Aberdeen cornhole league draws interest


ABERDEEN (AP) – The thump as bags land on cornhole boards, one after another.

The occasional silence as a bag is tossed perfectly in the hole — like a basketball going smoothly through the net, but without the swish.

A bag in the hole gets three points, a bag on the board gets one point. Either of those can be canceled out by the other team's bags. The first team to 21 wins the game.

Players show up early, get in a few practice rounds and pay their $5 buy-in. Then teams are drawn.

When the Aberdeen Cornhole League started, there were set teams. But Wednesday league nights got less enjoyable when the same people continuously won, said Tim Rogers, league organizer.

The number of people who show up determines the structure of play for the night. If there are 20 or fewer players, two-person teams are formed for round-robin style of play. The team with the best record at night's end gets bragging rights. If there are more than 20 players, it's a double-elimination tournament, Rogers said. There's a 100 percent payout at the end of the night, funded by buy-ins.

For the most part, the league follows the rules of the American Cornhole Association, the Aberdeen American News reported.

The boards are places on faux grass exactly 27 feet apart.

A flip of a coin lets the winners decide either on which side of the board they wish to stand or which team tosses first.

A team will only throw first until points are scored. Whichever team scores tosses first in the next round.

The first squad to 21 wins, and it doesn't matter if a team goes over.

"I'd rather put one in the hole than on the board," Rogers said.

In some games, going over 21 points sends a team back to 11. But resetting just adds time to the games, and time is limited on league night, Rogers said.

It's all in good fun.

For the most part, anyhow.

Most games are coupled with some laughter, some groans and very little smack talk.

When it comes to winning, it's not about being good.

"I don't know how much talent is involved. It's more muscle memory," Rogers said.

Most players stand firmly with their inside foot next to the edge of the board, careful to not cross an imaginary line. The outside leg gives a soft kick as the bag in hand releases with a flick of the wrist. Most bags gently spin as the fly toward the board.

In. In. In. In. The players' bags land in the hole, matching point for point, canceling out potential points.

That's where strategy comes in.

"You can play defensively," Rogers said. "But it's hard to do."

One side of a cornhole bag is rough, made to stick where it lands. The other is slick, made to slide. Players can stack bags in front of the hole, or throw to push bags already on the board in.

Or they can try to avoid any barrier bags and aim straight for the hole — "airmail," it's called.

The league plays year-round. It recently moved league nights to the Yelduz Shrine Center. It started at the Eagles Club, which is now closed.

Games are played outside during the summer, at various sponsors. Their logos can be found on the boards.

The popularity of cornhole is crazy, Rogers said.

"It wouldn't be too far off to say that it'd be in the Olympics one day," he said.

The sport is already on ESPN on occasion.

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