The Joy of Bocce Weekly
In This Issue: Vol. VI, Issue 21 - July 23, 2007 
•   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 6, Issue #21 - July 23, 2007
Publisher: Mario Pagnoni Copyright 2007
76 Emsley Terrace, Methuen, MA 01844 (vm 800-211-1202 ext 4949)

Bocce buddies,

Two weeks in a row without an ezine - "My bad", as the kids say.

Our two events two weekends ago went off without a hitch. Our annual Bocce in the Park tournament for children at Methuen's Nevins Memorial Library (Friday) fielded 11 four-player teams. The kids (and some parents) played well and had a great time. Some of them even made the trip the following day to see action in the Mass. Senior Games bocce at our venue in North Andover.

Unfortunately, those events (and others) kept me too busy to get the ezine published. On the bright side is this - I figured out how to operate my new digital camera and have posted some good photos of the Mass. Senior Games (and made Senior Games a navigation button on the Joy of Bocce's home page).

By the way...three teams from my non-profit group (Ken Waldie SSC, Inc.) won ALL the medals (Gold, Silver, and Bronze) in the Massachusetts Senior Games. Yours truly and teammates Peter Picarillo and Rich D'Agata took home the Gold.

Best regards,
Mario Pagnoni (The Bocce Guy)

View pictorial on how to top dress your bocce court...

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

Carol Drebin writes...

"I'm a coach with Special Olympics. Attached is a photo of my son Zach and another of the beautiful courts at Crane Park in St. Helena, CA. (2006 Photos by Heidi Matlack.)

We just ended our Bocce season, playing at East Portal Park in Sacramento, CA.

Some day, our dream is to have courts nearby to practice and play on. We teach our athletes skills and strategy on indoor/outdoor carpeting laid on the floor of a high school cafeteria! BUT... we still win medals!!

Sipping coffee from my 'Joy of Bocce' cup..."

{Resourceful!...carpet on the floor of a high school cafeteria - works for me! The second photo mentioned - "the beautiful courts at Crane Park in St. Helena, CA" can be viewed by clicking Zach's photo. }


Mike D. asked for advice last week that prompted input from several readers...

"I am looking to get a nice set of Bocce balls and am having trouble deciding. I really like the St. Pierre set because of the fact that it is the official ball of the USBF, but the place I was going to order them from, offers the EPCO Set, 107mm, with personalization. I really like the idea of having my last name on my set, something unique that I can pass along to my kids in the future. What do you recommend?"

{In response, I wrote about the "massive amount of bocce misinformation on the web and elsewhere."

Regarding International Bocce Association specifications" I noted that "The International Bocce Association has been defunct for a couple decades."

I offered that "The St. Pierre set is NOT the official ball of the USBF. In fact, the USBF is trying very hard to get advertisers to stop spreading this misinformation."

I noted that "...there is a huge difference between high-tech Italian-made balls and the ones readily available in American department stores. Some bocce balls made in the USA are really bowling balls that the manufacturer just retooled for bocce. They tend to not stand up well - heck, they're made for banging into wooden pins, not other balls."

I also wrote..."Nevertheless, the market for bocce in America is for inexpensive recreational sets. World class players might purchase a new set every time their old set gets a couple nicks, while most American families will purchase a set that will last a lifetime, no matter how banged up it gets.

I've heard from many readers who tell me they spent cheap dollars on bocce sets only to find out that they are not perfectly round or correctly weighted. They don't roll straight and they pit and crack easily."

Next I wrote about the tradeoff between inexpensive department store balls that may not wear well or hold up to strict weight and size specs and the imported balls now offered at Michael Grasser's . I further noted that Grasser now offers a Martel recreation set of 4 red, 4 green, pallino (but no carry bag) for $125 plus shipping. These, claim Grasser, are the closest to international standard size and weight available in the United States.}

Bede Kortegast of Playaboule chimed in with...

"Great article on the value in buying 'real' bocce balls. Seems to paraphrase much of what we have been teaching people about bocce over the last 7 plus years and you and I have discussed several times. But I was saddened that our product was missing from that article. After all we have the history as the only company truly promoting bocce with 'real' balls, until recently."

