Chances are, if you've been to a summer cookout or tailgated at any sporting event, you've been exposed to the game of cornhole.
Now, those looking for a more competitive outlet locally are in luck, as the Newton Recreation Commission is starting its own cornhole league this coming March.
"We heard about a couple different other recreation commissions having cornhole leagues, and then also one of the board members (Tim Marlar), he's really big into cornhole, too, and they just kind of were asking me if it would be a possibility," said NRC Sports Director Brian Davis. "One of my jobs as sports director is to come up with new activities and new programs compared to just doing the same stuff all the time, so I just kind of figured I would set it up and see how it went."
Having a familiarity with the game (both through his family and his college days), Davis knew a cornhole league would be pretty easy to facilitate. The equipment — two raised boards with holes and two sets of bean bags — is minimal and cornhole can also be played in a variety of settings.
Additionally, cornhole is a fairly simple game. The goal is to toss the bean bags either onto the board or through the central hole to score points, with games played to 21 points between individuals or teams of two.
For the NRC's league, teams of two will compete in a guaranteed eight games — along with an end-of-season tournament. Cost to participate is $20 per person or $40 per team and participants can either sign up as a team or individually (to be assigned a partner).
Davis noted the versatility — both in skill and setting — and the ease with which cornhole can be picked up and played made it an easy decision to bring the game to the NRC.
"The cool thing about corn hole is it doesn't really take a whole lot to start it up. All you have to do is get the boards and the bags," Davis said. " You can play corn hole pretty much anywhere."
So far, three teams have signed up for the league covering a variety of age ranges (including a team of 16-year-olds) — with Davis noting he would even consider allowing a 14-year-old to play if they were competing with a parent. He has fielded even more inquiries about the league, which he noted was somewhat surprising, but could also be a good sign for the future.
League games will be played at the NRC gyms in March, but Davis noted this could be just the start for the NRC. If there is enough interest, he said the NRC may consider additional leagues in the summer, fall and/or winter — potentially to be played at Fischer Field or other locations around town.
"I'm just trying to kind of see how this league goes in March and maybe see if it's something that we could kinda do almost year-round," Davis said. "It's just kind of experimental. We're just kind of gonna see how it goes and if it's popular enough it's easily something we could offer year-round."
Registration deadline for the cornhole league starting in March is Feb. 15. For more information (including a registration form), visit www.newtonrec.org.