The Joy of Bocce Weekly
 In This Issue: Vol. II, Issue 5 - February 3, 2003 
•   Notes from the publisher
•   Bocce product of the week
•   Getting together on the Open Rules
•   Non bocce product of the week
•   Photos of the week
•   Tournament update
 Notes from the publisher
The FREE weekly Ezine for bocce aficionados everywhere
Volume 2, Issue #5 February 3, 2003
Publisher: Mario Pagnoni Copyright 2003

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 Getting together on the Open Rules
Response to this concept has been positive. I opened each email tentatively, half expecting to read comments like "Who do you think you are taking it upon yourself to standardize these open rules?" On the contrary, those who did respond applauded the effort. So, we continue...

1) Does the winner of the coin flip get the first toss of the pallino (small target ball), or choose the color of the balls or both.


Most indicated the winner of the toss should get both the choice of color and pallino advantage.

The Bocce Standards group says..."We found that most use this rule. The advantage is rolling the pallino first, color involves no skill or advantage."

Bryan Mero of counters with "...there's got to be some give and take and decisions to be made upon winning the coin toss. I've noticed with our team that winning the toss doesn't guarantee points in the first frame. As a Capo I liked the idea of using the green balls and would choose green if we won the toss, giving the other team the pallino. I think that tiny bit of strategy is what makes the game fun."

My take - choosing both color of ball and pallino simplifies things. But, I can live with choosing color OR pallino - I just want to get agreement and I'll start playing that way.

2) Legal placement of the pallino.

Response was pretty well split on this with about as many wanting the pallino 12 inches from the side as those just wanting it anywhere in the open court as long as it doesn't hit the backboard.

Bocce Standards says "Playing a pallino closer to the sideboard is like shooting ducks on a pond. Allowing it to initially rest on the backboard requires little skill in placement and ties in with the dead ball rule below."

Bryan Mero counters with "The entire court should be the play area and should not be limited to 12 inches from any wall. Shouldn't there be some reward for the team throwing the pallino...put it where they feel like they can score."

My take - anywhere past mid-court and not hitting the back board seems simplest. But I can live with the 12" regulation. I just want to get agreement and I'll start playing that way.

3) We need to decide what to do if the person rolling the pallino fails to place it properly on his/her first roll.

Bocce Standards says

"The other team gets one chance, and if they fail, the pallino is placed by hand in some pre-determined position on the court. Keep the game moving along!"

LI Bocce Club rep Peter Rabito offers "The other team gets one chance and if they fail, the pallino is placed by the referee on a pre-determined spot on the court - the center of the opposite Pointing Line. This spot is already being used in the "Ladder System" so it is established. It can be called the "Neutral Spot", as it will eliminate any element of concern or bias on the referee's part."

Dr. Cordano adds "If both teams misplaced the pallino it should be placed in the crossing point of the diagonal lines that go from the lagging line and the midcourt line."

My take - let them alternate until someone legally places the object ball. But I can live with placing the pallino on a spot - I just want to get agreement and I'll start playing that way (Is there a pattern developing here?).

4) We need to decide if the person who rolls the pallino must roll the first ball as well.

Bocce Standards - "The person who tosses the object ball must roll the first ball. Why have the advantage and not use it. Why take time for a second player to come on the court?"

Mero disagrees. "Rotation of rolls is not limited between teammates as long as they don't roll more than 2 balls allowed. In the same manner it should not be limited at the beginning of each frame."

My take - in International play I understand that one player may roll the pallino and then a teammate may roll the first ball. I don't think it's that big a deal one way or the other. I JUST WANT AGREEMENT AND I'LL START PLAYING THAT WAY.

5) We need to decide if balls that strike the end board are live (in play) or dead (removed from play for the remainder of the frame).

Bocce Standards "A ball that strikes the end board without first hitting another ball or pallino is DEAD.
We found that most rules are this way and encourages skill in playing. Not doing this makes playing with the pallino close to the backboard pretty simple."

Others argued that keeping the backboard live was simpler.

Still others want any ball that hits the backboard to be ruled dead no matter if it first struck another ball or not.

My take - this declaring a ball dead when it hits the backboard if it did not first strike another ball I believe was a kind of compromise with the International Rules.

