The Joy of Bocce Weekly
In This Issue: Vol. III, Issue 48 - December 27, 2004 
•   2004 in review
•   Where is the game headed?
•   The Joy of Bocce deliverability
•   Joy of Bocce 2nd Edition
•   Tournament update
2004 in review
The state of the game today...

It was a pretty good year for bocce – not a great one – but good things happened and there was consistent growth of our game. More “newbies” are taking up and enjoying bocce, sales of bocce products nationwide are up, and new bocce product dealers are popping up on the Internet.

Rico Daniele and his Wonderful World of Bocce were featured prominently in the Boston Globe, and the game got a big plug in Newsweek in September, which referred to me as “author of the definitive guide to the sport.”

Anthony Battaglia’s Palazzo di Bocce opened to rave reviews and is doing extremely well, proving the Detroit area businessman’s instincts to be right on target. His ten bocce courts and Italian restaurant are reportedly a beehive of activity almost around the clock during operating hours.

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.

I completed the Joy of Bocce 2nd Edition and, when available in big bookstore chains in January 2005, it should be a factor in the game’s growth. There are still no unifying rules and standards to our North American game, but I hope my new book will be a step in the right direction. The various bocce groups around the country still seem unwilling or unable to join forces for the good of the game – something that needs to occur for our game to evolve to the next level.

Nevertheless, our national teams are experiencing more success in International competitions and there seems to be an onslaught of young and talented players gravitating to this style of play.

Although growth is slower than we promoters want to see, it is steady and seems only a matter of time before bocce becomes a household word in America and Canada.

Joy of Bocce 2nd Edition

The Joy of Bocce deliverability
Reflecting a trend in the ezine publishing industry, Joy of Bocce Weekly subscriptions are down. Once closing in on 10,000 subscribers, we are fewer than 7000 now. One problem is that some issues end up in email spam folders even though the intended recipient asked to receive it – so called “false positives”. The computer world despises spam and will go to great lengths to avoid it. And some people are just throwing up their arms and giving up – abandoning their email addresses and getting new ones (often neglecting to inform ezine publishers about the new address).

Newsletter publishers nowadays are losing between 30 to 40% of their list each year. Industry experts tell me that this Spam/Ezine Deliverability problem will be solved – but not soon.

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.

Also, please forward the ezine to your bocce playing friends and encourage them to sign up too. They’ll get an email that asks them to confirm that they really want to receive it – the so-called “double opt in” which is considered ezine industry "best practice."

Another approach that you might take is to set up a free email account (like Hotmail or Yahoo) and sign up for the ezine via that address. Free accounts are a lot less aggressive in their filtering of emails.

Finally, The Joy of Bocce Weekly’s success depends on feedback from readers – please weigh in on questions that we pose and send photos of bocce in your neck of the woods. Weekly photos, as you might expect, are the most popular feature of the ezine.

Joy of Bocce 2nd Edition
I’ve written five books and numerous magazine and newspaper articles, but this has easily been my most tedious and time-intensive project yet. It was my first experience in the print-on-demand environment.

A big-time writer and friend of mine (actually a former student of mine) named Jay Atkinson “loaned” me his agent for a consultation. He and I agreed that, since I was struggling to find a publisher and that I had a large subscriber list anyway, this print-on-demand technology might be just the ticket. It’s actually a kind of self-publishing, and Authorhouse (formerly First Books) appears to be the industry leader.

Unlike my other books with outfits like Masters Press, The Athletic Institute, and Larson, I had to do all the editing on my own. Authors get no direction from the company (unless they opt to pay for it from an à la carte type menu).

Changes took more time than I anticipated, and the text is actually one long pdf file. Editing and formatting changes tended to create more formatting problems further along in the document. Proofing was a bear and it seemed never-ending.

The book’s cover looked great in galley form, but, when I held it in my hand in final book form, it was obviously too much text and not enough art work. It looked as if someone had torn the cover off and I was looking at the inside cover. So, we went back to the drawing board and redesigned the cover.

Finally it is done. But now the recent big snow storm in the mid-west combined with the holiday season has shut down Authorhouse operations until 12/28.

At that time I will revise my web site and put autographed copies of the book up for sale there (hopefully for a couple bucks cheaper than anywhere else).

I’ve had a half dozen requests from groups who want to re-sell the title. Please let me know if this interests you as I am working out the details for that as well.

The Joy of Bocce 2nd Edition is wonderful - I don't mind saying so myself. It is much improved over the first edition, with new chapters and new material, including photos and info that contributors from around the continent have submitted. I think you will find the finished product worth the wait.

Visit Authorhouse and The Joy of Bocce 2nd Edition

Where is the game headed?
This year I’ve been trying to get insurance coverage for my non-profit senior sports circuit which offers basketball, softball, and bocce for seniors over the age of 50 (we let the age restriction slide for bocce). So far, I have been unable to obtain such coverage. They’ll cover us for basketball and softball, but not bocce as it is not listed as one of the “accepted” sports. How absurd is that? But it comes down to the fact that we are still not in the mainstream. Insurance agents don’t know what bocce is.

In all my years of bocce I have only heard of one injury. It was a freak accident in a volo tournament where a long volo hit its target and bounced over to the next court striking a player there. On the other hand, injuries in softball and basketball are commonplace.

