Of all the strange hobbies in this world, one of the strangest is quickly moving from a party game to an official sport. Cornhole, although its origins are blurry and somewhat ambiguous, is sweeping the sports world.

The game requires few very specific supplies, which include eight bags filled with corn and two 48 inch by 24 inch wooden boards with holes near the top. To play, one simply tosses bags onto the board and every bag on the board is one point and every bag that happens to make it into the hole is worth three points. Sounds easy enough, right?

There is large speculation about where the game originated. Some say fourteenth century Germans are responsible, while others say the Blackhawk Native American Tribe of Illinois first invented it. Still, others give credit to a farmer from Kentucky.

Regardless of who first played the game, cornhole has since become a favorite in the Midwest. It is popular among tailgaters, cook outs and pool parties. It is portable, easy to come by, and simple to play, which is why it has so quickly spread throughout the United States.

Not only is cornhole popular at small parties and get-togethers in backyards, but there are tournaments popping up all over the country. In Joplin alone there are several upcoming events, including a tournament this weekend hosted by Home Builders Association of SW Missouri.

However, Joplin isn’t the only place getting in on this action. There are national tournaments taking place regularly and many of them have even made it onto television. July 2-6, 2019 marked the American Cornhole Organization World Championships in Las Vegas. This is not the first time this has happened. In fact, 2019 was the fourteenth annual World Championship.

Over the last few years, not only has cornhole picked up a lot of steam nationally and even became a televised sport in some areas, but it has become an important part of my family. There is hardly a get-together at which cornhole does not make an appearance.

The first time I played was at a church function. My parents made a couple cheap boards for the children and young adults to enjoy and they were a huge hit. From there, we started playing like mad.

It takes a lot of patience and practice to be accurate and make the bags float through the air properly. However, the work it takes doesn’t make it any less fun to play.

At a Fourth of July party with some close family friends, we held a cornhole tournament. My dad is a very competitive, very determined guy who takes all games and all sports seriously. Him and his partner, reining champions at every other tournament were not about to let anyone else take their title. And they didn’t.

I have a lot of good memories surrounding cornhole, most of them with my family. Every chance we get, we head outside to set up some boards and play a few rounds. It may seem silly and even absurd to some, but to me it is a way to connect with my family and have a little fun at the same time.

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