6 People Who Made A Living Playing Stupid 'Sports'
Quick: what's the dumbest way a person can make a living?
Personal shopper? Doggie day care? Reality show star?
Well, we can top all of those. There are people out there making money--and we're talking real money--doing the type of things you and your friends do in moments of extreme boredom and/or drunkenness. Such as...
Beer Pong Pros Ron Hamilton and Michael Popielarski
So you failed an exam because you stayed up the night before playing drinking games. Well, you better shape up, mister! Nobody is going to pay you to play beer pong!
Uh, don't tell that to Beer Pong champs Ron Hamilton and Michael Popielarski.
Beer pong is also known as Beirut, depending on where you're from (although what ping pong balls, plastic cups and beer has to do with the capital of Lebanon is anybody's guess. We assume it has to do with getting bombed. Repeatedly).
I'll have another!
The rules are simple: toss a ping pong ball into a group of beer-filled cups at the other end of the table, and your opponent has to drink the beer each time you make it (along with all of your unfinished beers if you hit all of his). It seems like the kind of game that's hard to get good at, since most people play to lose. But Hamilton and Popielarski got good at it, and took home $50,000 at the World Series of Beer Pong IV.
The win not only earned them name recognition in the annals of Beer Pong, they also made headlines across the world, including a mention on ESPN (and unlike most of the athletes that make headlines, they were paid to get drunk).
The two claim they plan to use the cash to pay off some debt and a chunk of their parents' mortgage with the winnings, but we suspect most of it went to buy a keg the size of a grain silo.
Related: Oops, Hamilton Did Own Slaves
Rock, Paper, Scissors Champ Sean Sears
Daily we are confronted by decisions, some harder than others: Coffee or tea? Paper or plastic? Shallow grave or densely forested area? Perhaps no game teaches us the futility of anticipating the consequences of our actions like rock, paper or scissors.
What seems like an absurdly simple and entirely luck-based game has paid off big for Sean Sears, who won 50 grand in the Rock, Paper Scissors competition in Las Vegas.
It's been said what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas so it stands to reason you never knew there even was annual Rock Paper Scissors competition held there. You probably had no idea you could order hookers over the phone and visit the Liberace Museum either but we digress.
By the way, in case you've been living in a decommissioned, underground missile silo, Rock Paper Scissors is a game whereby you engage your opponent in what the World Rock Paper Scissors Society, or WRPS for short, would call "hand to hand combat." The rules are simple:
Sure, it can seem a little overwhelming at first but Sean Sears was able to master the game with little to no training, relying mostly on his gut instinct and pure luck. At the final table, he was able to defeat Julie Crossley's scissors throw with a crushing Rock drop.
For his minimal effort, Sears walked away with not only the $50,000, but a free trip to China where he represented the USA at the RPS Olympic Games. There, he won the bronze medal, placing third behind a Canadian and an Irishman. We believe a chicken pecking randomly at the three choices scrawled on a piece of paper finished fourth.
Competitive Eater Joey Chestnut
Is it wrong to hold competitive eating contests when there are up to a billion starving people in the world? Or is it worth it to waste a couple hundred hot dogs if it inspires the rest of us to test the limits of our own spirit (or, in this case, how far we can stretch our esophagus)? We do not have the answer.
What we do know is that competitive eating has grown to the point that it has its own International Federation, so that the world may chronicle the achievements of those who gorge themselves to the point of vomiting while a crowd cheers them on... and get paid serious cash along the way.
One of the biggest names is Joey "Jaws" Chestnut who burst on to the competitive eating scene back in 2005. The then 22-year-old, 230 pound Californian (no, not nearly as huge as you'd think) conquered a deep-fried asparagus eating championship, scoffing down more than six pounds of asparagus in under 12 minutes and probably making his pee stink for months afterwards.
From then on, it's been a never-ended chowfest for Chestnut and lucrative cash prizes to boot. In 2008 alone, he won $30,000 participating in just two events: Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest and the Krystal Square Off V World Hamburger Eating Championship. He also won or placed in several other smaller events, pocketing thousands more.
