With the words “die up” being yelled at the top of someone’s lungs, a dice is thrown high in the air, waiting to make its way down to the “CSUF dads” table beneath it. While everyone watches carefully, the competition of Beer Die gets more intense by the toss.
Beer Die is a popular game among college students across the country and in one particular driveway on Chapman Avenue, the boys of the club hockey team at Cal State Fullerton gather religiously every week to toss.
The game is played with four people broken up into two teams, and four cups on a wooden table. Throwing up a dice, the players have the intent of either sinking it in their opponent’s cup or hitting the table without allowing their opponent to catch it.
This all began when club hockey member Andrew Wong visited Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, a school with a very active Beer Die community, and learned all about the game. When he returned to Fullerton, he took it upon himself to throw some wood together and build a table.
Beginning the tradition two years ago, the teammates decided that Wednesdays would be the day to play as they had no hockey practice. They thought of it as an extracurricular activity and took it as an opportunity to unwind.
The additional time spent together outside of the rink served as a way to better communicate as a team. Other activities such as Beer Die help them understand one another on a deeper level, said Shawn Betschel, a club hockey member.
“It helps with building friendships and building friendships off the ice. It helps build team chemistry on the ice. It’s a really good way to bring us all together,” Betschel said.
Wong said the more time they spend talking and working on a challenge together, the better they can understand one another in the rink with nonverbal cues and one-word calls, which ultimately results in winning more games.
Originally the tradition was exclusive to club hockey members. The group began with a handful of people so little that they couldn’t get two games going at the same time. However, with time, word started to get around and the small group began to grow. Now, they typically expect about 15 people on a Wednesday and about half are not involved with hockey at all.
Eventually, Wong decided to create a Facebook page called “Dye Wednesdays” to unite those that come around and participate.
“He has fun with it. He writes little articles on how the week went — the highs and the lows, the best players, the best games, player of the game, stuff like that. It makes it a fun time for everyone. It gets a lot of people involved and we are seeing our little friend group get bigger and bigger slowly,” said Nick Parker, club hockey alumnus.
This serves as a way to socialize with more people and build a community on campus. The laid-back environment encourages visitors to get to know others that they normally would not have talked to, Betschel said.
Since welcoming new guests in its driveway, the club hockey team has had several visitors including foreign exchange students.
Students from Germany, Sweden and South Korea have stopped by to learn how to play the game, make friends and immerse themselves in American culture.
“It really makes the foreign exchange students feel a little comfortable here in Fullerton. It makes them feel like they can have people that they can come talk to and hang out with. We always make them feel welcome and they always know they’re always able to come over here,” Parker said.
Ultimately, the tradition is something the boys cherish and hope to keep going for the years to come.
“Beer Die brings us together,” Wong said. “Friendship and drinking beers is what it’s all about.”