Longtime friends of mine who have been to the beach with us will not be surprised to learn we are now the proud owners of a Deluxe Cornhole Set.
Essentially, a Cornhole set requires two large slabs of wood, propped up at a slight angle, with a hole cut out of each board. It also requires a set of 8 beanbags - four per team. You set the boards several yards apart from each other, and each team of two people takes turns throwing the bags at the board, attempting to land them in the hole, or at least on the board.
Like croquet, you're allowed to knock someone's bag off the board. This kind of move is not looked upon with kindness by your opposing teammates, but is sure to garner appreciative noises from the crowd assembled to watch. Plus, it improves your score. So if you can manage a throw that takes out your opponent, you definitely go for it.
By the way, the name of the game comes from the small bags tossed during the game, which are usually filled with corn kernels. If you're uncomfortable with the name, just replace it with the word "beanbag,' and you've got the gist of it.
My father, who was very uncomfortable with the name, is the creator of our set. I call it Deluxe because he takes his time cranking out even a simple wood project like this one. He is not your average carpenter, but instead excels at providing his daughters with beautiful (and free) furniture they'll treasure for a lifetime. He made the set for us as a way to break back into his woodworking habit. He has spent several years working out of state, coming home on a few spare weekends. But since April, he's finally back at home, and he used some of his newfound free time in his shop, crafting a game which is sturdy enough to survive the roughest blast of the corn-filled bags.
So, I also call this the Heirloom Cornhole Set. One day, Helen's kids will be taking a hammer to it, I tell you. "But I don't WANT that old game! No one plays cornhole anymore," they'll whine. And Helen will say, "Your great-grandpa wanted you to have it. That's why he put eight coats of varnish on it."
My father customized it with special signs from Brian's dear old alma mater. We played in our backyard at a recent cookout with friends. It was such a hit, we were asked to drag it over to Brian's brother's house for their 4th of July party. When we arrived, they had set up a bracket for couples to play each other, tournament-style. We got through the second round, and the championship game was called on account of darkness, but I expect a rematch just as soon as Brian's brother can install an extra spotlight in the backyard. At his wife's request, of course.
Helen's favorite part of the game is running back & forth to whoever is throwing the bags. Naturally, this means she's in the way of the game during at least every other throw. At the 4th of July party, there were 10 kids, and some of them caught on to Helen's trick. Others thought it was their job to pick up the bags that were thrown toward the board - even ones that had scored by landing on the board. So we had a very tough time keeping the kids corraled throughout the evening's games. Nevertheless, everybody had a great time.
By the way, Brian's brother isn't the only one with extra housework looming ahead next weekend. Dad, I've got several orders you need to fill soon:
Two Tennessee sets
One Oklahoma State set
One kid-sized set (maybe Lightning McQueen vs. Towmater?) to keep the kids busy