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February 27, 2012 - Brandon Marx

Working Hard for the Pong Money

For 99.9% of the beer pong community, this game is not a professional outlook. Making a living off pong is virtually impossible. Only the best of the best could pull it off and even if they did it likely would lead to a life of frugality. With that said it is pretty obvious that our pong addiction must be supported by a primary income. The source of that income varies from player to player and most would be shocked by the different jobs that our community holds. People from outside our world of competitive pong likely believe that we are a collection of alcoholic, jobless, adolescents who couldn’t hold a job beyond McDonalds. My oh my how wrong they are. Its past comical. The wide range of professions among us are arguably the most diverse of any group in the world.

Upon our inquiry into this subject we here at Pongstars.net have come across an even wider range than we could have ever expected. From carpentry to animal training our world brings them all together. Below you will find just a taste of what hidden talents are lurking inside the ballroom of the Flamingo Hotel every January.

Kris Fraser is currently working in the field of chemistry as a full time chemist at Spectrum Chemicals. Yes, it is exactly how you picture a chemist. He spends his days mixing and matching chemicals that we have never heard of, or attempted to pronounce, all the while sporting a white lab coat and safety glasses. Fraser, however, has continued his other passion of professional beach volley ball. A triple threat to say the least.

“Just picture a 6’5” Jamaican playing with all types of chemicals that your average Joe can’t even pronounce. My bad days equal FDA recalls!”

Zach Gilkison is currently working at a carpentry shop and, as you would expect, has his hands on wood for the majority of the time he is away from the table. His job in carpentry has landed him several different jobs, but the most interesting is likely his help in creating museum exhibits. It is likely a proud moment knowing that his work is on display for thousands to see.

“No matter what kind of job u have its fucking hard to be competitive and work full time…all the late nights of practice, weeklys, and taking time off sometimes”

Kyle Williams is currently a 5th and 6th grade physical education teacher at a school in New Jersey. Along with his job in the gymnasium he also acts as one of the schools health teachers. When summer time comes and Kyle must see his time with the kids come to an end he works the New Jersey beaches as a life guard. One of the seven beaches he guards is the “East Coast’s largest clothing optional beach.” Perhaps the furthest thing from his full time job from fall to spring.

“So needless to say sitting on stand with thousands of naked people just hanging out isn’t the most normal job out there and yes we are clothed”

Kurt Heizmann is currently working as an Animal Care Specialist at the Shedd Aquarium in downtown Chicago. As you may expect Kurt spends his day working with and training the various animals residing in the aquarium. This includes the Shedd’s dolphins, whales, and seals, as well as others. In case your jealousy nerve has been struck you can always try to snuggle up to the talented trainer and beg for a behind the scenes meet and greet with his water-residing co-workers.

Stephen O’Sullivan is working as a university professor in the area of Consumer Behavior. He is also working on his PhD. In his studies to earn his PhD he has chosen to focus on professional beer pong and its subculture. During his studies he has published multiple papers on pong including one about the question of whether pong is a sport, or not, entitled, “Beer Pong: The Emergence of Abnormal Sport.” Such details of the sport that he delves into includes the fact that we drink to increase our ability to play the game, as well as the different behaviors of players before, during, and after tournaments.

“So basically I play beer pong, I study beer pong players, write about beer pong players, and own WSC Beer Pong. I can’t escape beer pong…”

Christopher Cross is currently working civil service at Warner Robins Air Force Base. As an aircraft structural technician Chris spends his days working on F-15 fighter jets. While most of us ogle at these powerful flying machines Chris is busy working on the jets to keep them working at top performance. Also working with the Air Force is Chris Kingsbury. Chris has been with the Air Force since 2007 and has recently extended his service with the Air Force until 2017. His job is as an Xray Technologist. He takes xrays for all military personnel as well as the K-9 unit.

“Mcdonalds was one of my most fun jobs…..Really fun until my parents grounded me so I would tell them I’m going to work but not go for a month and then they didn’t want me back”

Rickey Shepard works with Clark County and cleans flood channels. Though his title is Equipment Operator for the Clark County Public works his job also requires him to remove the homeless people he encounters as he works.

Andy Decaluwe has also seen a transition in his working career. Originally Andy worked with an ambulance contracting company as a paramedic. During his time as a paramedic Andy experienced more than you could imagine. He successfully performed CPR on patients in transport, he delivered a child, and he even took gunfire while transporting a gang related victim to the hospital. Andy eventually realized that being a paramedic was not a long term career choice for him. Andy has gone back to school and is studying in restaurant management. He aspires to one day own a fine dining seafood restaurant.

Shelley James started a pet/house sitting business when she was a junior in high school. She kept it small at first working with neighbors and friends, but saw her small empire grow steadily over time. Through word of mouth, and positive feed back, Shelley’s business stayed productive even when she left for college three hours away. She controlled the business but brought on new workers to take the load. She finished school with a bachelor’s in Childhood Education. She has continued her original business venture but recently added a real estate license. The entrepreneur could be considered a business owner/real estate agent/out of work teacher. Not too shabby if you ask me.

“So, to answer your question… when I’m not playing beer pong – I’m an entrepreneur/business owner, real estate agent, and certified (out of work) school teacher… You never know what the next adventure will be or when it will begin”

Kevin Kessler has already let it be known about his lucrative six-figure income working for WB Mason in Corporate Sales numerous times throughout internet/facebook shit talking. However, outside of his 9-5 and secondary job up “Designated Diaper Extractor”, a lot of people don’t know that right out of College, Kessler attended the Federal law enforcement training boot camp and worked for three years as a Immigration Agent under the Department of Homeland Security. Can anyone really see him protecting our borders they way they are drawn out to be? He can’t even keep himself on the right side of the “plane”!

Last, but not least, I give you Nick Velissaris. A PhD candidate in clinical neuropsychology. He is being trained in academia, clinical, and research. Academia is for the choice of wanting to teach at any level. Clinical training is for dissertation, publication, clinical trials. etc. His research is being done on children with epilepsy, with and without ADHD. In his words he is….“focusing on the abnormal structural formation of the cortical surface and its link to their cognitive impairment.” (That is just a taste of the information I was given to decypher for you readers at home.)

He basically does assessments of behavioral and cognitive functioning of mostly neurological disorders such as the dementias (Alzheimer’s, vascular, Parkinson’s, ect), epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Huntington’s, hydrocephalus, stroke, tumor, brain injury, ect. So the link between structure of the brain and the function of the brain. His, and the others in his field, primary focus is differential diagnosis between these disorders, multiple causes or a psychological cause. With all that comes identification, legal issues, and pre/post surgical evaluations……….that’s all. For the record, that was my best attempt to sum up what he gave me.

These are just a few of the plethora of jobs occupied in the pong world. These individuals were used to give you an idea of the ever expanding range of these jobs. However, these occupations are just a means to an end because for many of us we go to work with our brain occupied with thoughts of the tournament to come. Whether we work with dolphins, craft wood, run our own business, or try to decypher the human brain, we are all even once we step up to that table.

– Frew


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