot. We had actors dressed up in wedding attire playing beer pong - but not surprisingly no one wanted to use the champaigne we were drinking for cup ballast. But we DID have some phony plastic ice cubes. An inch of those in each cup acted just like water. The balls didn’t bounce out, they looked appetizing, and the cups were properly weighted. The beauty of the pong case is it keeps the cups together, and the ice made sure of that.
So I packaged the pong case with a set of balls, a complementary set of clear cups, and a container of plastic ice for keeping things running clean and smooth.
I was able to hand deliver this one to the couples’ DC location as they were packing up for Italy. It makes me smile to think about that last cup of grappa nestled into a Victory Tables Pong Case somewhere in the Italian countryside!
If you’re interested in getting started with an idea like this, shoot me at note at email@example.com and let’s get started!