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Black is Closer

Posted by Tad Johnson on

It really doesn’t matter… until there’s a trophy at stake

Every night at the Johnson Family Lake House, at precisely 6 pm, friends and family can be found on the bocce court. It’s a fun summer tradition that started years ago as a way to get us off the lake and the kids fed before 11 pm. Bocce ball has really caught on because it's a game anyone can play. Any age and any ability can participate, grasp the game quickly and WIN…even if they have never played. It has grown into a mandatory part of a lake weekend for our family. Our court is beautifully groomed…the likes of a golf green. Some tell me I’m a little obsessed with the whole thing. Nah...

OK…maybe a little.

I have some rules for myself when I play...I always play using the black balls and I very rarely partner with my wife, Ann. She always plays red. As the game unfolds each week, lots of trash talking happens from end to end between partners and opponents. Inevitably, each round brings about a squabble to determine “who’s closer?” Regardless of the placement of the balls, my standard and immediate answer is always “Black is Closer”. Sometimes the official yard stick even proves me right.

It’s a silly little game that’s usually played for nothing more than bragging rights...but throw in a little recognition and suddenly grown adults compete like Olympians! 

We have Hall of Fame plaques that hangs by the bar to proudly recognize each player who has earned the dubious distinction of scoring 4 points in a single round and the elite honor of scoring 5! Everyone knows who’s on the plaque, when the last time was they were on it and ultimately strives to be the next one to “Get Engraved”. 

The best player also goes home with a small trophy to remember their accomplishment for the weekend. Insufferable bragging always goes with it! My favorite bragging story is the guest that placed HIS trophy on the night stand so his wife gets to look at it each morning and night for the entire year. Isn’t she lucky!?!?

This little 3 inch trophy has brought our friends and family more fun and laughs than we can possibly remember. What’s the lesson here? If you want to make ANY event or activity more engaging and exciting…offer a customized award, and watch the whole attitude shift and the (competitive) fun begin! 


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