Madness is a terrible thing to waste.

Most of us teeter on the brink of normalcy, suppressing the outward signs of our inner insanity in order to be accepted in society as normal, well-adjusted human beings. Others, driven by some unknown force of genius, take their naturally diluted insanity, boil off the impurities and then repeat, until all that is left is the concentrated essence of humanity’s inner devil. The natural progression is of course to channel this powerful, semi-uncontrollable obsessive force into the mastery of the nearest available art form, where it erupts in such savage beauty that the mere mortals among us can only gape in shock, awe and mystified wonder. In Isla Vista, this can mean only one thing. Beer pong.

We all know who I’m talking about: select, elite individuals, remarkable only for the depths of their deranged depravity and their inhuman ability to put a white ball in a red cup.

Like Prometheus, I struck out to recover beer pong’s elusive gems of excellence from the catacombs of the diseased minds of the godlike beings who guard them. My quest took to me Olympian heights and Erebusian lows and everything in between.

I traveled to the darkest, dankest, grimiest holes in I.V., where the only sounds are the incessant thumping grind of dubstep and the occasional sobbing of men whose egos have been ripped from their bodies by the simple plunk of ball meeting cup. I’ve sustained sunstroke, sunburn and sun poisoning from flinging balls shirtless for 14 hours with some of I.V.’s finest bros. I was savagely bitten by a pet beagle, which had been driven deliriously mad through the potent combination of fermented hops, grain alcohol and copious amounts of cannabis sativa. I’ve seen tables so fine their existence beforehand was simply a whispered rumor. I’ve been “bro’ed” far beyond what is generally considered healthy. All throughout I’ve cajoled, tricked, squeezed, threatened, beaten and begged in an attempt to compile the elusive secrets to beer pong mastery. And so, I bring you: “The Art of Beer Pong.”

I. The Master beer pong player always follows “The 1st Rule of Beer Pong”: The 1st rule of beer pong is to always make the first cup.

II. The Master beer pong player always chooses their partner with precise care and always exercises savage ruthlessness in selecting the proper partner. Too many champions of I.V. have found their untouchable game stopped cold by the uncomfortable albatross of a friendly, yet terribly incompetent partner. Just like love and war, beer pong is all about victory.

III. The Master moves their body little, and their mind even less. Swaying, jumping or leaning is discouraged. Be the rock. Mentally, the focus should be on a small piece the size of a fingernail on the inside edge of the desired cup. Never take your focus off of this spot at any time during your shot. The truest way to victory is to always aim for a single cup, never just in a general direction.

IV. The Master, both in life and beer pong, always follows through. Full extension. Fingers finish pointing at the cup. No exceptions.

V. The Master knows the last cup and the first cup are one and the same. Treat them as such. Calm is the nature of the Master beer pong player — the Master’s veins must flow with only the iciest of dank beer.

VI. The Master always controls his opponent’s head. Distractions, cleverly managed, can be game changers.

VII. The Master never uses the bounce unless he is guaranteed sinkage. Frivolous bouncing is the sure path to defeat.

VIII. The Master always steps farther from the table than is necessary. Poor is the player who cannot add distance to their game. I have seen tables where players lean just a bit too far and are subsequently taken out in the back and shot. No joke.

IX. The Master always demands a perfect rack. True champions control their environment, just like they control the minds of their opponents.

X. The Master understands that the game is never lost until the last cup is made. Never ever concede defeat until the game is finished.

XI. The Master understands that the game is not just a game. Defeat is never a palatable dish. Always play like a champion. Always play to win. Always bring your A game.