In anticipation of the tournament we have coming up Saturday October 17th, at the site of Turbo Bocce’s first ever championship, I want to chronicle the early days of Turbo Bocce, and the people who invented it.
This part will detail the exact moment that lead to the creation of Turbo Bocce. I’m going to title it:
Finding Lightning in a Bottle
I like to think that we are a smart group, but innovation requires something more than intellect, it requires a spark of inspiration. It requires that something of the divine be bestowed upon you.
Though it might not seem very divine, our muse came in the guise of bocce and beer.
After three years of experiences similar to the ones depicted in part 1, the time had come for me to graduate from law school. By this time I’d pretty much had my fill of law school and law school related activities. My second year of school is when I made “the big change.” I moved out of law school housing and far away from the suburb where UB is located to a section of Buffalo called Allentown, which was basically the nexus point between the gay district and the really bad ghetto (it has since been gentrified). Here are some examples of just how far from law school society I was at this time.
– I lived in an apartment that transitioned from being project housing the previous year. Our landlord was described in the paper as a “creepy racist.”
– I knew at least twenty homeless people by name, my favorite of which was a black transvestite midget and her typical-sized white male boyfriend who I could reliably find in a local Greek restaurant any day of the week so long as it was 4am.
– My street once closed due to a meth lab explosion.
– The people who lived below me once played the song Slam, by Onyx, on a continuous loop at top volume for two straight weeks. I would have bet money that they were dead, but it tuned out they were very much alive. I later met them and found them to be a lovely couple.
– If you walked down the street where I lived you’d come upon (in order) a bar called The Pink, a bail
bond/liquor/gun store, and a store called Be A Girl which sold fetish gear.
– A woman lived across the street from me who had no curtains and walked around naked all day long. She was in her 60’s (at least), obviously had a tough life, and looked exactly how you’d think she would look.
My point is, I was living in a very different place than the law school housing I lived in first year, and I was sick of any law school related activity. This included graduation. So instead of going to graduation I talked my family and a few friends into having a party at Darien Lake. It was nice, here is what happened:
– We had a gazebo, food, drinks, and of course access to all the roller coasters and other rides.
– My uncle brought the family bocce ball set.
– Phil and George decided to play bocce with them in a grassy area below the Superman roller coaster.
– One of the Darien Lake employees figured out he could make great tips constantly delivering beers to them while they played, so that is what he did all day long.
– Hundreds of millions of dollars of world class amusement park rides went unused while my family and friends played bocce all day long on a homemade bocce set that literally cost nothing.
– I learned a very valuable lesson.
I already knew I liked bocce. I already knew I liked beer. I had no idea the two combined made for such a wonderful experience. It was a revelation. I felt in my mind exactly what you should ideally feel whenever this song plays.
I hesitate to call it love, but it was probably love.
We played bocce all day, we drank beer all day, memories were made, great times were had. Then I basically put the day out of my mind. I had to take the bar exam.
After you graduate from law school you have three months in which to study for the bar exam. They give you a stack of books about 4 feet tall and tell you to memorize everything . . . then everybody freaks out.
Long story short (and it is a pretty good story, which I will share if you ever want to ask me about it) I passed the bar exam and accepted a job at a small law firm in Syracuse, which had always been my destination of choice. Since I was broke, I agreed to begin work the day after the exam, so when I finished the test I packed up my car, drove to Syracuse overnight, pulled into the law firm parking lot with everything I owned still in my car, found a tie in the back seat, put it on and started my first day of work.
I was shocked to find that when I got together with George and Phil that weekend they were still talking about the bocce we played three months earlier. I honestly would never have brought it up again.
“Do you think we can start a league?” They asked.
“Sure” I replied.
And that is how George and Phil made Turbo Bocce a reality.
Stay tuned for part 3 coming up shortly, about what it took to put together the league and the rules. I’m going to title it: Boobs.