The Joy of Bocce Weekly
 In This Issue: Vol. I, Issue 30 - August 5, 2002 
•   Notes from the publisher
•   Bocce product of the week
•   Bocce quote of the week?
•   Non bocce product of the week
•   Photos of the week
•   Tournament Update
 Notes from the publisher
The Joy of Bocce Weekly
The FREE weekly Ezine for bocce aficionados everywhere
Volume #1, Issue #30 August 5, 2002
Publisher: Mario Pagnoni Copyright 2002

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I hope you will like this electronic newsletter. To be deleted from my list, you can Unsubscribe at the end of this issue. One of our enthusiastic readers suggested that “…bocce and unsubscribe were mutually exclusive terms.” Conversely, if you know others who would enjoy and benefit from this Ezine, encourage them to sign up. You could forward this issue to them so they can decide for themselves if they want to "opt in". I promise that I will never be in the business of selling or trading your email address or other personal information.

A word about ads: Like any entrepreneurial type, I'd love to turn a profit from something I really enjoy. For now, I have decided not to accept paid advertisements. If I pitch a product here, it is something I have examined and tested and deem it beneficial to our readers.

PLEASE – we are always looking for bocce photos and feedback from all over the USA. We want to connect bocce fans everywhere. You can email ( or snail mail (Mario Pagnoni, P.O. Box 608, Methuen, MA 01844.

 Bocce quote of the week?
Over the past few week’s I’ve gotten more than a few emails from readers lamenting the fact that I haven’t included a Bocce Quote of the Week for a while. Yes, that was one of my favorite columns too, but I’ve run out of material. I mean, I don’t make them up. They either come up in the normal sequence of playing bocce, or readers send them to me. So, by all means…send me your bocce quote of the week. They are often just humorous enough to take the edge off of another tough Monday morning. To inspire you here are a couple of my favorites from past issues…

Our Monday morning outdoor bocce season is often hosted by yours truly. My wife, pictured on the home page of (displaying outstanding bocce form, I might add), runs a family daycare home. The kids always know when it's bocce day, and come outside for recess chanting "Bocce! Bocce! Bocce!" lead by four-year-old Ryan Hamilton. As a matter of fact, if you ask two-year-old Jacob Motta "What day is today?" on any given morning he'll shout "Bocce Day!" without hesitation. The adult players arrive at 9:00 AM. We have coffee and pastry, then play three games separated by short breaks for more libations, "trash talking" (we believe we've introduced trash talking to the sport), and croissants. Ryan, already an avid sports fan (New England Patriots, Boston Red Sox), became so enamored of the game that he asked for a bocce set for Christmas. Santa delivered. Recently he taught his parents and sister how to play. "It's easy," he said. "First you eat. Then you roll some balls. Then you eat again!"


When I introduced bocce to my friend Walter, he took to it right away. A competitive, athletic type, Walt likes softball, racquetball, and karate. He particularly enjoys the strategic aspects of bocce, like leaving a ball in front to block, tapping the pallino to another, more advantageous position, and thinking ahead a move or two. This cerebral aspect of our sport is missed by most beginners. They enjoy playing. They begin to get better at the sport. But, once they see the broader picture - that the game involves tactics and maneuvers that require advance planning, they are hooked. Sure, you still need good touch and finesse, some occasional brute force, and even a little luck, but this is a pensive person's pastime. "This game is a lot like chess" says Walter. "The problem is, I know where I want to put the pieces, but I can't always get them there."

{Do you have a bocce quote? Please hit REPLY and share it with our readers}

 Photos of the week
This week’s photos are from the Elks Lodge in Springfield, Massachusetts. The courts are 76’ by 10’ and have that stair-step arrangement at the ends that is so common in this part of the country. I think this is because there are so many hard hitters in this area and there are so many still playing the backboard live even if a rolled ball fails to hit another ball first. Consequently, players are constantly trying to drill the pallino to the end board with fast moving “raffa” or “spock” attempts. The stair-step arrangement protects players and spectators from pallinos that tend to become projectiles with this style of play. The court surface is stone dust topped with a fine layer of red “brick dust.”

{Please send bocce photos from different areas of the USA. The Joy of Bocce Weekly features too many photos from the East - need pics from the "left coast" and the South & Mid-America too. I'd love to post them here on "This Week's Photos."}

Check out this week's photos

 Bocce product of the week
Henselite Bowls Measure

I’ve been trying for some time to get this nifty measure in stock.

