The Joy of Bocce Weekly
In This Issue: Vol. IV, Issue 32 - August 29, 2005 
•   Notes from the publisher
•   Bocce product of the week
•   Bocce news & readers' feedback
•   Non bocce product of the week
•   Photos of the week
•   Tournament update
Notes from the publisher
The weekly Ezine for bocce aficionados everywhere
Volume 4, Issue #32 - August 29, 2005
Publisher: Mario Pagnoni Copyright 2005
76 Emsley Terrace, Methuen, MA 01844

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Hello bocce community,

Had another wonderful visit with some new bocce friends in Trenton, Maine - first bocce venue I've been to in that state. Look for the photos next week of Dr. Richard Mazzei's new court overlooking the Union River Bay. Very consistently I am finding that bocce people are good people who also tend to eat very well! {Build it and they will come - Feed me and I will come!}


Joy of Bocce 2nd Edition

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Bocce news & readers' feedback
{Publisher's comments in brackets...}

Frank Sallustio (Crofton, MD) asks...

"A neighbor across the street in Crofton, MD wants to build a professional bocce court in his back yard. I read on one of the bocce web sites that a company can build a synthetic bocce court that requires minimal maintenance. Can you share some information on this?"

{The best advice I can offer is for you to contact one of the "Big 3" in bocce court installation - Tom McNutt (Washington -, Mike Grasser (Michigan -, Dave Brewer (California - On the east coast a newcomer to the bocce court building scene is Wendy Lindquist (Connecticut - - she is also building a fine reputation in this field }


World class player Dr. Angel Cordano writes...

"Thanks for the ezines and it was wonderful to see bocce in KY and particularly in Louisville where we have a relatively large family from Vicky's side (2 sisters, brothers-in-law and many nephews and a niece).

Now with the bocce activities it will be another reason to visit and I will love to go and play there as well as to meet Mr. Valvano and exchange ideas for a better future of the sport in the area.

I always say SPORT with capital letters because that's what bocce has to be considered if we are ever to escalate at other levels.

We must try to stimulate as you always do, to have courts of acceptable dimensions (minimum of 75-78 feet by 10-11 if they can't be of 80-86 by 12-13) with protection at the sides and at the end of the court, because a game without shooting Raffa or Volo, will never catch on with the young people (aggressive by definition)."

{Dr. C has played all over the world and probably has forgotten more about bocce than most people will ever learn. He has hinted about writing a book on strategy and tactics which I think would be an instant bocce best-seller.}


Bob Lemoine (Massachusetts) says...

"We play every Wednesday PM weather permiting during the months of May through Sept. A good way for couples to enjoy an evening of fun. "

{Absolutely - maybe someone in your group can lead the charge to locate a venue for winter play.}


Elaine & Bob Segale tell us...

"We just finished the major undertaking of building a bocce court on our property and we are very interested in learning as much as we can and hopefully some tips on court maintenance and play techniques. My son works at a winery and always loved bocce and finally convinced us to build our own court. What an undertaking it was."

{Yes, a pretty big job, but one that will return many hours of enjoyment to you, your family and friends. Your son has discovered what many of us already know - the wine/bocce connection is a natural. Read the ezine for the info you seek.}


Valerie DiBenedetto (Fort Collins, Colorado) writes...

"We are holding a bocce ball tournament as a benefit for our local Meals on Wheels for the first time. We are trying to figure out timing for possibly 36 teams, double elimination. How long might it take?"

{Yikes! Big event. Everything depends on how many courts will be in use at one time.

36 teams double elimination works out to 70 or 71 games. Unless you have 10 or more courts or you want to hold it over several days, I'd think about another format.

Also, you could play to 12 points or a time limit - 30 or 45 minutes - whichever comes first.}

Interested in other outdoor games?

Photos of the week
Gotcha Bocce

Photos held over 2nd week due to popular demand (and overworked bocce newsletter publisher)

At first glance I thought I was on the set of "Honey, I Shrunk the Bocce." The gray carpeted courts at Gotcha Bocce (Louisville, KY) were too short, too narrow. The bocce balls were too small. And wasn't that a table tennis ball they were using for a pallino?

On closer inspection, things got worse. The courts aren't level - you play slightly uphill in one direction, down in the other. And the sub-flooring isn't uniform, requiring players to hone the skill of "reading the gray."

But there is a method to the madness hereabouts. The six well-constructed and attractive courts (custom built by the Kentucky-Indiana Lumber Co.) are situated upstairs from a hockey rink and make the best use of the available space. Since the courts are a tad short (four are 70-footers and two are almost 60-footers) and a bit narrow (8 feet), it makes sense to play with smaller balls (90 mm rather than the oft recommended 107 mm).

These courts are challenging and great fun to play. I participated in a tourney one day, and competed with some of the regulars on another. Each court has its own peculiar nuances of play, giving those with "court knowledge" an advantage. After a brief learning curve, however, they become user friendly for most. The first day I was AWFUL. But, always a quick study, the following day I was just BAD.

Introducing the game to legions of new bocce converts, owners Bob Valvano and Chip Sobel have done a marvelous job via their well thought-out venue and smart, scaled down game. They've fostered genteel bocce, dominated by smooth touch and good pointing. There are no hard throwing raffas here. In fact, if you knock the pallino out of the court, your opponent is awarded three points. In the 7 weeks the venue has been open, it had only happened once (I did it twice in two nights - in the process scoring more points for the other team than I did for my own).

