The Joy of Bocce Weekly
In This Issue: Vol. VI, Issue 1 - January 15, 2007 
•   Notes from the publisher
•   On the down side
•   2006 bocce happenings
•   What’s in store for The Joy of Bocce and bocce in general?
•   In my neck of the woods…
•   Tournament update
Notes from the publisher
The weekly Ezine for bocce aficionados everywhere
Volume 6, Issue #1 - January 15, 2007
Publisher: Mario Pagnoni Copyright 2007
76 Emsley Terrace, Methuen, MA 01844
http://www.joyofbocce.com (vm 800-211-1202 ext 4949)

This issue begins The Joy of Bocce Weekly's 6th year of publication. Yikes! Who would have thunk it - six years.

A weekly ezine is an ambitious undertaking. I miss a few weeks here and there because "life gets in the way", but have managed to publish pretty consistently.

It's very gratifying that, on weeks when we are "dark" (no ezine launched), I receive many emails from loyal subscribers seeking their regular bocce "fix".

The only way it is possible to sustain a weekly of this nature is for subscribers to submit questions, comments and photos. And thankfully, this has been the case for the past five years. Thanks to all who care enough to help our sport grow.

This weekend I’ve reviewed the year’s back issues ( http://www.joyofbocce.com/backissues.ivnu ) preparing to sum up the bocce year. This always gives me mixed feelings as I enjoy reviewing the progress the game has made over the past 12 months, but get dismayed when I find all the typos I didn’t catch while scrambling to make deadline.

Many thanks to all who contributed in 2006. Your continued input remains the lifeblood of the ezine.

2006 bocce happenings
I wrote this paragraph in my 2005 bocce review, and it holds true for 2006.

“The year 2005 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.”

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Probably the biggest 2006 happening was the grand opening of Campo di Bocce Livermore. It looks like these types of bocce facilities (restaurant, bar, and high end bocce courts) will proliferate (can’t wait till someone builds one in New England - and hires me to run it) and will help the game hit the mainstream. Tom Albanese’s Campo di Bocce complexes (Los Gatos and Livermore, CA) are very successful as is Tony Battaglia’s Palazzo di Bocce (Lake Orion, MI). Battaglia is reportedly breaking ground for a new Palazzo in the Chicago area. Palazzo hosted the 2005 U.S. National Championships and the World’s Singles Championships as well as hundreds of corporate parties.

Campo di Bocce Livermore hosted the North American Championships in June as well as numerous tournaments, fund-raisers, and successful bocce outings.

View Campo di Bocce here: http://www.CampodiBocce.com or here: http://www.joyofbocce.com/Livermore.ivnu
View Palazzo di Bocce here: http://www.palazzodibocce.com or here: http://www.joyofbocce.com/Palazzo.ivnu

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The 2006 United States Bocce Championships were held in St. Louis...read about it here: http://www.joyofbocce.com/filecabinet/Ezines/vol5_24.html

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A team from the Palazzo di Bocce, representing the United States, achieved the highest finish ever for a United States raffa team in world competition, finishing 5th! The team included Jorge Moreno as captain, Dr. Angel Cordano, Mike Lapcevich, Jason Wisniewski, and John Ross as head of delegation and coach. Read about it here: http://www.joyofbocce.com/filecabinet/Ezines/vol5_35.html

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The Boccemon, Tom McNutt, spearheaded a drive to send 12,000 lbs. of oyster to Iraq to build the “most dangerous bocce court on the planet”. He and his wife Erin had to stand in for the soldiers at a "black tie" affair in DC to accept a prestigious award.

”A Washington D.C. group presents an award each year to honor troops who have risen above and beyond the call to improve the morale of their fellow soldiers. Four awards are given out through all departments of the US Armed Forces worldwide.

This year there were 5 awards given as both Captain Steve Jaksec and SFC Robert Foster received awards. Capt. Jaksec, you may recall, first contacted me in September about the feasibility of getting a premium bocce court to the center of the Sunni Triangle.

