Once Upon a Time in Wicker Park...
It was a sticky, sweaty #summertimechi day, and while the WPBC sign clearly stated “no alcohol” the unwritten rules were even clearer; the more booze, the better…and make sure you bring enough to share. And so, like most Sunday afternoons, the picnic tables runneth over with adult beverages. On this particular day Scorpion brought a handle of Bacardi Gold. This was more of a 30-rack and cheap wine crowd. Nobody was going for the Gold. By 4:00, we were absolutely baking. The Bacardi Gold continued to boil in the sun, and the gameplay was getting predictably sloppy. Macaroni and Teddy Bocce kept hitting the back wall. Crusty Supreme was reffing and had seen enough. “That’s it!”, he yelled. “The next player to hit the back wall is taking a pull from this sweltering hot handle of rum!” On the very next throw Teddy Bocce hit the back wall and everyone began to chant, “hot shot, hot shot, hot shot!” TB obliged and the rest is history: do something egregiously bad during your bocce game, get a hot shot.
*all of these nicknames are 100% real
Before long, the lore of the hot shot rose up the Wicker Park Bocce ranks. The motor on the back of the slushie machine at Parsons gets particularly hot, and so that became the home of classics like 99 Bananas and ::gulp:: smoked salmon vodka. Chop Shop busted out the crockpot. Chicago Distilling started crafting originally abhorrent flavors like it was a point of pride to be home to the worst hot shots. Any true Chicagoan knows a CDCo hot shot face blows a CH Distilling Malort face out of the 212 degree water.
With each season the mythology grew, and we couldn’t shake the hot shot chant even if we wanted to. We’d go into new venues explaining how it was vital that they gave us free reign of free shots. In Week 1, they’re wary as hell. By Week 3, they’re yelling “hot shot!” along with the players.
Hot Shots haven’t always been a homerun for us. Oftentimes they slow down gameplay. Sometimes they just aren’t a great look. One time we got a bunch of Arizona Hot Shot t-shirts for the refs and 2 weeks later the XFL folded.
Don’t get me wrong, we're still excited as hell to roll ‘em back out but as we do, we want it to be a fun little nugget of American Bocce culture, never the source of controversy. So let us be very clear about what a hot shot is and what it isn’t.
A Hot Shot is:
A fun little nugget of American Bocce culture, I just said that
Appointed by the referee, only at their discretion
Always delivered in good humor
A Hot Shot is not:
Ever meant to make a player feel ostracized or uncomfortable
An automatic consequence for hitting the back wall
On that note, as equal opportunists, here are 5 ways to attract a hot shot, and 5 ways to avoid.
- Throw terrible shots
- Wager a hot shot on a measurement with a referee
- Excessively talking back to referee
- Offer to champion them for players who doesn’t want to take them
- Stick around and sub, by the law of averages, the more you play, the more hot shots you’ll receive
- Tell us you don’t wanna
- Accept it, then throw it out
- Accept it, then hand it off
- Ask the referee to champion it for you
- Don’t throw terrible shots
Everyone caught up? Prepared? Terrified? Great! Let the bocce continue and the hot shot roars return!