Valvano, a highly successful college and professional basketball coach, has a bocce style that reflects his hoop background. Any ball that hits the backboard without first striking another ball is a "dead" ball (this good rule is catching on all over the country). Valvano naturally calls the shot a "bocce air ball."

He and Sobel are having a blast with the sport, often playing in the leagues they run. Their infectious enthusiasm makes them a pair of Pied Pipers of the pallino. They've even developed their own bocce officiating signals, some of which are a real "hoot" (see photos).

And to top things off, Gotcha Bocce serves good Italian food. Angelina's Cafe, named after Valvano's late mother, features family recipes.

The comments from the players were consistently positive. They love the sport. They Love the food. And they LOVE the venue.

"I'm so glad these guys (Valvano & Sobel) introduced me to bocce."

"I like how easy it is and how friendly it is."

"It's a great new game for us. Inexpensive too - you don't need things like high end golf clubs or designer bowling shoes."

In the two days I played at Gotcha Bocce everybody beat me - the tourney field, the owners, their children, even the guy who operates the Zamboni downstairs, but I never enjoyed myself more. I can't ever remember having fun losing in basketball or baseball. Valvano & Sobel have reached down and grabbed the essence of sport by the scruff of the neck and shook some sense into it. Gotcha Bocce play is for gentle exercise and recreation. It fosters friendship and good-natured competition. I witnessed more smiles, laughs and joy per square foot than in any sports venue I've ever been in, and...a life-long jock...I've been in a lot of 'em.

If you are in the Gotcha Bocce neighborhood, you need to get there and see for yourself.

If you are within driving distance, gas up the auto and take a ride.

If you are at a great distance, get on the Gotcha Bocce email list and plan to participate in a tournament or other event there.


Gotcha Bocce, 1701 UPS Drive, is open from 11 a.m. to approximately 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1-10 p.m. Sunday. Call (502) 326-5555 or e-mail for more information.

View this week's photos

Bocce product of the week
The Budget Bocce Court by Bryan Mero

Bryan Mero (of fame) has created a very well crafted booklet on building a low budget bocce court. He's published it via the clever print-on-demand outfit CafePress.

It describes in detail how Mero was able to build his 60' by 10' court in California for less than $600.

Mero covers topics like...

Tools & supplies you'll need
Choosing the court's location
How do I make it level?
How do I level out the court surface?
What do I use as the mid-layer?
What is the top layer...crushed what?
Where do I mark foul lines?
What will court maintenance be like?

Interspersed with photos, drawings and personal notes from his own court construction experience this helpful little booklet is a definite "keeper."

Paperback - $14.99

Click to visit Ibocce's CafePress store...

Non bocce product of the week

Ever thought of having your own home bar? Check out our new affiliate...indoor and outdoor bars available.

Home Bars

Click to view Great Home Bars...

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. Click the logo to the right to opt in if you do not already receive this ezine every Monday.


Lots of tournament action listed - please consider designating someone as "official event photographer" and directing that person to send snapshots for us to reproduce as photos of the week. Our readers love seeing bocce action from around the continent.


September 10-11, 2005 - California - Monterey - Santa Rosalia Tournament - Open – 4 person teams - Monterey Bocce Club Charter House - does any reader know the contact person for this event? Please REPLY.


September 16 - 18 - Canada - Ontario - Windsor - Ciociaro Club - 3 person teams - $6,000.00 guaranteed first place. Contact Remo Incitti @ 519-965-7799 or 519-969-4825.


September 17, 2005 - California - Los Gatos - Campo di Bocce - raffa men singles (ranking) - contact Ben Musolf @ 408-395-7650.


September 18 - 25, 2005 - Michigan – Orion - World Bocce Championships – Palazzo di Bocce, 4291 S. Lapeer Rd, Orion, MI 48359. Contact Bryan Sanborn at 248-371-9987 x13 or


September 18, 2005 - California - San Mateo - Open – 4 person team - 1 must be a woman - Contact Adriano Undorte @ 650-591-3318.


September 24, 2005 - California - San Francisco - XXX Italian/American Games - Raffa – 3 person team - contact Alvaro Bettucchi @ 650-871-9278.


September 24, 2005 - Californai - Martinez - Open - Battle Of The Sexes, 2 person (Men’s winner vs. Women’s winner). Contact Tracy Benetti or Jessica Benetti @ 925-372-5327.


September 24 & 25, 2005 - Maryland - Towson, Baltimore County - 4 person teams - proceeds benefit Baltimore Columbus Parade - contact Dino Bosso @ 410-536-0886.


October 1, 2005 - California - San Rafael - Open – 4 person team - Marin Bocce Federation, 550 B Street. Contact Diana Pellegrini @ 415-454-4483.


October 8, 2005 - California - San Francisco - Volo – 3 person team. Contact Alessandro Bettucchi @ 650-583-9936.


October 8, 2005 - California - Los Gatos - Campo di Bocce - Raffa – 3 Players - contact Bill Schlaefer @ 408- 379-9409.


October 22, 2005 - Sutter Creek Open - 2 Men, 2 Women Contact Rick Wagstaff @ 209-296-6151.

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