Here in Isla Vista, we have the greatest claim to college’s greatest sport: beer die. Our surrounding area (plentiful in warm days, athletes, beer, and tables) gives us a leg up on other college towns, so competition can be fierce. Just ask Cal Poly how difficult it can be to play beer die against Isla Vista’s best (11-1: what up?). With that in mind, and the school year beginning soon, I wanted to give all of the rookies a helping hand at preventing their first nudie to the beach and back.
1. Start from Your Base
When playing the world’s most athletic sport, you must toss the cube underhand. Since most respectable tables have a height requirement, your goal should be to release the die at the top of your jump. Like Steph Curry shooting a three pointer, you should strive to release the cube when you are approaching the apex of your jump. This gives you optimal height, without using an unreliable arm-swinging motion that will make all of the Isla Vista dudes and dudettes look down on you. So set your feet towards the opposite cup, bend your knees, and put some distance between your flops and the ground.
2. The Die is Your Friend
Standing 16mm tall and weighing in at 4.1 grams, the die is undefeated at the table. Like a totem from Inception, you have to familiarize yourself with the feel, weight, and behavior of your standard Bicycle die. Without knowing the equipment in your hand, you’re doomed to forever be the last choice as a partner. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the die, because the Beer Die gods are fickle. They also demand your respect. For every die that you errantly send over the cliffs of DP, you’re rewarded with five future trolls to be given out at their discretion.
3. The Throw is Within You
Millennia before Jackie Moon would eventually co-opt the double-handed toss method, our ancestors would use perfect beer die form to toss offerings to the pterodactyls that flew overhead. Something like that. Anyways, the perfect point of release happens when your hand is at 1 o’clock. That sweet spot gives you the perfect amount of height and just a touch of distance which leads your dice gracefully into your opponent’s exposed glass. While not every toss will sink (probably), make sure to scare your opponent by dropping some bombs right around their glass. Let them know that this is a war and you have the skies.
4. Your Release is Your Signature
When you first start tossing, don’t overthink your release. Let the release come naturally and after awhile you may start experimenting with a new release because losing all those games is starting to get to your head. Here are a few options, and a few notes on each:
- The Shot Put: What you lack in brains and grace, you make up for with tendonitis. It may not be pretty, but neither are you. As far as things go, it gets the job done, but more often than not your toss will hit the table and stay there.
- The Sidewinder: Your hand rotates to the side during your release, giving you one of the most unpredictable and uncontrollable tosses commonly seen. You don’t hit table often, but if it ever does it will be gnarly.
- The Cradle: Placing the die in the cradle of your index finger, you give that soaring cube a fair amount of front spin on release. That front spin gives the greatest chance to send your beautiful cube hurtling forward between your opponents’ cups and to the ground. Be careful though, many have tried to perfect the cradle and suffer the embarrassment of throwing the die behind their own head.
5. It’s Just a Game
It’s fun to hold up Beer Die as the standard for all games, especially when it is so popular in Isla Vista. By all accounts UCSB is really, really good at it. But there are other fun games out there and if beer die isn’t your favorite, then try something else. If none of them are your favorite, make a new one and tell us all about it.
Dalton Hansten isn’t good at Beer Die and has run more nudies than he cares to admit.