The Joy of Bocce Weekly
In This Issue: Vol. VIII, Issue 1 - January 5, 2009 
•   Notes from the publisher
•   Things The Game Still Needs...
•   Email Deliverability
•   On The Down Side...
•   2008 Happenings & General Bocce Ramblings
•   Joy of Bocce 3rd Edition
Notes from the publisher
The weekly Ezine for bocce aficionados everywhere
Volume 8, Issue #1 - January 5, 2009
Publisher: Mario Pagnoni Copyright 2009
76 Emsley Terrace, Methuen, MA 01844
http://www.joyofbocce.com (vm 800-211-1202 ext 4949)

Hi gang and Happy New Year,

Time again to reflect…on the ezine, the year in bocce, and on the progress of bocce in general.

Every January when I review the previous year’s issues I find all the typos (and cringe!) that I didn’t notice when I was on deadline to get the publication out Sunday evening, (or more often the wee hours of Monday morning).

This issue begins our eighth year of publication. When first launched in 2002, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to create a true weekly. One reader, a newsletter publisher himself, cautioned me about how ambitious an undertaking a weekly would become. He was right of course. But it has been a labor of love.

In 2008 I ran into some publishing problems – besides a busy schedule of bocce and senior sports, I dealt with kidney stones, a good friend with health issues, and an ice storm that shut down electrical service. Still, I was able to get a respectable 45 issues to press. One year I managed to get 52 consecutive weeklies out. That’s the gold standard. I hope to get there again in 2009.

The primary goal has always been to promote the game and to be a voice for unifying it. It irritates me that horseshoes (a good game, but one that can't hold a candle to ours) is so well standardized while bocce still languishes.

Campo di Bocce’s Ben Musolf sent me an email in which he referred to me as “the voice of bocce.” I like that. Might even be a good name for the ezine. Still, the voice needs to get to a larger audience. We’re growing slowly and steadily (the game and the ezine) and we have to keep at it.

The best way for me to manage a weekly is for readers to contribute. So please, submit questions, suggestions, and comments. And please submit photos for our most popular feature – Photos of the Week (by far, the most clicked on link every issue).

Opt in for the ezine if you haven't already...

Email Deliverability
The email industry still has its deliverability problems.

Lots of spam filters are in place and, in some cases, wanted material gets filtered out with the unwanted. The Joy of Bocce Weekly gets hundreds of “bounced” emails every week.

If you have experienced intermittent reception of Joy of Bocce Weekly, one thing you can do (if you haven’t already) is CONFIRM your subscription – at the bottom of each ezine is a Confirm link – Click to Confirm that you do indeed want to receive mail from joyofbocce@topica.email-publisher.com - this will make it more likely that the ezine will avoid your spam folder.

Another thing you can do is to add the FROM address that’s attached to the ezine ( joyofbocce@topica.email-publisher.com ) to your address book.

Also, I've taken to archiving each ezine right after I launch it. So, even if the newsletter doesn't show up in your in-box on Monday morning, you're able to go to JoyofBocce.com, click on Back Issues, and open up the current issue. Note: you’ll have to scroll down through 7 years worth of back issues.

Getting to a larger audience. What you can do to help…

First, make sure your own subscription is CONFIRMED. Then, please forward the ezine to your bocce playing friends and encourage them to sign up too. Or follow the lead of other bocce groups that post a printed version of The Joy of Bocce Weekly on the bulletin board at their club/facility.

Tell the bocce people that you meet about the Joy of Bocce Weekly. Word of mouth is the best way of getting more of the bocce community on board. If the ezine’s subscription list doubles a couple times, we’ll be connecting 40,000 bocce lovers nation-wide. Now you’re talking about making an impact on the game’s popularity and unification.

Gazebo, Pergola, or Pavilion to adorn your bocce court...

2008 Happenings & General Bocce Ramblings
Each year it is difficult to assess the game’s growth. We never seem to be able to get hold of empirical data…how many sets of balls sold nationwide, how many people playing our game, etc. It’s especially tough this year as we don’t know how much the struggling economy impacted potential growth. Several bocce retailers tell me they have more than the usual inventory of products in the warehouse after this last holiday season.

