Looking for a drinking game for Harvard-Yale that doesn’t involve conspicuous ping-pong balls? Look no further as the denizens of
Looking for a drinking game for Harvard-Yale that doesn’t involve conspicuous ping-pong balls? Look no further as the denizens of Eliot House—home of more Rhodes scholars than Yale—have adopted an original alternative: Stump. FM observed Eliot House’s weekly post-Stein Club game to see what the hype was all about.
According to worldstump.com, “The origins of Stump are shrouded in mystery, but evidence suggests it was invented in the northeast, perhaps at or near Paul Smith’s College in upstate New York.” The game has gained a strong following, mostly at Dartmouth, Colby and Middlebury Colleges, and now, apparently, Eliot House.
To play, one needs a hammer, a bag of nails, plenty of beer, and, obviously, a tree stump. Ben B. Collins ’06, Eliot’s Stein Club co-chair, got his stump at summer camp, after some trees got struck by lightning. The log remnant Collins brought back now resides in the basement of C-entryway.
To start, one nail should be hammered into the stump for each player. The nail should not be in too far but just far enough for it to stand up straight. Each person then claims the nail in front of them and grabs two cans of beer.
The game begins when the first player flips the hammer upwards in a 360-degree motion, catches it, and then attempts to hit one of the other players nails, all in one single, fluid motion. The person whose nail has been hit is then forced to drink their beer in proportion to the damage inflicted. The game ends when all the nails are hammered into the Stump.
Some fun rules include: “Home Improvement,” which happens when a player’s nail becomes bent during the game and he can choose to fix it; “Spazz,” the name of a player who drops the hammer instead of hitting a nail; and “Social” which happens when sparks fly between the hammer and the nail and everyone drinks. As far as Collins can remember, from summmers spent mixing drinking and sharp objects, sparks have never flown.
“I used to heat my house with wood, so the fact that flipping a hammer is a party trick is kind of funny to me,” says Daniel A. Reid ’06. Harrison R. Greenbaum ’08 calls himself a “stump virgin” but says he found the game fun, although a bit dangerous. FM was forced on numerous occasions to dodge flying hammers, and Collins’ ankles were an occasional unlucky target.
Despite the many dangers involved, Stump remains an Eliot House addiction. Besides, who wouldn’t like to get hammered while hammering?