{Bede is right of course. Playaboule has a solid record of promoting bocce while offering quality bocce balls at what amount to wholesale prices. View Perfetta balls here... }

Donna Allen, a past USBF board member cleared one thing up nicely...

"I must say that EPCO and St. Pierre do sell balls that were manufactured to standards provided to them by the USBF which are consistent with international standards. They did this for the USBF at a time when obtaining balls in the USA was extremely difficult. The growth of the sport in the 80s and early 90s truly sprinted when equipment to play the game became more readily available. They at one time were an official ball of the USBF and were used at several national championships. I have no reason to believe they have changed their manufacturing process or altered the acceptable size."

{Wow! This makes a lot of sense. Rather than chastising those outfits for their advertising, we ought to be thanking them for stepping up and helping the game grow at a time when it was most needed."}


Charles Agnew asks a question about open rules bocce...

"Can you tell me what rules covers if a player plays out of turn and disturbs the the balls in the court and changes the point score?"

{When a player plays out of turn - e.g. he had the point already but played the next ball anyway...the opposing team has the option of letting the play stand or "burning" the ball (taking it out of play) and returning any moved balls to their previous positions. We refer to this as "rule of advantage."

The opposing team might choose to let the play stand if the misplayed ball disturbed balls or the pallino in such a way that it benefited them.}


Randy Johnson writes...

"We are designing a court for an apartment building, and are interested in what you have done or seen with provisions for handicapped accessibility for bocce courts.

P.S. - our office is a stone's throw from the Natick Sons of Italy courts, where I have become a social member."

{Some courts have a removable section - there's a photo of one here: - scroll down to the eighth photo. There's another here: - scroll down to the last photo.

On outdoor courts with oyster shell, stone dust or Har-Tru surfaces, the removable section doubles as a way to get a heavy roller into the court.}


Phillip St. John has become a bocce convert...

"It seems that I, too, have been bitten by the Bocce bug. Several weeks ago, I was only casually aware of the game – now I’m even dreaming about it! This game should come with a warning: Highly Addictive.

I purchased your book and have been enjoying it quite a bit. I think I may have discovered a fifth fundamental force in the Universe: Bocce!"

Phillip goes on to report that he purchased a set of Perfetta bocce balls on e-Bay that he was not happy with. He later returned the set for a full refund.

"The company was extremely fair with me – even refunding the return shipping. They claimed that it was just a defective set and did not reflect the Perfetta standard."

{There have been some complaints about balls cracking, and this appears to have been common to all the Italian bocce manufacturers who may have gotten a bad batch of plastic. Bede Kortegast explains...

"As to the other issue of problem balls. Yes we did but only with the 4 ball competition sets and yes everyone did. There was apparently a bad batch of plastic that was supplied to all Bocce makers and some sets had cracking problems. This was exacerbated by balls being left in hot cars and going into air conditioned rooms so thermal cracking was an occasional condition. This applied to Perfetta, Salf, Super Martel and others. Those days are past us and we took a loss with returns, shipping and replacement sets all as part of our highly regarded customer service.

So in short, Perfetta is still going strong as we know that they are made from the best materials and our customer testimonials and raves keep us firmly behind that product."


What others say about The Joy of Bocce...

Photos of the week
This week's pics highlight the recent Massachusetts Senior Games Bocce Tournament held at our venue in North Andover, Mass.

The Senior Games are also called “The Senior Olympics” and feature events for men and women age 50 and over. The competition is in 5-year age brackets (e.g. 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, etc. to 90+)

Massachusetts Senior Games include...

Basketball (3-on-3)
Billiards (8-ball)
Bowling (10-pin, candlepin)
Lawn Bowling
Pistol Shooting (conventional)
Race Walking
Road Race
Synchronized Swimming
Table Tennis
Track and Field

For our bocce event we offered just one age bracket - over 50 - and teams could be made up of men, women, or both. We played "triples" - 3 players per team rolling 3 balls each and playing both ends of the court.

Unfortunately, bocce is not yet a Senior Olympic sport at the national level. Other sports like softball and basketball allow medal winners to advance to the Nationals the following year. You qualify one year and compete in the National Senior Olympics the following year. Since not enough states are offering bocce in their Senior Games, bocce is not offered at the Nationals. We're hoping to change that so that 2008's medal winners can compete at the 2009 Senior Olympics in San Francisco. View the photos for more details.