These paragraphs from past years’ “Year in Review” hold true once again…

“The past year saw a steady increase in newspaper, magazine and television pieces on our game. As always, writers and interviewers compare the game to shuffleboard or horseshoes. These comparisons are valid I guess, but bocce has a cerebral aspect that horseshoes does not and shuffleboard only approximates. Those other games are fine. I like them. But they can't hold a candle to our game.

Our game thrives in pockets of frenzied activity around the continent, but still hasn’t reached the mainstream, despite slow and steady movement in that direction. We still haven’t landed big name sponsors or television coverage for tournaments. Maybe the future will see bocce featured on ESPN, Oprah, Good Morning America, or other mass media venues. I have said repeatedly and continue to see that virtually everyone we introduce the game to likes it. It’s just a matter of exposing it to a larger audience.”

Here's a 2008 article from ESPN Magazine:

http://sports.espn.go.com/espnmag/story?section=magazine&id=3578188

A CBS Monday Morning segment aired 11/9/08 and was nicely done, accurately pointing out that there are still a lot of old Italian men playing, but there is also an influx of young professionals and women enjoying the game. {Link no longer available.}

As we predicted a couple years back, bocce charity events are becoming more and more popular. Here in New England we helped run several, most notably the Martignetti Family Charity Bocce Tourney which this year raised $34,000 for Kidney Disease Research. View photos of the tourney here: http://www.joyofbocce.com/MFCBT.ivnu . Visit the Martignetti family business site here: http://www.martignetti.us/ .

The 5th Annual Bob Valvano Celebrity Bocce Tournament raised funds for The V Foundation for Cancer Research.

I attended the New Jersey Invitational which supported NJ charities including Operation Shoebox, which sends "care packages" to soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Besides helping out at the NJ Invitational bocce tourney, I was able to get a great photo with Robert De Nero and Joe Pesci. There was good news and bad news about the photo. The good news was that I had one of them on each side of me with their arms around me like we were old buddies. The bad news was that they were celebrity impersonators. (View that pic and others here: http://www.joyofbocce.com/NJ_invitational.ivnu )

Organizer Frank Valanzola (who did yeoman's work to pull off this successful event) told us “…we were able to prepare over 750 care-packages and raise over $60,000.”

Read about that NJ event in this past issue…
http://www.joyofbocce.com/filecabinet/Ezines/vol7_21.html

While I was in the NJ neighborhood I visited The Mohawk House Restaurant in Sparta. The restaurant serves outstanding food and features two new outdoor bocce courts with a Har-Tru surface.

Visit the web site here:
http://www.mohawkhouse.com

I also made a side trip to view the Martilla family bocce court in Doylestown, Pennsylvania ( http://www.joyofbocce.com/Marttila.ivnu ).

Mimicking the success of world class facilities like Campo di Bocce and Palazzo di Bocce, a couple Pinstripes opened up {Check out the "Bowling and Bocce Bistros" at http://www.pinstripes.com .

The Joy of Bocce LLC officially got into the court building business http://www.joyofbocce.com/CourtConstruction.ivnu

We also ran our first major, outdoor corporate outing in Florida.
http://web.mawebcenters.com/striker/Bocce_Outings.ivnu

{I plan to do more bocce corporate outings - a great way for me to maximize my time in terms of exposing the game to a large number of people.}

This year I created a web page, with pictures, called Bocce Balls. The page is a kind of primer on bocce that will help newcomers and others make an informed decision when purchasing their first bocce set.
http://www.joyofbocce.com/BocceBalls.ivnu

Many great photos were submitted from around the country…

http://www.joyofbocce.com/LasCruces.ivnu

http://www.joyofbocce.com/BeaverCreek.ivnu

http://www.joyofbocce.com/SkyPark.ivnu

http://www.joyofbocce.com/Gravallese.ivnu

http://www.joyofbocce.com/Columbus_GA.ivnu

Our annual kids tourney on the grounds of the Nevins Memorial Library continues to grow (More and more youngsters are interested in the game).
http://www.joyofbocce.com/Nevins.ivnu

Bocce aficionado Michael Delucchi brought a great new product to market. The Bocce Caddy can help those of us with bad backs to effortlessly pick up bocce balls.
http://www.joyofbocce.com/bocce_caddy.ivnu

Mike Grasser ran another successful Pallino D'Oro (US and North American) and the United States National Open Championships and United States Punta Raffa Volo Championships went off in style in Highwood, IL.