It takes some of the luck out of bocce. I prefer this, but could live with the ball being dead no matter how it got to the backboard.

I would not enjoy going back to keeping the back wall live which is the way I learned in Western Mass. where they still play that way in their leagues. But if that's the way the majority of the groups want it - I'll do it.

6) We need to decide if there is to be one line for pointing and another for hitting.

Bocce Standards - Just one line for pointing and another for hitting. Allow some running room for hitting but limit pointing shots so as to increase the playing area for courts shorter than International size courts to be similar to the International playing area."

Mero - "This line should be the same. The rolling/pointing/hitting distance should be kept constant. I like the "keep it simple student" (kiss) method when it comes to rules...keeping this line in the same spot rules out all the other variations."

My take - one line for hitting and pointing is the simplest. Make it far enough so that a run-up delivery can be accommodated. The problem is with the small courts of the east (60 footers).

Dr. Cordano offers this- "For 60 foot long courts 2 lines: Lagging line at 5 feet, so big "people" can stretch their leg....without pushing the backboard..... AND a HITTING line at 12 feet to allow the short run of most "hitters."

For 78 PLUS courts: Same lagging line (5 feet) and a 12 foot "hitting" line (Raffa) and a THIRD line to BE MARKED (at 7 meters or about 21 feet) ONLY when VOLO shooting type of game is to be played."


Let's talk about these points some more. We need to hear from more people with differing ideas. Please weigh in with the reasoning behind your thinking. Stay tuned.

 Photos of the week
This week’s pictures show indoor bocce at Performance Plus Physical Therapy in Methuen, Massachusetts.

Yes, I introduced the physical therapists to bocce last year while I was recovering from my two high tibial osteotomies (if you have lower extremity problems and are able to get there – Sinai Hospital of Baltimore has a phenomenal Institute for Advanced Orthopedics – ask for Dr. Herzenberg). I was fortunate enough to have both a skilled surgeon and equally skilled physical therapists during my rehabilitation.

Peter and Evan of Performance Plus (112 Jackson St., Methuen, MA 01844 – phone = 978-686-9300) had never played bocce. I convinced them to try it in the office during lunch time one afternoon. Peter enjoyed it immensely. Evan became addicted in short order.

Since we play in and around their P.T. equipment, I presented them with a set of inexpensive, light-weight wooden balls that don’t do so much damage when rebounding off treadmills and exercise bikes.

The diversion has proven to be a pleasant one when they can break away from their busy schedule. Evan is at the point that he wants to put a “Gone to Lunch” sign on the door and play bocce instead of treat clients. This is one of the drawbacks of addiction to this wonderful game.

{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."}

View this week's photos.

 Bocce product of the week
Since Bruce A. Moody of American Production Services, LLC (Fort Mill, SC) was nice enough to send me a review copy of his new video, Let’s Play Bocce! In return, I thought I’d be nice enough to review it and feature it as the bocce product of the week.

Let’s Play Bocce! (running time 45 minutes) is the fourth entry in American Production’s Backyard Sports Series. Others include Let’s Play Badminton! Let’s Play Croquet! and Let’s Play Horseshoes!

Billed as “the essential beginner’s videoguide” Let’s Play Bocce! is just that. It includes sections on the history of bocce, the court and equipment, playing the game, ball deliveries and more.

The section on the History of Bocce is excellent, acknowledging the murky details of bocce’s birth and referencing the common ancestry of boules and lawn bowls. The production makes wonderful use of art work depicting notables such as Sir Francis Drake, Queen Elizabeth I and others associated with the games’ evolution.

Court and Equipment moves to an outdoor game played on grass that should have been mowed shorter before filming. Describing bocce as a game played with 8 balls of 4 different colors, it suggests using cones to mark off a court on your lawn (to demarcate out of bounds and foul lines).

Playing the Game explains how bocce is played, introduces the phrase “bettering the point”, suggests that the initial roll of the pallino should come to rest 12 inches from any court boundary, and explains the “three-attempt rule” for legally placing the object ball.

The section on Ball Deliveries features experienced player Art Wesa demonstrating various releases. He then does “play by play” and “color commentary” on a game played at I believe is a retirement center. The contest is a little too long and doesn’t capture any of the excitement and flavor of the game. It made me think, “If this is retirement, send me back to work.”