The Captain organized his crew with the help of SFC Foster and built not just a bocce court but also a fire pit, dart throwing area, horseshoes and a live feed projection wall for sports viewing. They have created a great place and due to their occupation in Iraq they were not able to return home to receive the awards. My wife Erin and I were asked to accept the award on behalf of Captain Jaksec. SFC Foster had his wife come to claim his.“

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Dr. Joe DeFrank of Honolulu, HI {University of Hawaii at Manoa Dept. of Tropical Plant and Soil Science http://www2.hawaii.edu/~defrenk/ } combined his area of technical expertise with his love for bocce and the popularity of Poker to create a novel approach to playing our game. He calls is "Vegas Style Bocce."

View photos here: http://www.joyofbocce.com/Hawaii.ivnu - read about the Vegas Style Bocce here: http://www.joyofbocce.com/filecabinet/Ezines/vol5_13.html

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Many areas worked to rebuild or find new bocce venues after tropical storms hit…The Bocce Club of Greater New Orleans indicated...

"We are currently repairing the facade and roof damage to our Clubhouse thanks to Hurricane Katrina. We are still playing Bocce, but many of our members have been flooded out of their homes, and have not returned.”

George Farruggio of Punta Gorda, Florida reminded us..."As you know, we lost our club in Hurricane Charley. Now we play at the ELKS of Punta Gorda, Florida.”

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Several new books and movie ideas moved into high gear…

Canadian Toni Bos informed us that...

"I am writing an encyclopedia of hobbies and interests for the North American market, called ‘Things To Do When You`d Rather Not Watch TV’. In addition to a description, photos, and resources, a personal story will be featured to help readers understand the activity better. I was hoping that you would have such a story. Maybe you have an amusing anecdote, favorite memory or interesting story?"

I submitted my favorite to Toni, titled…”It’s Easy!”

”My friend, four-year-old Ryan Hamilton, has watched the adults playing bocce at my house many times.

A Monday morning league, we have coffee and pastry, then play games separated by short breaks for additional libations and more food. Ryan, already an avid sports fan (NE 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!’ “

Jim Meehan, from Lagniappe Vineyards in the Napa Valley sends excellent news about plans for a new "picture coffee table book"...

"We have many pictures of games, parties and events where people of all ages are enjoying bocce in the wine country. The book we are producing (my wife is a writer) is more of a picture coffee table style book. We are attempting to address 'image,' by focusing on lots of ideas for alfresco entertaining around the game of bocce. We want to show the game as a way to bring all ages together and to enjoy outdoor living with great food, wine and camaraderie."

Stephanie Foerster (Director, StepFilms) “...made a film called ‘Watch the Pallino’ about bocce, and why it is so dang popular in Central Illinois.”

For more information on the documentary "Watch the Pallino", go to http://www.boccedoc.com . The movie is finished and the DVD is being prepared.

”'Watch the Pallino' uncovers the history of Toluca's passion for bocce, and follows key players and organizers over the course of the daylong tournament--all the way to the finals. Father Neri, a bocce playing priest, the jocular Shirley and State champs Theresa and Nancy Biagini are all there to win. 'Watch the Pallino' showcases the historians, entertainers and avid bocce players who make the town what it is today."

"The Tournament" (a movie with a bocce backdrop went into circulation)…

”This is the story of a relationship between a man and his son as told through the son. The story is a gripping drama and the relationships that occur in this wonderful rural New England Town. The core of the story revolves around the game of Bocci and how through this game a father and a son connect. Directed and Written by Eugene Celico.

View: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0420967/ and/or
http://www.projo.com/movies/content/celico_08-11-06_6I1KCLO.22d4ffc.html

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Michale Grasser launced http://www.DAVINCIBOCCE.COM offering high end imported bocce gear for the serious player.