Perfetta Bocce - Imported from Italy - Quality Craftsmanship

Things The Game Still Needs...
We need more courts in the public domain – more publicity debunking the stereotype of old Italian men playing the game - getting the message out about how the game brings families together – that all ages can play – that it is not only a game of skill but one with a cerebral element as well.

A big step would be to get bocce product manufacturers to include accurate bocce literature with their products. In most cases what is written is outdated and misleading. Worse still, they list “official” rules and “official” court dimensions – each different from the other, but “official.” I've connected with several product manufacturers who are open to including a new insert with up-to-date and accurate info.

A MUST is increased recognition for the United States Bocce Federation. We need to get a wider acceptance and respect for the USBF as the governing body of bocce in America. The USBF is undergoing some change with new leadership. A "tweaking" of the USBF Open Rules is in the works. I'll most likely publish those in the next edition of my book.

We absolutely NEED to get Open Rules bocce to the Senior Games.

Although basketball, softball, and track and field are national sports (you qualify one year and play in the nationals the next), there aren't yet enough states playing senior bocce to make it a national event.

When we get there, there will be qualifying teams from around the USA. We could broaden their horizons by putting on a demonstration of Punta Raffa Volo international style play.

Send a correspondence and help us lobby:

Ray Hoyt
Director of National Games and Athlete Relations
National Senior Games Association
PO Box 82059
Baton Rouge, LA 70844-2059
rhoyt@nsga.com

Once bocce gets to the Senior Games we need to see about getting some version of the international game to THE OLYMPICS.

Also, we need the USBF to send coaches around the USA to teach and promote the game. Teach us the skills of pointing and hitting, and school us on the international game while we’re at it. Maybe the USBF could subsidize the coach’s trip or the group on the receiving end could help cover the costs. It would be money will spent and go a long way toward improving the quality of play in the USA.

Glo Bocce by Perfetta...

On The Down Side...
Bocce lost a great friend in 2008 when Bocce Bob Whitlow succumbed to cancer.

I never met Bocce Bob, but I could tell he was a man after my own heart. He had an unmatched passion for the game and was unselfishly devoted to community service.
http://www.joyofbocce.com/BocceBobW.ivnu

There's still not much bocce in the schools. Only a handful of club teams that I know of.

Most important: still no big time TV exposure for the game.

4 Ball Competition Set by Perfetta...

Joy of Bocce 3rd Edition
I'm just vain enough to think that the 3rd edition of my book will make a difference in the growth of our game.

In 2008 we made two best-seller lists for the publisher (AuthorHouse), earning 4th place on its list of 1400 sports titles, and a top 100 spot overall (> 30,000 titles). While this is not a major, national accomplishment, it's no small achievement either.

I didn't make much progress on the new edition in 2008. I'm shooting for a Fall 2009 edition.

My original idea was to leave the text pretty much as is and redo most of the 2nd edition's low resolution photos. Now, I'm thinking about making significant changes to the new version and perhaps keeping the previous edition in print (that way the e-book will still be available).

I'll continue the arduous task of landing a traditional publisher, something I am less than anxious to undertake (been there, done that, got frustrated a lot).

Let's hope 2009 brings great growth for bocce and a major upswing in the economy! Happy New Year!

Order the e-Book directly from the publisher...(you'll have to enter "Pagnoni" in the field for "Author =")

Merchandise still available at joyofbocce.com

Check out the first-rate equipment we offer. The finest measuring devices for bocce (made in UK by Prohawk for lawn bowling, petanque, and bocce) - the finest bocce balls in the world (made in Italy by Perfetta) and the number one selling instructional book on bocce in America - Check them out.
 Check out the merchandise