Our major sponsors for the event were our good friends at Martignetti Enterprises, Inc. Located in Woburn and Amesbury, Mass., please consider them for your building supply needs.

"Offering New England's largest selection of masonry, hardscape and landscape supplies."

View this week's photos

Bocce product of the week
Recreation Bocce Set - International Specs...

Michael Grasser ( is now retailing recreation bocce sets that closely approximate international standards of size and weight. International specs are 107 mm X 920 g. These recreation sets are 107mm X 940grams.

According to Grasser, these recreation sets imported from Italy (Martel) are "Closest to international size and weight available anywhere." They are intended to fill a need for quality bocce without the $200 to $300 price tag of Martel's international spec balls.

Traditional 4 red and 4 green bocce with pallino - comes in a box with handle on the lid - no carry bag. Retails for $125 plus shipping.

View cool items with the Joy of Bocce logo...

Non bocce product of the week
{Hey, bocce's great, but I'm always on the look-out for all kinds of good products for my readers}

Check out a variety of garden benches and other outdoor benches that might just be what you need to enhance the comfort of the players on your bocce court...

Shop at

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.


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.


July 28, 2007 – California - San Rafael. Marin Bocce Federation. OPEN, 2 women players. Contact Diana Pellegrini @ 415-485-5583.


July 28, 2007 – California - Fairfield. Fairfield Bocce Federation. OPEN, 4 players. John Magnetti Memorial Tournament. Contact Richard Costales @ 707-425-7167.


July 28, 2007 - Michigan State Championships. Three person teams. Open rules, back wall dead. $150.00 entry fee per team. $50.00 additional for substitutes. One sub allowed per team. Prize money and trophies. Contact Mike Grasser @ or 248-505 4744.


August 4, 2007 – California - Sacramento. East Portal Bocce Club. OPEN, 4 players. Western Sector Open Championships. Contact Vernon Cooper @ 916-961-2404.


August 9, 2007 - Michigan - Orion. Michigan Senior Olympics (MSO). 2-person team event will take place at Palazzo di Bocce and includes breakfast and lunch (spectators may register for meals only).

Registration deadline: July 6th, 2007. Contact MSO: 1-800-400-8161 or .


August 11, 2007 – California - Stockton. Italian Athletic Club. OPEN, 2 women and 2 men players per team. Contact Ron Jacobs @ 209-957-1223.


August 18, 2007 – California - South San Francisco. Italian American Citizen’s Club. OPEN, 4 women players. Contact Elda Mazzanti @ 650-588-4924.


August 19, 2007 - Oregon - Festa Italiana Portland. Cedarville Park, 3800 W. Powell Loop, Gresham. 4-player teams, double elimination, $100 entry includes AM coffee & donuts, spaghetti lunch & beer. Contact Larry Cereghino @ 10006 S.E. 40th, Milwaukie, OR 97222.


August 25, 2007 – California - Sacramento. East Portal Bocce Club. OPEN, 2 players. Contact Vernon Cooper @ 916-961-2404.


August 25, 2007 – California - San Francisco. Aquatic Park Bocce Club. Juanito Cuneo Memorial Tournament. VOLO, 2 Players. Contact Marco Cuneo @ 415-713-5939.


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: . Contact = Jay DeCianno @


September 16, 2007 (rain date Sept. 23rd) - Colorado - Fort Collins - 3rd Annual "Bocce for Meals" Tournament; benefit for Fort Collins Meals on Wheels. Pre-registration required. Call 970-484-6325 or email 4 member teams; $120 registration - 3 games guaranteed.


October 7, 2007 - New Hampshire - Derry. Third Annual
Martignetti Family Charity Bocce Tournament. The SportsZone, 7 A Street. Proceeds benefit McLean Hospital Geriatric Psychiatry Program for Alzheimer’s Research. Contact Sandro Martignetti @ 781-983-1472 or visit jttp://


November 2, 2007 - California - Santa Paula. John Ratzenberger's Bocce In The Orchard celebrity tourney fund-raiser benefitting the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Clara Valley and The Education for Children with Diabetes Foundation. View for more info.

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

Merchandise still available at

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.
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