Landscape architect and bocce lover Michael Grasser has launched a terrific new web site (with a little help from yours truly). Mike retails the Italian-made Super Martel Bocce products including high end bocce balls, shoes, scoreboards, and measures.

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Carmine D’Agostino of Franklin, Massachusetts submitted the most detailed photos yet of a do-it-yourself bocce court project. Check them out here: http://www.joyofbocce.com/Doityourself.ivnu

In my neck of the woods…
In 2006 I did my usual share of public speaking and attending bocce events and ribbon cutting ceremonies = view this one – my favorite: http://www.joyofbocce.com/RibbonCutting.ivnu

Our local non-profit group (Ken Waldie Senior Sports Circuit, Inc. - http://www.kenwaldiessc.org ) which offers softball, basketball, and bocce to seniors over the age of 50 became the first local group to offer company parties/outings at our bocce venue in North Andover, MA.

We also continued our very successful Bocce charity fund-raisers. I think these will eventually rival and perhaps overtake golf tourney fund-raisers. Bocce events are simpler and less expensive to run, and anyone who can roll a ball can help the charity. Our second annual Martignetti Family Charity Bocce Tournament raised $42,000 for the Joey Fund (I believe this is a New England record for a bocce tourney fund-raiser). View http://www.bocce4charity.us for info on the tourney or http://www.joyofbocce.com/MFCBT.ivnu to learn how to run a similar event yourself.

We fine tuned our “Closest to the Pallino” contest that we run in conjunction with the bocce tourney fund-raisers. Read about that here: http://www.joyofbocce.com/filecabinet/Ezines/vol5_15.html

Our annual youth bocce tournament held outdoors each summer at our local library has grown from 20 participants to well over 60. It has become one of the most eagerly anticipated programs that the Nevins Memorial Library (Methuen, MA) offers.

One civic-minded bocce family did a good deed for a local charity auction. The Grella family of Methuen, MA donated a "Day of Bocce" at their home court (including dinner for eight, a set of Perfetta Bocce Balls, autographed copies of The Joy of Bocce, and instruction by yours truly. Is this a great idea, or what?

We invite you to copy the model for this event. This one benefited a local YMCA and the winning bid topped out at $600. Read about it here: http://www.joyofbocce.com/filecabinet/Ezines/vol5_33.html

We developed a way to "Color Code" our teams when we run tournaments. This proved to be a time-saver and streamlined our charity events. Read about it here: http://www.joyofbocce.com/filecabinet/Ezines/vol5_34.html and view the photos here: http://www.joyofbocce.com/Clambake.ivnu

After many inquiries about our temporary indoor courts (vinyl fence posts set up on carpet or Astroturf), we entered into an agreement with Martignetti Enterprises, Inc. who will custom build and ship these courts anywhere in the USA. View them here: http://www.joyofbocce.com/TempCourts.ivnu

I've had so many requests from readers who want a bocce court built that I struck a deal with Vernon Real Estate & Construction (Topsfield, MA). I'll act as the consultant on the job and show up on the work site to make sure that the courts are first rate. We'll specialize in New England, but will travel farther if necessary.

Also, Martignetti Enterprises of Massachusetts has become the first local building supply place to stock Har-Tru top dressing.

On the down side
Still not much bocce in the schools hereabouts. No club teams or interscholastic leagues yet. But many phys. ed. teachers are incorporating bocce into the curriculum.

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My Ken Waldie Senior Sports group hosted the bocce segment of the Massachusetts 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 (what a shame!).

Too bad - because next summer the nationals are in Louisville, KY - home of Bob Valvano's indoor bocce facility, Gotcha Bocce. {View pics here http://www.joyofbocce.com/GotchaBocce.ivnu }

We need to work to get open rules bocce in the senior games in more states so that 2008 will be a qualifying year for bocce at the 2009 nationals (in San Francisco, I believe). Then, with all these qualifying teams present from around the USA, we could broaden their horizons by putting on a demonstration of Punta Raffa Volo international style play.

