Amy led us through Park Slope in Brooklyn. Alex and I, in a daze, lightly intoxicated, tripped over cracks in the sidewalk. We entered a bar, Union Hall, which was decorated like a den, with books lining the walls and couches and rattan chairs arranged throughout. In the center of the place, two bocce lanes. Some groups of hipsters rolled back and forth. After grabbing a round from the bar, we sat in some chairs on a raised platform above the courts, deliberating whether or not we should play.
A game below us was wrapping, so Amy ventured down to speak with the last team. She came back to Alex and I and said that the team had agreed to provide a ringer to play with Amy. Alex and I were the other team. Amy's teammate, Greg, was a young professional from Queens, who said he and his friends ventured down to Park Slope for a good time.
Alex and I were slow out of the gate. I admitted it takes approximately 75 rolls for me to get into a rhythm. Alex long-armed everything. Mine fell short. And so it went. Amy threw like a pro. She admitted later that her roll was derived from a softball pitch, a sport she played in high school. Every roll for her was spot on -- bee-you-tee-full.
Alex and I spotted them 3, then 5, then we eventually got one and began storming back. At one point, we sat with four balls inside. But Amy rolled last and managed to shoot three out, netting us only one point. That was as close as we came -- 4 to 6. On the next roll, Amy got inside and we had no balls left. Gregg threw his last ball away and we lost 4 to 7. This was the first time Alex and I were made aware the we were only playing to 7.
Afterwards, we looked at the results of a tournament bracket tacked crookedly to the wall. Of the 20 teams entered, 16 were puns on 'bocce' -- names like bocculism and bocculicious and the Super Bocce-o Bros. Nowhere on the list did I see bocced up. If I were ever to sell out and move to Brooklyn, I knew where I would be spending most of my time.
I told Amy that she could come to Cleveland and basically walk onto our team there. Out of the gate, she was already better than our whole team put together. She said she'd think about it. I could not make her an offer she couldn't refuse. We did not play anymore bocce that night. Instead we went to three more bars and I drank 24 or so more beers.
On the way back to our hotel in Queens -- a seemingly 13 hour train ride from Park Slope -- I had to piss so bad I felt like my bladder was about to pop. I considered peeing between the subway cars, but did not, for fear of glancing the third rail and electrocuting myself (I later found out from every single person I know that this is only an urban legend and cannot happen, as proven by Myth Busters). Embarrassed, I told Alex that we needed to get off at the next stop. I spent an agonizing three minutes wandering through the subway station, searching for a restroom that did not exist. Then I went into the street, was about to make water into a planter with a tree in it, but a guard inside the lobby took notice so I moved on, eventually letting loose on a corrugated metal gate over a storefront. I urinated for a solid minute, even forcing it out at times, and never before have I felt such relief.
It was a night of utter deboccery.