Saturday, June 6, 2009

King of Recreation

I am not a man of great accomplishments. I have made modest steps forward in life and celebrated personal victories on a very respectful scale. I have not accomplished as much as others in similar shoes but I have filled my life with enough appreciable moments so as to achieve at least a balanced sense of self-worth. When it comes to recreational activities, this ideology remains. My victories are spread out among a sea of mediocrity. Today, however, was a day of victories. Recreational victories.

It being a weekend, and a nice one at that, a decision was made among friends to engage in recreational activities at a local park. Following the acquisition of bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches and large half-n-halfs (lemonade & iced tea), a game of bocce was embarked upon. It was myself against Billy "The Kid" Marsalise, with the winner going on to face Greg "The General" Reihing. Each round was an exacting struggle, with the pallino being knocked about the court in strategic warfare. Rains had come through the night before, while Billy and I were still just a couple of bros dancing around at a Phish concert. As a result, the court was smoother than expected and ball friction and drag was greatly reduced. Thanks to a few key throws that posited my balls just inches closer than The Kid's, I was able to win the first match.

Next came The General, and with him a brutal new form of strategy. The "bocce-ing" of the opponent's balls away from the pallino with a well placed throw became the attack-du-jour of this match. Just when it seemed a victor had been decided, a new ball came smashing into play, upsetting the entire playing field and drastically reallocating points. Despite an almost insurmountable lead by The General, I was able to rally my bocce skills and smash his balls into next weekend, removing his skillfully placed throws from their intended targets. This second victory propelled us into the final round, in which I would once more take on Billy The Kid.

All the previous experiences of the past two matches came into play for this final showdown. The finesse of every shot, the manipulation of the pallino, and yes, the bocceing of the opponent's balls. It was another close match, but thanks to some unforeseen luck and an almost preternatural sense of the game, I was able to cement a 3-match victory over both my opponents.

This recreational domination carried over to J.T. Carrington's Bar in Huntington Village, where a game of Cricket (the darts game) raged amidst the 80's classics of possibly the best DJ on Long Island. This time I was teamed up with Billy The Kid, but old grudges were set aside in pursuit of new glories. And glories there were, as we steadily worked our way through each of the numbers magic-markered onto the whiteboard, finally cinching the victory with a few well-placed bullseyes from yours truly.

Even in the post-alcoholic return to the bocce courts, I tasted the sweet nectars of ball victory. Out of a humble track record I emerged with winning skills and visionary determination, winning two more highly competitive matches. It was perhaps the my finest showing at any recreational event. Even though I lost in an end-of-the-night showdown with Billy The Kid, my overall achievements for the day were more than enough to represent a personal goal, a victory among a sea of mediocrity. Even though I may never again enact so pristine a performance in a single day of recreational activities, I can always look back on this sunny June day and know that, for a magical handful of hours, I was the King of Recreation.

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