You probably know by now that I’m super excited about our chance to play bocce in the War Memorial. I have mentioned all the big names who have performed there (Michael Jackson, Elvis, Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Metallica, The Who, Led Zeppelin, Jimmy Hendrix, Elton John, Frank Sinatra, Bon Jovi . . . the list goes on and on). I have mentioned that NBA championship games have been played there (Wilt Chamberlain set a record for most consecutive field goals at the War Memorial that will likely stand forever), I’ve also mentioned the fact that professional boxing titles have changed hands there, but I haven’t mentioned much about the big time movie filmed at the War Memorial.
Have you heard of Slap Shot? If not, you should have. ESPN named it the 5th greatest sports movie of all time, and if you have not seen it, click HERE, because I’m sure the good people of ESPN will do a better job explaining it than I will.
The antagonists in that movie are the fictional Syracuse Bulldogs, who played Paul Newman’s Charlestown Chiefs in the championship game, and ultimately lost due to male nudity.
They spawned one of Paul Newman’s most quoted lines of the movie ” I am personally placing a hundred-dollar bounty on the head of Tim McCracken. He’s the head coach and chief punk on that Syracuse team.”
A large part of the movie was filmed at the War Memorial where a few thousand lucky Syracuse residents got the chance to yell, swear at, punch, and in one lucky woman’s case, break a bottle over the head of real Hollywood actors.
You can read about the entire experience HERE.
Then watch part of the movie that was filmed in Syracuse HERE. It gives a great shot of the War Memorial as it looked in 1977. The game being filmed at this point was Hyannisport vs. Charlestown, but I can assure you that its the War Memorial. If you pause the clip exactly :36 seconds in, you will see two ushers standing behind the glass to the right of the team celebrating their goal. The shorter one is Augie Colabufo, my grandfather, head usher at the War Memorial for 50 years, and the best damn bocce player I ever saw.
My point in all this is to say, its great to live in Syracuse, and its great to play Turbo Bocce, because we can get right down onto the field and onto the stage where all this history happened, and add our own name to that history. We can also see our name up in lights, and show off to thousands of fans during halftime of the Syracuse Silver Knights game, when clips of our tournament will be shown. All you have to do is sign up HERE.