How To

by Scott BrinkmeyerStaff Writer

When I first heard about the game of washers, I thought it would be some kind of demolition of old appliances. Much to my disappointment, this was not the case.

What I found instead was a game more appropriate for, say, tailgating. This is probably for the best, as few people probably have room for one old Maytag, let alone enough for a tournament, when they head of to the big game.

Still, Washers is not the most misleading name for the game. Apparently, in Texas, they call this game “cornholing.” This name makes me uncomfortable. As an Iowan, I suggest we keep our tradition of “The Corn State” and let Texans keep their tradition of “The Cornholing State.”

Given the team spirit of tailgating, washers is no game of solitude. Four players is an ideal number, but if you only have one friend that returns your calls on the weekend, worry not. Washers can be enjoyed- well, at least played- with just two people. If there are four players, as the washer gods intended, you stand opposite your teammate on the same side as one of your opponents. At each end, between the two players, is a platform with three holes. Each hole is designated as being worth different points, usually one, two and three.

One player from each team throws two washers at the other platform. No points are awarded for any washer that does not land in one of the holes. Landed on the platform? Sorry, washers doesn’t give out points for being close. The only way you can score is to land in one of the holes. Even then, you are guaranteed no glory. If the other player throws a washer into the same hole as your washer, the points are cancelled out.

Winning the game is based on points of spite, which originally attracted me to the game. In what other game can one player truly revel in the opportunity and success of taking the points that another player worked so hard for?

If one team gets to 11 points before the other team has scored any points, the game is over. This is called a skunk. It is embarrassing. Official rules state that you don’t even get to move on in the tournament, not even in the consolation bracket. This is bad. Don’t play if you think you might get skunked. I know it’s just for fun and it’s not really about who wins. That’s good and fine, but it is certainly not about getting skunked either.

If both teams have registered a score at the all-important 11-point benchmark, then the game continues until 21. You must end with exactly 21 points. You must win by two. This tailgating game of leisure does not take itself lightly.

If you still don’t feel familiar with the game. It’s a lot like the game “bags” if that helps. Let’s not even think about what the Texans might call a game of bags, though…