The first ever Silver Knight’s bocce tournament had a lot going on. Just agreeing to play in the event got you free pizza and beer, the chance to win cash prizes, the SU football game projected onto a big movie screen (and they actually won!), and VIP tickets to the Silver Knight’s season opener (a $23 value, not counting the VIP access). Not bad for the $20 a person tournament entrance fee!
On top of all that, we raised $800 for the Syracuse Silver Knight Foundation, which is a wonderful charitable organization that helps underprivileged kids get involved with sports so they wont get involved in something bad or destructive instead.
Overall I think we made really great use of the resources we had, and, oh yea, there was also some excellent bocce happening. This event was held at the CNY Family Sports Center which also serves as the Silver Knight’s practice facility. The courts were 85 feet long and 15 feet wide roped off sections of field turf. For those of you who do not know, field turf is composed of millions of tiny plastic beads that are meant to simulate the feel of actual grass. Imagine playing bocce on the worlds most perfect fairway – that’s pretty much what this tournament was like. and it made for some interesting bocce.
As anybody who has actually played Turbo Bocce can tell you, the grass we use is not nearly as well manicured as a golf course fairway or artificial turf is, so this was quite a change for us. Did it put our players at a disadvantage? Maybe, but as a whole we performed well, making up three of the final four teams, both of the championship game teams, and of course, the champion.
The three Turbo Bocce teams that reached the final four were Badger Ballon and Keven Currerri of team Salty Bocce Balls, Andy Ingalls and Anson Zeppetello who were not partners last year but plan to join forces once again to form Amerika’z Most Wanted, and of course league champ and Italian Fest champ George Christou and Phil Martino of Black Jesus.
Salty Bocce Balls was the hot team going into the finals, winning their semifinal game 11-0, while Amerika’z Most Wanted beat Black Jesus in a hard fought battle where a few big rounds in Amerika’z Most Wanted’s favor made the difference.
Salty Bocce Balls had not given up more than three points to any team all day, but Amerika’z Most Wanted was a new level of competition and they scored the first two points of the championship game right off the bat. This small amount of adversity had little effect on Salty Bocce Balls as they scored 11 of the next 13 points, and won the championship 11-4. Nobody came close to beating them all day long.
Some fun facts about the tournament:
- Four people traveled from out of state to participate
- 6 professional soccer players, the team’s owner, and the team’s mascot all showed up to watch
- The two best team names (in my humble opinion) were The Lawn Rangers, and Diarrhea Perlman.
- The most exciting game I saw took place between The Lawn Rangers and S & P 500. The Lawn Rangers took a quick 10 -0 lead, then S & P 500 scored the next 11 straight points to take an 11-10 lead. Eventually The Lawn Rangers came back to in 13-11.
A lot of good came out of this tournament. I’m glad Turbo Bocce was able to make a donation that will go towards helping kids in need, and ultimately make Syracuse a better place. Also, in true Turbo Bocce style, food was eaten, beer was drank, and fun was had for a price you won’t find anywhere else. But at the end of the day this tournament was more of a rehearsal than anything else, and we have a rare and exciting opportunity on December 13th to ramp things up. What this means is we can play a bocce tournament at the War Memorial on the same turf where the professional soccer team plays, before one of their games. We will then be invited to stay for the game, and the tournament participants will be honored at half time.
This tournament will be essentially the same as the last one, with one change. I learned from our first tournament that only a single elimination tournament will allow us to fit into the time constraints we have, but that kind of sucks for the teams that lose their first game. So, for the upcoming War Memorial tournament we are going to hedge the line between a single and a double elimination tournament. To win the War Memorial tournament you have to go undefeated, however, all the team’s that lose their first game will continue to compete for a substantial consolation prize in a secondary consolation bracket whose games will be played concurrently to the games in the winners bracket. This will guarantee that every team gets at least two games on the big stage, it will double your chances of emerging a winner, and still allow us to finish up before they need the turf for soccer.
My first job in high school was as an usher in the War Memorial, so I probably know a little more about its history than most. Right off the top of my head I can tell you that if you play in this bocce tournament, you will be competing in the same spot that Bill Russell, Oscar Robertson, and Wilt Chamberlin have competed. You will perform in the same arena Elvis Presley, Mick Jagger, and Michael Jackson performed. You will stand in the place where professional boxing championship belts were won and lost, and where the movie Slap Shot was filmed. This is a chance to make your mark on history. Its time to get excited.
Registration is HERE