The Henselite Measure is a small metal telescopic device not much bigger than a ball point pen. In my book I erroneously referred to it as the Kenselite Measure because I mistook the fancy script H for a K. The measure is approximately 6 inches when closed but extends to a full meter. It is an ingeniously devised tool for inside measurement. People send me many photos of bocce players measuring for points with various tape measures. Usually they are holding one end of the tape at the pallino, then extending the tape over the top center of the ball being measured (or vice-versa). This is okay to get a general idea of which ball is closer, but for accuracy you need inside measure. Place the tape measure between the object ball and bocce ball and see how much tape needs to be extended between the two. The Henselite is designed for inside measure and for close ones at that (a meter or less). The player or referee first estimates the distance between the pallino and the two bocce balls to be compared. Then, he extends the appropriate telescopic sections to a length slightly less than that estimate. Next, he places the device between the pallino and one of the balls in question and extends it until it almost touches both balls. The head of the tool is equipped with a screw-top mechanism. Turning the top in one direction lengthens the tool, while winding in the opposite direction shortens it. This fine tuning makes for very precise measuring. Finally, the measurer places the device between the pallino and the other ball and compares. Care must be taken with this device, because a careless person might easily disturb the positions of balls being measured.

This nifty device fits in and clips on your shirt pocket. It even has calipers for checking those really close points. It is the perfect gift for the bocce aficionado in your life. Like our other measures, it retails for 19.95 plus shipping.

 Non bocce product of the week
Softball: Fast & Slow Pitch by Mario Pagnoni & Gerald Robinson

Of the four books I’ve written, this has had the longest “lifespan.” In print since 1990, I wrote this with my friend Gerry Robinson, now an athletic director in New Milford, Connecticut. I have been trying to analyze how this title could have such amazing "staying power" (more than 45,000 copies sold). I finally figured it out…it's just plain good and the competition is mostly just plain bad. Some sports instruction books are written by big time college coaches who get a grad student to do the bulk of the work. The publisher slaps a “Spaulding Sports Library” label on it and the buying public thinks it must be good. Very complete, our book includes chapters on hitting, throwing, fielding, baserunning, running a practice, team defense, offensive strategy, and coaching a youth league team. It even has appendices on fundraising for your team, scoring a game, and softball rules in plain English. It is ideal for the player who wants to hone his skills, the parent who wants to help a child improve, and a coach who wants to better organize his practices. At $12.95 plus shipping, this is still a bargain.

 Tournament Update
Tournament update {chronological order}

Please - anyone running a tournament - do me a favor - put a notice near your tourney bracket board informing players that they can go to and "opt in" for my FREE Ezine on bocce.

August, 2002 - Chattanooga Southeastern Tournament. "The most scenic court in the South." Unfortunately, Dr. Portera had some unforeseen problems with this event and had to cancel for this year…a big disappointment to those of us familiar with this wonderful tournament and cultural experience. We hope and expect that it will be back in action next August!
August 11, 2002 - 20th Roma Lodge Bocce Tournament, Roma Lodge, 7130 Spring Street, Racine Wisconsin 53406, Tel. 262-886-3610, $35 per person including alternate, 5 person teams.
August 24 and 25, 2002 - 19th Annual Cleveland Challenge Cup of Bocce, Wickliffe Italian-American Club, 29717 Euclid Ave. (Route 20), Wickliffe, Ohio 44092, Tel. 440-943-6957, $100 per team
August 24 and 25, 2002 - IL PRIMO PENNSYLVANIA BOCCE INVITATIONAL, Scranton, Pennsylvania.
The biggest bocce competition on the East Coast. Open Division as well as Novice with four-player teams in each (all roll one ball), and tournament is open to both men and women. Entry fee $30.00 per player for the Open Division and $20.00 per player for the Novice - ALL entry fees going toward cash prizes. Guaranteed minimum first place cash prize of $1,000.00 in the Open Division and $400.00 first place prize in Novice Division. Contact: Jim Cawley @ or call (1 800 229-3526)

September 8, 2002 - Sunshine Village Universal Bocce Bowl - Szot Park, Chicopee, Massachusetts. Four player teams - Entrance fee = $200 (fee includes competition, T-shirt, lunch and dinner for all players) - For more information call 413-592-6142. If you come to play this September, you'll get an added bonus - you get to meet me and my teammates from Home Run Park in Lawrence, Massachusetts.


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 Check out the merchandise