Explaining the George Christou Award

Although he has made it a habit to show up to bocce on Tuesdays, George Christou is not playing this year due to the fact that he is recovering form surgery. This is the first year that Turbo Bocce has ever been without him. If you dont know who George is, enjoy this picture of George from 2005, Turbo Bocce’s very first year.

Thankfully he will be back and better than ever very soon, but in the mean time it is important to pay him a tribute because he is one of the people who built the Turbo Bocce league, and to forget him would be to forget who we are.

The Turbo Bocce league got its start at my law school graduation party, which happened to be at Darien Lake amusement park. Beneath the towering multimillion dollar rides is a gazebo and patch of grass, and at this unassuming location a couple of my uncles, along with George and his soon to be partner Phil Martino set up a fortuitous game of bocce. The real stroke of inspiration was provided by a very nice park attendant who agreed to deliver beers out to them while they played so they could play bocce all day without the interruption of having to walk back to where our beer was. A fun time was had by all. A drunk time was had by all. Those towering multimillion dollar rides went unused, because all anybody did was drink beer and play bocce.

Thus the seeds of the Turbo Bocce league were planted.

Since I had the bar exam to study for, I was missing in action for the next three months. But when I finally returned to Syracuse, law degree in hand, George and Phil were still talking about how fun it was to play bocce.

We should start a league they said.

So we did.

George, Phil, Myself, and a guy named Jim McCarthy who you will probably only ever hear me refer to as Hammer, put the rules together, and more importantly gave the league the attitude it still has.

The original concept was to get a group of guys together and pick teammates out of a hat. The idea being that everybody in the league would be cool enough that no matter who you drew you’d be happy with your teammate. Even though we have grown too much to do that, I think the underlining principle of filling a bocce league with good people who want to have fun has stuck (fun trivia, the very first Turbo Bocce championship was suppose to be held back at Darien Lake, but not enough people wanted to follow through and that is why no playoffs were held the first year we played . . . fun trivia II, the second year of Turbo Bocce was our first playoffs, and George Christou himself, along with his partner Phil Martino took home the title for their team Black Jesus).

If you are playing in our league now there is a really good chance that it is either because George convinced you to join himself, or because someone he brought into the league convinced you to join.  Even if you have no connection to George personally you owe him a thanks for the beer we drink every week, the statistics we keep, and the habit we have of taking everything just a little bit too seriously in the best kind of way.

When George first told me he would not be able to play this year I knew we had have an award in his honor so I asked him what he wanted it to be. He requested the Most Drunk award.

In case you are not familiar with how the Most Drunk award works, here is an explanation. Every week after bocce we meet at the White Water Pub for drinks. The bar tender who is working the outside bar has a medal that says “George Christou Award” on it.

At some point in the evening that bar tender will award the medal to the drunk person of their choice, and that person will win (what else?) a free drink!

If you do most of your drinking inside the White Water Pub, it may be worth it to stop outside once a night and say hi to the bartender there. You never know when you might be chosen to receive the prestigious, and very aptly named, George Christou Award.