My informant (18), from Maryland, describes what she calls “Kid-Friendly Beer-Pong”. “So this actually a game that my older cousins and I always like create for ourselves. We play a lot of ping-pong but once we get bored of ping-pong, we take off the net and put ping-pong paddles all over the table and basically like stand from like a far distance from the table and throw the ping-pong ball and try to hit the paddles. And this is like a challenge we would do”
“This is like basically an appropriate beer-pong kinda thing, where you’re aiming for the ping pong paddles. And this is them telling me they’re preparing me for college. So we used to play this like when I was in middle and high school, and they’re like ‘you’re gonna be the best when you play beer pong in college’. And I didn’t know what they meant, but now that I’m in college I see that, like, beer-pong’s a game that a lot of people play and they were like preparing me. And i noticed that just in general my cousins are always preparing me for what life throws at me, for college, they’re always giving me advice for like social aspects and these little games also prepare me for what to expect in like a college environment.”
This game could be interpreted as a coming of age ritual, in a way, as it is information that the informant’s cousins passed on to her to prepare her for her next stage of life. We can expect that in this extended family, college is seen as an important step in development, both for the educational purposes, but also as a new social environment that the informant must prepare for.