Still, we are going in the right direction. Those of us who promote the game need to keep on keeping on. My new book has a chapter with ideas for promoting the game. If nothing else, bocce players tend to be passionate about the game. If you are one of the fold, please feel free to implement those ideas or invent other strategies of your own. Help the game grow.

We need more courts in the public domain – more publicity debunking the stereotype of cranky 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.

Occasionally we hear of a motion picture or novel in the works that features bocce as a backdrop. Maybe this year will be the year. And we are in dire need of television exposure – we promoters need to push for this.

Those of us running leagues should try to land local sponsors like Bocce USA’s Bob Whitlow does. We get sponsors for basketball and softball, putting their names on our team shirts and calling the scores into the radio and newspaper each week - why not bocce? Isn’t bocce as much a sport as those more traditional games?

Many bocce product manufacturers include bocce literature with their product. 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 hope to connect with product manufacturers in 2005 and get them to insert something more representative of the state of the game today.

As near as I can tell, I’m just about the only guy in America who is writing consistently about bocce. In 2005 I’ll try to write some narrative nonfiction pieces for publication in mass market periodicals. This is not an easy sell, as editors may be unfamiliar with the growing popularity of the game. But I’ll keep at it.

Finally, my hope is that in 2005 we could organize a USA or North American Bocce Conference where we could assemble key players from the bocce community. Members of different organizations could meet and strategize about how to promote and unify this wonderful game…still the best kept secret in sports. Stay tuned.

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 http://www.joyofbocce.com and "opt in" for my FREE Ezine on bocce. Click the logo to the right to opt in if you do not already receive this ezine every Monday.

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January 15-16, 2005 - Open Tourney – 4 person teams, A & B Divisions - Muckleshoot Casino, Auburn, WA - contact Salvatore Cascone @ 253-939-3502.

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January 22, 2005 - USBF - Waterloo - 2 Men/2 Women - Contact Romano Lotti @ (209) 951-8256.

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January 29, 2005 - United States first annual Pallino d'oro Singles Championships (International Rules). Male and female divisions. Must have or buy a U.S. Bocce Federation 2005 Membership Card before or at tournament. $100.00 per player. Will be played at Palazzo Di Bocce in Lake Orion, Michigan. Contact Danny Passaglia @ 312-226-4600, Mike Grasser @ 248-505-4744, or the Palazzo @ 248-371-9987.

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February 5, 2005 - USBF - M. Albanese Tourney - Los Gatos, CA - contact Ben Musolf @ bjmusolf@aol.com.

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February 11 - 13, 2005 - Cape Coral World Series of Bocce - Veterans Park – 4140 Coronado Blvd Cape Coral, FL - 4 person teams - contact George Furlan @ 239-275-9968 or 239-542-7424 - Cell 239-229-2348.

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February 12, 2005 - Open – 4 Person Teams - American Bocce Association Fundraiser - Antioch Indoor Bocce Courts - Antioch Fairgrounds, Antioch, CA - MUST HAVE ABA CARD. Contact Gloria Taylor @ 510-787-2317.

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February 19, 2005 - USBF - I. A. C. - 3 Person (One Woman) - contact Ron Jacobs @ (209)957-1223.

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March 19, 2005 - USBF Waterloo - 2 Men/2 Women - contact Romano Lotti @ 209-951-8256.

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April 9, 2005 -USBF - Los Gatos - 4 Person Open - contact Ben Musolf @ bjmusolf@aol.com.

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April 18-19, 2005 - Open – 4 Person Teams - Tahoe Biltmore - North Shore Lake Tahoe, CA - Contact David Canclini @ 209-957-3314.

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April 23, 2005 - Bellingham Bay Bocce Tournament - hoping for 48 teams - using open rules. Will set up as many as 12 courts (Field Turf surface with Backyard Bocce’s perimeter courts). Contact Info@boccemon.com

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April 23, 2005 - Open -3 person teams - So. SF IACC, Orange Ave. Mem. Park, South San Francisco, CA. MUST HAVE ABA CARD. Contact Alvaro Bettucchi @ 650-871-9278.

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April 30, 2005 - April in Vallejo Open – 4 person Teams - Vallejo Bocce Federation, 333 Amador St. Vallejo, CA. Contact Dick Gomez @ 707-554-9916.

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May 7, 2005 - Women’s Tournament - Open – 4 person teams - P.I.A.S.C. - San Mateo - Beresford Recreation Center, 28th Ave. & Alameda de la Pulgas - MUST HAVE ABA CARD. Contact Rose Viscuso @ 650-349-7732.

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May 7, 2005 - Raffa – 3 person team - P.I.A.S.C. San Mateo, 100 “B” Street, San Mateo, CA - MUST HAVE ABA CARD. Contact Adriano Undorte @ 650-591-3318.

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July 14 – 16, 2005 – World’s Largest indoor guaranteed purse in the history of bocce ($16,000) - Fantasy Springs Resort and Casino - Indio, CA (near Palm Springs) Phone: 800-827-2946. Contact Phil Ferrari @ 800-652-6223 - Open Division and (Fun) Challenge Division.

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