A friday night in Duneland. The place: Valparaiso, IN.
Much like how the card game Euchre grasped our area forefathers’ attention, “Bags” has Pied Pipered the state of Indiana.
Also known as “Cornhole” or “Bean Bags,” Bags has worked its way from the college towns into the fabric of every mill town, state road intersection township, and watering hole found between Illinois and Ohio. From the Chicago border town of Munster to the Cincinnati surburb of West Franklin, IN, Bags had become a statewide obsession that might be someday compared to our once-love of basketball or our state goverment’s once-stupid idea of using steel mill slag as the main material in our highway roads.
It’s this type of statewide kindship that seperates us from our border states. Whereas our neighbors focus their attention around the influence of their major cities, here in Indiana our cities survive via their networking with the state capitol Indianapolis, and vice versa. This networking breeds competition and rivalry, which explains why half the state will still shutdown on a cold, snowy winter night to cram into fieldhouses and watch high school basketball. Release. Not even the IHSAA can mess that up – PS: give us back our state tournament back.
Indiana: the all-American state.
It’s how fascinations like Bags can spread so quickly.
Even up here in the Region, where we know what’s going on with the Chicago Aldermans moreso than our state legislature – usually because the Indiana state will cut our funding first despite the steel, state park, and gaming revenue we generate, Bags is why we pray for the end of the work day. Most bars with even a sliver of outdoor space will hosts Bags nights to compete with the neighborhoods who’d just as well run to the liquor store n grab what they need along with a bag of ice in order to play the game that was recently leaked from Pandora’s Box.
Like the Valparaiso neighborhood I’m in tonight.
As I try to throw, I start drifting off into the books of blues as well as the textbook. Pure signs of man who won’t be getting laid anytime soon.
But as I start getting whooped by Lac Luster n Max Power – two guys who play this religiously like they’re in high school basketball again, I have to leave those worlds and enter a theraputic world basslined by the rhythmic, cul-du-sac echoing thuds of the bags slammimg down on the boards on several driveways in this neighborhod.
“Singing ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ all Summer Long.” Yep, sometimes it doesn’t matter whether your North or South of 30. How the Hell is that song everywhere?
Part love affair, part inexpensive entertainment as a result of our Economic situatuon, Bags has captured our state’s imagination and gives no hints as to letting it go.