The Road to Masters: A Guide to Becoming A Pong Champion

By Tarika Narain | 5/10/16 10:30am

Summer is fast approaching, which means several things: (1) avoiding rogue Frisbees while crossing the Green; (2) seniors frantically trying to check off everything on their Dartmouth bucket list in the next month; and (3) people chugging buckets of iced coffee to make it through the day. But for all you ’18s out there, the arrival of 16X means one thing and one thing only: Masters.

If you’re serious about playing Masters this summer, you’ve already been training for months (if not years). You were born with a pong paddle in one hand and a can of Keystone in the other. But if you haven’t been training, it isn’t too late—just follow this easy ten-step guide, written by someone who has never played in Masters and never will, and you’ll be dominating the pong scene in no time:

1. Be in TriKap. Masters champions for the past two years, so if you’re in TriKap, the odds are in your favor. If you’re not in TriKap, keep reading.

2. Play in a variety of houses. Each house has its own rules, and each house’s tables are different dimensions. If you make it to Masters, you’ll be playing in a variety of houses, so versatility is key(stone).

3. Find a partner whose strengths complement your own. Whether that means one of you is a leftie and the other is a rightie, or one of you can save and the other can sink, partner compatibility is key.

4. Practice saving. And if you can’t save, at least throw your paddle randomly to show people you tried, or attempt a kick save to show people you’re sweet.

5. Practice your spin serve. The serve is most people’s weakness. In the words of Tyrion Lannister, wear your weakness like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you.

6. Watch "Game of Thrones."This is not relevant to Masters, but it’s relevant to understanding the reference I made in the above point and your overall happiness. Remember: 16X is coming.

7. Practice booting. This is a fancy term for playing pong with boots on, which is harder than it looks and often very painful!

8. Don’t be gluten-free. This diet will not be conducive to your well-being. But it will make you better at the above step.

9. Increase your alcohol tolerance. This is an oft-underrated part of being good at pong. Remember: Masters is a marathon, not a sprint.

10. Practice your heckling. This is a general #lifehack, but is especially useful if you’re playing Masters or watching Masters and cheering on your team. A well-timed insult can do wonders.

Tarika Narain