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CafePress, the online outfit that lets you upload your logo, place it on mugs, t-shirts, etc. and sell the items, sent a promotional email endorsing sports themed Holiday gifts.

Every conceivable sport was listed except bocce. I mean there was even Curling and Snowboarding.

The problem is a familiar one. It's not that there are no bocce items for sale via CafePress virtual stores. The people at CafePress don't recognize bocce as a sport.

I (and others) sent a number of emails to the good people at CafePress chastising them and reminding them not to leave our sport of choice out of the mix. So far, no response. }

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

What’s in store for The Joy of Bocce and bocce in general?
One problem solved...

To combat the "email deliverability" problem, 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'll be able to go to JoyofBocce.com, click on Back Issues, and open up the current week's ezine.

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Second problem solved...

When you view photos of the week via the archives, clicking on the photos might open up the current week's photos instead of the ones you were looking for. I had been replacing the photos each week as I didn't want my web site to get too large and cumbersome. If I add a new page every week the site will grow by more than 50 pages per year. The site is already more than 100 meg which is pretty large (most people's sites don't approach 50 meg). So, I placed the photos on the same page each week, simply replacing the old ones with the new ones.

This creates the problem - you can't always view the photos via the archived back issues. Sometimes you can...like when I made Dr. Mazzei's Maine bocce court the photos of the week, I added those pictures to the Bocce Venues section.

I've decided that, starting in 2007, I'll add a new page each week for the issue's photos. This will be more work for me, but will make the pictures available via the archived back issues. My site has the storage capacity of 500 meg - so I should be OK for the next couple years. I guess I'll worry about the storage problem then.}

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I’ll be tweaking the web site this year. Most people initially visit a site for information. Later, if they like what you have to offer and learn to trust you, they might purchase something. {This will be great news for my wife, who reminds me often of the fact that I put so much effort into bocce without making any money in return}.

I want to make my site the most informative on the web. Most questions are on how to play, rules, building a court, and equipment. So, I’ll have navigation buttons for those topics and branch off from there. I'll eliminate some of the "extra" buttons making navigation easier.

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I’m learning about blogging (slowly and painfully) and may launch a bocce blog. I’ve purchased the domain name bocceguy.com for that purpose.

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Everyone seems to agree that the game is growing leaps and bounds, yet we still can’t seem to put our hands on empirical data that documents the game’s expansion. We need to know how many bocce balls are sold nationally compared to last year, five years ago, etc. How many people really are playing our game nationwide?

These are the kinds of facts we need to arm ourselves with to “sell” sponsors, book publishers, TV programmers, etc.

And make no mistake about it. We are in dire need of TV exposure. Look at the boost Curling got from the Olympic coverage. People everywhere were fascinated by the sport and wanted to give it a try. Curling is another "cousin" of bocce - surely evolving from the same family of ball and target games.

Bocce needs national TV exposure.

We need to take the game to the masses. Almost everyone we introduce the game to likes it. It's just a matter of getting the word out. Once we get the masses playing open rules, some will gravitate toward the high levels of international style play, eager to represent the USA in international competitions.

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5 years (or less) away

I've been playing bocce since I was about 11 years old and strong enough to jump the fence in my backyard to get into the courts at the Fratalanza Club on Wilcox St. in Springfield, MA.

My friend Rico Daniele has been saying that bocce was going to be huge in this country since we were kids playing bocce on the grass at Emerson Wright Playground. I thought he was right, but always felt that bocce's hitting the mainstream was many years in the future.

Now, with the growth I see locally (New England trends always lag behind West Coast and Mid-America trends), I believe we could be fewer than 5 years from hitting "critical mass."

Not hard data by any means, here are my impressions:

The Baby Boomers are finally latching onto the game. People are building backyard courts like never before. Internet outfits like Netshops (which runs BocceBallSets.com) is one of the fastest growing Internet sites on the web.

