Going, Going, Pong…

 Don’t want to say I told you so, but…

…I told you so.

Back in July I wrote a column titled, “It Just Feels Different”. The premise was simple: The Jersey Shore used to be the party scene in Weird Science (minus the motorcycle gang holding Gary and Wyatt’s not-yet girlfriends hostage) or Sixteen Candles (minus the Donger), where anything that could be done, was. And if things got out of hand, the police went about things in a guilty-until-proven-innocent-manner to bring enough order to the universe, thereby eliminating the need to put permanent bans in place.

The column mentioned the Belmar ban as a sign of things to come, and things came much quicker than expected…this time in Manasquan.

The home of Leggett’s, The Osprey and Edgar’s is now also the home of the next Beer Pong/Beirut ban on the Jersey Shore. Thanks to an otherwise innocuous column by the Star Ledger’s Paul Mulshine, who had visited the Squan earlier in the summer to do a story on the Beer Pong phenomenon, the Manasquan Borough council has officially banned beer pong within city limits.

The story was lighthearted and informative to those who never heard of such a competition before, and that should have been that. But being referred to as the Beer Pong Capital of the World apparently didn’t sit well with Manasquan Mayor Richard Dunne, who took exception not only to the games themselves but also of a picture of one female chugging a beer funnel.

According to Dunne, he received four copies of the story and photo from “indignant residents”, which promptly led to a borough council ban on beer pong that mirrored the one passed in Belmar before the summer.

In addition to the ban, the homes known to some as Fraternity Row on Brielle Ave are all being demolished to make room for modern homes whose owners likely won’t be setting up 10 cups on opposite sides of the table. These stories are mutually exclusive, but represent a disturbing pattern to those who prefer to get out of Hoboken and the city in favor of the beach on weekends.

“You can’t believe the calls I get,” Dunne told the Star Ledger. “You’re not gonna spend a million bucks and put up with all the noise. The new people come in and they become less tolerant.”

The mystery of beach house owners outright anger at all-and-any renters at the beach house has gone unsolved seemingly for centuries. Look, it makes sense that decent folks want some semblance of a civilized society when purchasing a weekend getaway to a home they overpaid for. But before making such a purchase, they had to know that Manasquan ain’t Spring Lake or Loveladies, and therefore can’t be SO surprised when they see ping pong balls being tossed in the middle of the afternoon in a town like Manasquan.

Beer pong is not a noisy game (at least for professional players who don’t celebrate each cup sinking like they just swept a five-game series from the Red Sox), nor is it a game played late at night (unless the players really, really, really want a noise violation). Banning the game is simply a waste of police resources that will need to enforce it (By the way, will owning a custom-made table or ping-pong balls be like possession of a bong without pot in it? Will renters be arrested for Pong Paraphernalia?).

So sit back and watch the demolition of the spirit of summer in Jersey continue…Like the smoking ban, the domino effect will proceed quickly, with Spring Lake, Sea Girt and Long Beach Island enforcing bans that no city council would dare vote against. Last call will likely be moved up to the Sea Girt-esque time of 11:30 PM, and group rentals will soon be a fond memory of the past.

But here’s a question, if you can ban beer pong, a game based on tossing something a fair distance to reach a target, should the same ban on horseshoe playing in the backyard? How about whiffleball? At last check, beer can be consumed during those “sports” too? So enjoy the final two weeks of summer, because when 2007 Memorial Day rolls around it may be a whole new ball Beer Pong game.

Joe Concha has never won a beer pong tournament but did save a bunch of money on car insurance by switching to Geico. Email questions, comments, or the usual pontificating crap that he needs to grow up and stop worrying about beer pong bans to joeconcha@yahoo.com or use the message forum on the home page.