Next comes a section on Scoring Strategies that serves beginners quite well, presenting various play scenarios, then suggesting possible tactics.

The video ends by listing a few resources including the USBF and a couple of web sites.

Let’s Play Bocce! has its strong points and shortcomings.

Overall, I’d say the video does what it sets out to do. It brings together the information a newcomer to the sport needs to get started. This professionally produced tape fills a niche, introducing beginners to the great game of bocce and definitely deserves a look-see.

Click here to learn more about Let's Play Bocce!

 Non bocce product of the week
My company does about $3 to $5 million in retail per week, and about $1 million of that weekly revenue comes from this one product alone.

It works, and people re-order it because it works. It is an extremely powerful antioxidant that reduces inflammation in the joints and has produced good results with the symptoms of arthritis, tendonitis, bursitis, allergies, asthma, and a laundry list of illnesses making the product sound like a snake oil that's "good for anything that ails you."

This powerful substance composed of natural substances like extracts from grape seed, red wine, and pine bark, does two major things in the body - improves circulation and boosts immunity. So many of today's maladies can be traced to poor circulation and low immunity. My son James, pretty expert in herbal remedies and holistic medicine, turned me on to the product almost six years ago. "I think it will help your arthritic old basketball knees," he offered. Within a week of faithfully using the product, I was going up and down stairs without pain. I took a serious look at the company, liked what I saw, and became a manufacturer's rep for their many excellent products.

Click the link below to read about this very powerful antioxidant that reduces inflammation in the joints. $64.95 for a three-month supply.

Check out OPC-3

 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.

February 16, 2003 – Mazzini Verdi Superball Midwest Open – Franklin Park, IL. Contact Phil Ferrari of World Bocce Association – 1-800-OKBOCCE.

February 22, 2003 - Two Men - One Woman Open, Italian Athletic Club, Stockton, CA, Open Rules, Contact Ron Jacobs (209) 957-1223 or

March 8 & 9, 2003 - The Italian/American Bocce Association of Punta Gorda, Florida. Fourth annual Southwest Florida Open Bocce Tournament. For more Info, contact George Farruggio at Tel. # 941-575-0482, Fax. # 941-575-6231 or E-Mail

March 16, 2003 - Anthony's Pizza & N. Pagano Pluming - 1st annual bocce tournament at Hartley Park in Mount Vernon, N.Y. Limited to the 1st 16 four-person teams.
Respond to Guy at (

March 29, 2003 - 1St Annual Long Island Bocce Club Spring Fling - 4 player Team - Single Elimination - Milldam Park Huntington New York - Cost: $100.00 Team - Honorarium Awards for both Teams in the finals and Best Team. Contact: or email

March 29, 2003 - Cape Coral Bocce Association, Money Tournament, Open Rules, Veterans Park Bocce Courts, 4100 Coronado Parkway, Cape Coral, Florida, Four Player Team, Prizes 1st = $2000, 2nd = $500, 3rd = $300. Entrance Fee = $200 per Team ($50 per man) Based on 18 teams, Register by March 15, 2003, Contact Skinny Battista (239) 540-8246 or

April, 2003 – Biltmore Invitational – Lake Tahoe, NV. Contact Kyle Hughes 1 (800) 245-8667.

April 5, 2003 - Four Person Team, Italian Athletic Club, Stockton, CA, Open Rules, Contact Ron Jacobs (209) 957-1223 or

April 26, 2003 - Three Person Volo, Waterloo Gun and Bocci Club, Stockton, CA, Volo Rules, Contact David Canclini (209) 957-3314 or

May 18, 2003 – Sunshine Village Universal Bocce Bowl, Szot Park, Chicopee, Mass. Four player teams - $200 entry fee – includes t-shirt, lunch & dinner. Limited # of teams – 1st place = $600, 2nd place = $300, 3rd place = $200. Contact Rico Daniele @ 1-800-BOCCE54.

June 8-15, 2003 - United States National Bocce Tournament - Highwood Bocce Courts, Highwood, IL
winners will compete in the WORLD COMPETITION in SWITZERLAND. Contact Mike Conti @ 847-692-6223.

July 11-13, 2003 Bocce Classic IX Tournament, John Pirelli Lodge, 2625 County Line Road, Dayton Ohio, contact

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