In my neck of the woods, as little as three years ago my bocce posse was the only one playing in the area. Now there are no less than five groups, each with from 15 to 50 participants.

Age 55+ housing units are springing up everywhere and many include bocce courts as part of the amenities package.

A local golf course called me in to consult on adding four covered courts this summer.

A local winery called me to consult on adding two outdoor courts where they might combine wine-tasting events with bocce.

Several groups are talking to me about building a bocce facility (in Massachusetts) comparable to the Campo di Bocce/ Palazzo di Bocce establishments.

A week doesn't go by without someone telephoning me while researching for a story or book they are writing or a bocce project they are planning.

Once the TV exposure comes, all of this growth will accelerate and compound.

Here's the deal as clearly as I can see it...

Someone needs to step out of the bocce crowd and become the Face of Bocce. This person needs to have no hidden agenda, other than the growth and unification of the game.

S/he needs to have a little charisma, a good sense of humor, a genuine love for the game and in-depth knowledge of it. S/he needs to be pretty articulate and able to project honest enthusiasm that will come across the screen and into American homes.

Before you think that I am talking about me, let me stop you right there. While I absolutely LOVE public speaking, I am terrified of Television (those hot lights beat down on your bald spot like you wouldn't believe).

And I don't think we want an old, short, balding guy carrying the banner. Some young, good-looking hot shot would be best suited for this job. Any candidates come to mind? Maybe we could send him/her to BFS (Bocce Finishing School).

Let's continue to build - the next couple years will lay the foundation for the exponential growth to follow...ya' think?

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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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.

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January 19 - 21 - Arizona (Bocce Arizona Club, Glendale, AZ). International Tournament including teams from Italy, Canada, and the USA. Three divisions based on skill level with prize money being awarded. Contact The Father of Bocce Ball in Arizona, Pasquale D'Aliesio @ Pasquale@boccearizona.net and visit the website at http://www.boccearizona.net (slowly being constructed) for updates.

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February 9 & 10, 2007 - Michigan - Palazzo di Bocce. 2nd Annual Winter Bocce Blast. Two-person teams - Open Rules - backboard dead - $150 per team includes continental breakfast & lunch buffet on Saturday. $6000 guaranteed purse. Contact JasonW@palazzodibocce.com .

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March 9 - 11, 2007. Florida - Cape Coral - Veterans Park Bocce Courts, 4140 Coronado Pkwy. 4 player teams w/ 1 alternate. Open Rules, Round Robin format. Prize money to top 5 place finishers. 1st place $7,000.00 guaranteed. 2nd - 5th place amounts determined by number of teams entered. Entry fee = $400.00 per team. Must register by Feb 10, 2007. More info: George Furlan at 239-275-9968 or 1-800-226-0604 - Cell 239-229-2348, e-mail = skinnybocce@sbcglobal.net .

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April 29, 2007 - Washington - Bellingnham. Bellingham Bay Bocce Tournament - Http://www. bellinghamsportsplex.com . Contact Tom Mcnutt @ http://www.boccemon.com or call 360-224-2909 for info or to register.

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June 3, 2007 - New Jersey - Franklin (Colonial Park). Bocce Invitational - "Proceeds benefit our soldiers through the efforts of Operation Shoebox New Jersey." Contact Frank Valanzola @ 973-793-5406. {Note: Operation Shoebox is an initiative to create a "care package supply line" to US troops serving overseas.}

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September 15, 2007 - Virginia - Oronoco Park, on the Potomac - First Annual San Gennaro Italian Festival of Alexandria. Ben Brenman Park in Alexandria Virginia (just outside Washington DC). Info on website: http://www.sgfva.org . Contact = Jay DeCianno @ deciannojj@efv.usmc.mil.

Joy of bocce t-shirts, mugs, buttons, magnets, etc.

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