Though we're not sure how much good the money will do him on the inevitable day that he finally explodes like a goldfish.
Fast Texter Nathan Schwartz
When one of the first priorities of the President of the United States is to find a way to keep his Blackberry, what hope do you have of unplugging yourself from this crazy, workaday, 21st century world? Soon a lack of texting ability will be treated as a physical handicap, like a person born without a tongue.
At the forefront of this communications revolution stands Nathan Schwartz, a 20-year-old Cleveland State College student who is, at this particular moment in time, the fastest texter on the planet.
In under 60 seconds, he was able to type:
"Does everybody here know the alphabet? Let's text. Here it goes ... AbcDeFghiJKlmNoPQrStuvWXy & Z! Now I know my A-B-C's, next time won't you text with me?"
... entirely with his thumbs.
For the piece of prose, Scwartz pocketed $50,000, money he will use towards his tuition and to buy his family new Blackberries. He also has developed incredibly strong fingers, which will do him no good at all once the new round of phones come out that can generate texts directly from our thoughts.
Backgammon Champ Frederick Andrieu
Most of us are introduced to backgammon when we click on our computer's game menu and choose Internet Backgammon. We are then paired up with a Polish guy who uses the drop down conversation menu to engage us with stimulating conversation starters such as "Hello," "Uh Oh..." and "Are you still there?"
No, we're not but Frenchman Frederic Andrieu, a fashion photographer, stuck around and, instead of surfing for porn, learned the basics of the game.
He became a top backgammon player in a world that we assumed had mostly forgotten the game. Apparently we were wrong, because there is a World Series of Backgammon with the biggest prize of anything on this list: 100,000 Euros. Which is like... four billion American dollars.
A relative unknown with the backgammon set, Andrieu entered the 2008 tournament and played a dramatic opening quarter-final round. He crushed his opponents, proverbially leaving them covered in bruises the shape of his enormous Backgammon cock. He left a swath of destruction to the final table where he squared off against American Bob Koca. There he performed the Backgammon equivalent of punching through his opponent's sternum, ripping out his still-beating heart, and wearing it as a hat.
Nope. Still doesn't make Backgammon cool.
Andrieu then let out three angry gorilla roars and claimed his 100,000 Euro prize before returning back to France to photograph half-naked women in fashion spreads.
Yeah, when that Polish backgammon player talks to you, you fucking answer him from now on. That's opportunity calling.
Arm Wrestler John Brzenk
That's right, gentlemen. Over the Top was real.
Hollywood gave arm wrestling the royal treatment back in 1987, when Sylvester Stallone produced and directed the movie where he played Lincoln Hawk, a trucker down on his luck struggling to rebuild a relationship with his effeminate son.
Somehow, that leads the pair to the Las Vegas Hilton where Hawk enters an arm wrestling contest with first prize being a new big rig. Complete with bulging forehead veins, eye-popping surprises and super slo-mo action, it was the feel good story of the year.
Also in that film was a man by the name of John Brzenk, a Delta Airlines employee who is currently ranked the number one arm wrestler in the world. Yes, Over the Top was based on a real competition in which big, burly men with tree trunk arms vie for the chance to win a truck.
It may seem like kind of a useless prize unless, you know, you work as a trucker, but Brzenk--whose right arm is 3 inches bigger than his left--just sold his and earned a nice $64,000 in cash.
He continues to arm wrestle professionally, earning an additional $15,000 in revenue annually, on top of his job at Delta which affords him nice discounts to travel to arm wrestling events around the globe.
Wait, has anybody thought to combine some of these events? We'd kind of like to see how many words the text guy can tap out before this dude snaps his arm off. And maybe they're both drunk from beer pong...
Check out more people who are really good at pointless things with 6 People With Amazing Abilities That Are Totally Useless. And be sure to check out our Top Picks, for tons of time wasting links.