Crisis averted: Beer pong to remain legal in Baltimore
Baltimore state Sen. George W. Della Jr. has caved on an effort to outlaw beer pong and related drinking games in Baltimore bars before the fight even got started.
Email exchanges encouraged beer pong fans to contact Della, who was responding to neighborhood groups concerned about the outflow from bars in Federal Hill and elsewhere in his South Baltimore-based district after long nights of drinking games. Della’s proposed beer pong ban was to have its first legislative hearing on Thursday, but he told the Baltimore Sun’s Sam Sessa today that his is abandoning the push. The pressure is already too great, he said, and he doesn’t need the headache.
Some of the reaction is predictable. Many will ask why this is a topic the General Assembly needs to consider at all. With budget deficits, a health care crisis and global warming, why should lawmakers use any time during their 90 day session to talk about beer pong?
Well, the Assembly considers hundreds of bills a year. Some are broad. Some are narrow. Many are put in the hopper at the request of a constituent. Sessa told me that Della was unaware that many players use water in beer pong cups, rather than alcohol. The senator was open to compromise. Several other states have banned drinking games. Della would not be reinventing the wheel here.
But there seem to be two lessons. First, as Sessa notes, there’s a new political force to be reckoned with in Annapolis, in the beer pong aficionado. And second, heaven help the legislator who gets between a pong player and his (or her) balls.