Lawn sports are a great American pastime. Ever since your grandparents moved to some crappy suburb we’ve been making casually competitive, and generally kid-safe, games out of ancient bloodsports. (I dunno if you guys know this, but originally Horseshoes was a game played by the Romans after they slaughtered their enemy’s horses. That’s a fact, look it up.) But we’ve come a long way since Ancient Rome, so we don’t have to kill any animals unless we’re playing these games at a barbecue. Instead, we bring back that visceral excitement by making sure everyone can participate with a drink in hand, because I think we can all agree that everything is more exciting when you’re kind of drunk and it’s sunny out.
Bocce: A favorite of old Italian men, bocce is one of those games that’s easy to pick up but difficult to master unless you’re my grandfather. The real game has some fancy-pants courts to play on and some pretty intense rules, but pretty much everyone knows how to play a good old round of lawn bowling. (Get your ball the closest to the little ball, score a point! Simple!) The best part is you can play in any old park, beach or backyard, but you’ll need to follow a few simple rules to make sure you have a location-appropriate beverage. Drink pairing: First, ask yourself: “Am I an old Italian man?” If the answer is yes, and you’re playing on an official bocce court, I recommend pairing your game with a nice glass of Campari on the rocks or a Limoncello. Chances are if you’re reading this website, you’re not an old Italian man, in which case you’re free to pair your game with a bottle of screw-top wine, just make sure to get something with vaguely Italian name.
Horseshoes: People who live in cities and still play horseshoes are pretty dedicated. This is because the park that actually has horseshoe pits is never the same as the cool park where all the hip kids hang out. So not only do they have to lug around those heavy u-shaped lumps of metal, but they also have to lug the stakes and a big mallet to hammer them into the ground. Drink pairing: All that setup is a lot of work, so your friend who graciously hauled all this stuff down to the park even though no one actually wants to play with him will insist someone else pick up the beer. In this case, you’re free to purchase a 12-pack of something really cheap. The bright side of horseshoes is that you barely move anywhere so a refill is never far off.
Bags: Also known as “Cornhole” if you’re gross, this game started popping up back in college for no apparent reason. You might think it’s because the equipment is more portable than horseshoes, but you’d be wrong because you have to carry around the stupid box that you toss the bags into. The actual purpose of this game is to show off your manhood with a sweet frat insignia you and your bros painted on said box. Also, you get to fondle firm sacks while you play. This game is a little gay, is what I’m saying. Drink pairing: A bottle of Corona with a lime is appropriate here. A Keystone light will do if you’re cheap, just make sure to crush the cans on your face.
Whatever this game is: This game is total bullshit. I’m pretty sure it was invented by Home Depot so they could sell more PVC pipes to college football fans. I don’t know what the rules are because I stopped standing around drinking in parking lots when I was 17. Drink Pairing: drink a bottle of water because you need to sober up and re-evaluate your lawn sports priorities.
Urban Golf: A new favorite of mine. Find some busted old golf clubs at Goodwill (you really only need one) and a tube of tennis balls. Pick a target (say, that tree over on the left, the blanket those girls over there are sunbathing on) and aim for it. Fewest strokes to hit the target, wins the hole. Play however many holes you want, but I guess 9 or 18 sounds appropriate. Drink Pairing: Because you’re going to be walking kind of a lot, you want something with a lot of volume. I recommend something cheap in a 32 – 40oz size. Alternatively: hire a caddy to carry a cooler.