I’ve mentioned that we tend to reach new lows in standards of behavior every Sunday. Was this the week things finally went too far?
Don’t worry, Boo didn’t go to jail. The Blue Crush truck just happened to be parked by the bocce court. Nice to see the truck there, though, to help keep South Main safe.
I started the day with D-RANKS with B-RAD at the Blind Bear, and there was cause for celebration. The Moody Ques cooks were home, having competed in the Atoka regional BBQ Fest. 49 teams participated. Can you guess where the Moody Ques finished in shoulder?
I know, I know what some of you are probably thinking. “Maybe one team didn’t show up and so they finished 48th.” Given past performances I couldn’t blame you for thinking that. But that’s not where we finished.
We placed NINTH in shoulder, beating some of the big names on the BBQ circuit.
Two of the three judges for whom we did the practice presentation were there and sampled our product. Back in January they told us, “You won’t win this year, or next year, but keep on doing what you’re doing and in a couple of years’ time you’re going to be one of the big dogs.” Their reaction this weekend indicates that we might be fast-tracking it to big dog status.
In case you’re wondering why I don’t have any photos posted to the team website yet, there’s a reason. “Any photo of meat in the grill is okay to post,” the team president told me. “But we don’t want any picture of the prep or of blind boxes. If you can see the prep table in the photo, don’t post it.” This is a high-class problem to have: We have secrets now. It’s going to take me longer to sort through the photos, but it’s worth it.
About 2 I headed south. There’s a public bocce ball court at Main and Talbot. You can check out a set of balls by leaving an ID at South of Beale across the street. My friend Bad Shane organized a game of bocce on a beautiful, sunny April afternoon.
Here’s how it works. (Note: This is the way we played it; no idea if these are “official” rules.) Each team gets four balls about the size of softballs. You start off by throwing the pickle, a small white ball about the size of a golf ball, to the other end of the court. Then one member of each team throws one ball, trying to get it as close to the pickle as possible. If the ball hits the back wall it is disqualified.
Next, the team who got their first ball closest to the pickle throws their other three balls, trying to 1) get those balls as close to the pickle as possible; and 2) place their balls so it will be hard for their opponents to get their balls close to the pickle.
Then the other team throws their remaining three balls, trying to get balls closer to the pickle than the first team’s balls. In their throws, they can knock the first team’s balls out of the way, and they can also hit the pickle and move it.
With all the balls thrown, scoring is done. The team whose ball is closest to the pickle scores 1 point for every ball they have closer than the opposing team’s closest ball. So, in a perfect round you would score 4 points. Once the scoring is done, the pickle is thrown to the other side of the court and the next round begins.
It took me a couple of throws to get used to the weight of the balls and how far I needed to throw them. I found that I needed to throw harder than I thought, because the gravel cuts down on the balls’ roll. After a little practice, though, I discovered I’m pretty good at bocce! I started getting balls near the pickle. On one throw, the opponents had a ball right next to the pickle and I knocked it away. It was interesting to discover I am good at bocce, considering I play cornhole with this same group of people occasionally, and I am bad at cornhole.
In any case, it was a nice excuse to be out in the sunshine.
I left my tab open at the Blind Bear, so about 4 I walked back north for more D-RANKS with B-RAD.
Late in the afternoon several of us made the trip over to Silky O’Sullivan’s. Russian Aleks, one of the regulars at the Blind Bear, bartends the outdoor patio. Another excuse to get out in the sunshine. I had a hurricane. I had forgotten that tequila is an ingredient in hurricanes. I could definitely taste it!
I got some Aldo’s pizza to go then came home and watched Wrestlemania on my iPad. Unfortunately I fell asleep right as The Undertaker had his match. Checking results this morning. In case you’re on the Network and have yet to see the show, I won’t spoil it for you by listing any outcomes here.
Well that was just about as perfect a weekend as I could ask for. Next weekend is the last one before April-May festival season kicks into overdrive. It’s an exciting time to live in Downtown Memphis.
Back at lunchtime or after work with a news post.