The dangers of treating alcohol consumption as a sport

There is no doubt alcohol consumption plays a big role in university culture. This role jumps far beyond a casual beer or cocktail. Students don’t get buzzed; they get inebriated beyond control. They fight to prove their “drinking abilities” at all costs, fiercely competing in games like beer pong and flip cup, gagging upside down with keg nozzles pressed in their mouths. They push their growing tolerance with every sip and chug, fighting with stumbling bodies for the glory of mind-fading intoxication. Students don’t drink for fun; they drink for sport.

Like any athlete would rest up before a big game, it seems many students do the same for a big night at the bar. Some feel the need to rest for hours, even days prior, preparing their bodies for the self-inflicted damage to come. Some eat big meals to ready their stomachs and some listen to “pump-up” music to ready their minds. Students prepare for the vicious battle of excessive binge drinking — hoping for excellence in their fearless and self-destructive quest to prove themselves worthy.

Why has alcoholism become a competition?

As students face new social situations, many turn to alcoholism to seek acceptance — not just with their “liquid courage,” but also with the actual process of drinking. Many see games like beer pong and flip cup as the ultimate icebreaker, bringing groups together, easing tension and ultimately forging friendships in a party dynamic. We recognize that many students may not feel the need to consume alcohol during parties, but it seems that drinking and partying have unofficially become a social contract.

When a big event arises, whether it’s Homecoming weekend or St. Patrick’s Day, students feel an obligation to get drunk for several hours, pushing their bodies beyond their breaking point.

It’s important to realize that binge drinking is dangerous for our health. Not only can excessive alcohol consumption over a long duration of time impair student concentration in the classroom, it can put lives at risk.

Beyond the reckless decisions that come with dangerous levels of inebriation, alcohol can poison our bodies, increasing chances of high-blood pressure, stroke, liver disease and nerve damage.

Drinking may be a sport, but perhaps we should ask ourselves if it is a sport worth playing.

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