Wednesday, May 8, 2024
College cornhole: The competitive outdoor game on the rise.

College cornhole: The competitive outdoor game on the rise.

Editor’s note: This article is part of a series that highlights lesser-known sports played at the collegiate level. In the summer of 2021, Max Benedict found himself working at a campground in Michigan, feeling unfulfilled with his job. He jokingly mentioned to his colleague that the only thing he enjoyed doing was playing cornhole, but he couldn’t make a living out of it. Little did he know, a few months later, an opportunity would arise. Adrian College was looking for a head cornhole coach, and Benedict decided to apply. After going through the application process and impressing the interviewers with his interpersonal skills, he got the job. This marked the beginning of the first organized collegiate cornhole program with a full-time coach. Benedict recruited players through an open tryout and worked with them to develop their skills and strategies during regular practice sessions. Outside of Adrian College, most players in the cornhole community are self-taught and compete in independent tournaments at their own expense. The level of dedication required to reach the top of the collegiate cornhole scene is comparable to other NCAA-recognized sports. Players require specific gear, including approved bags and regulated boards. However, success in cornhole is not solely determined by skill and equipment; mental fortitude plays a significant role. Cornhole matches involve momentum swings and require players to maintain focus and precision throughout the game. The competitiveness of collegiate cornhole is growing rapidly, with a high level of participation and interest. The American Cornhole League aims to expand its college program further by establishing conferences and providing support to universities interested in forming cornhole teams. Benedict’s journey has also led him to introduce cornhole to high schools in his community with the help of a grant from a local supermarket chain. Overall, the future of collegiate cornhole looks promising, with an increasing number of players participating and striving for success in this unique sport.

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