The Joy of Bocce Weekly
In This Issue: Vol. VII, Issue 14 - April 7, 2008 
•   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 7, Issue #14 - April 7, 2008
Publisher: Mario Pagnoni Copyright 2008
76 Emsley Terrace, Methuen, MA 01844 (vm 800-211-1202 ext 4949)

Greetings bocce faithful,

I got good news and bad news from my orthopedist last week. No knee surgery (that was the good news) - no more hoops (that was the bad news - I might even heed the doc's advice this time).

Next I'm focused on the bocce segment of the Mass. Senior Games that we'll host on May 10th. Se details below...the event doubles as a fund-raiser for the Senior Games and my non-profit group in the name of my late friend Ken Waldie who was a victim of 9-11. Thanks to all who have made a contribution. It is greatly appreciated and the funds will be put to good use...promoting senior sports (including bocce) to those wishing to pursue a healthy lifestyle into their senior years.

Stay close,
Mario Pagnoni (The Bocce Guy)

Check out the Little Italy Bocce Rollers Assoc. of Baltimore, MD...

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

An interesting observation and photo (right) from Boccemon Tom McNutt.

"Check out this court feature. Many people play that the back wall is dead. On an 80' court it is a long walk down and back to remove a ball from play that has hit the back wall. No need to walk as the long shot is off the court and sitting in the trough. If the pallina gets knocked out, one plays to the back-center of the trough. It can be a fun touch for a private court. There is an increased tripping potential, so we discourage this design for public or municipal courts.

Not sure where this style originated but we see a few now and then around the Northwest. It is a great feature if you hate the walk to remove dead balls but truly an ankle turner for the wrong player."

{Hey, most of us could use a little exercise walking to the other end once in a while. Dr. Cordano always laments the fact that America is the only place that plays a version of bocce where half the team is stationed at each end - no walking back and forth - no exercise.

I don't think that playing with a trough or ditch at the ends is very common, but I know some people employ this and really like it. Isn't that the point anyway...playing a game that brings you enjoyment?

I played with the ditch set-up in Pennsylvania and had a great experience. The photos are here: - It was a couple years ago when I was in Pittsburgh with my Ken Waldie Senior Softball team playing in the Senior Olympics. (We took home a bronze medal against very strong competition - thank you very much.)

One problem is that people tend to think that the way they learned to play bocce is THE right way to play. If they're obstinate about it, they won't get to experience other styles of play that might be equally enjoyable.

It points out an interesting trade-off in the Open Rules arena. On one hand it's fascinating to play variations of the game when we travel to other areas where the game has some unusual wrinkles.

On the other hand, it would be great for tournament play if everyone knew what to expect. For example, if we enter a tourney that is sanctioned by the United States Bocce Federation, we'll all know what rules we'll play by.

International Rules have no such trade-off problems. The rules are standardized and played the same all over the world. Amen.


NY Times at it again!

I was interviewed the other day by freelance writer Sarah Lynch who is doing yet another bocce piece for the New York Times. This one will be on-line in their Connecticut region publication. I hope to post a link to it once it is available.

The story, among other things, addresses the issue of the age of bocce players, suggesting that the average age is getting lower.

A Connecticut high school's Italian club apparently raised enough money to build a court and the kids are loving bocce. A nearby league in Stanford, CT is also experiencing a resurgence in bocce with the age of participants noticeably lower than in years past.

Reporter Sarah Lynch was very interested in our local summer youth bocce tournament that we hold every July on the grounds of the Nevins Memorial Library. It has grown to 16 teams of four middle school kids (with a few parents and grandparents taking part) and has become one of the library's most eagerly anticipated summer programs. {Pictures coming soon.}


Sounds like Bocce Bob Whitlow got some much deserved recognition for the community service he continues to deliver in Illinois.

Bocce USA caps season In style, Presley proclaims Bob Whitlow Week

By Nathaniel Smith, Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 25, 2008 12:06 PM CDT

"The West Frankfort Bocce USA League wrapped up its season with a flourish last night, holding its 5th Annual Bocce Ball Banquet at the Wit and Wisdom Center. But before the festivities began in earnest, Mayor Marion Presley, who was in attendance, had a little surprise up his sleeve for Bocce USA Director Bob Whitlow."

Click for complete story...


Sweetheart Inn Summer League

Good news for anyone in my neck of the woods. Finally a summer league on multiple outdoor, covered courts.

The Sweetheart Inn, 80 Myrtle St., Methuen is building covered, lighted courts for outdoor night play. There will be a women's league on Wednesday evenings and a men's league on Thursday evenings beginning in June.

Send an email if you want a registration mailed to you. Otherwise, drop by the Sweetheart Inn to pick one up, or keep an eye on this ezine and we will post a flier that you can download.


Guy Tomasello sends a downloadable registration form for the May 3, 2008 St. Augustine, FL bocce tourney.


The New Jersey Bocce Invitational set for May 17 (supporting New Jersey charities) has a pdf file for you to download:



Once again me and my non-profit group ( ) will host the bocce segment of the Mass. Senior Games. This May 10th event doubles as a fund-raiser as it generates funds for the Senior Games as well as for the Ken Waldie Senior Sports Circuit, Inc.

We have struggled to get bocce to the Senior Games at the national level, and have come up empty so far. Our best bet is to keep growing and improving our Massachusetts event in an attempt to make it a model for other states to follow.

You can help.

We are seeking teams, sponsors, and contributors for this event. To enter a team, see the listing below under Tournament Update.

If you are interested in sponsoring, we are offering ads in our program booklet for $1000 (back cover), $500 (full page), $250 (half page), and $100 (quarter page).

We'll post your sponsor info in The Joy of Bocce Weekly with a link back to your web site. REPLY with your interest and I'll get all the details to you.

If you want to make a modest contribution (just because you like the good work we are doing) you can do so via PayPal. Click here:

We'll put your name and a good luck type message in our program book AND YOUR CITY & STATE {this would be an impressive thing to show the "powers that be" at the National Senior Games headquarters. Might give us a little leverage when lobbying for bocce's inclusion in the next Senior Olympics}.

To learn more about my friend and 9-11 victim, Ken Waldie (for whom our non-profit corporation is named) click here:



Guy DeSantis, Jack Bilancia, and Angelo Lotto are in the process of opening an indoor bocce facility in the New York Metropolitan area (located in Yonkers, New York.)

"An indoor bocce club would operate successfully with the minimum of 250 members. Membership fee is pending due to our current pursuit of sponsorship from local merchants and other companies.

This indoor facility would also enable us to host winter tournaments in the New York City area. Currently, there are very few, if any, such tournaments held during the winter months.

If interested in becoming a member of our club or would like more information, please contact us via e-mail at:

{You can also contact Guy DeSantis by telephone @ 914-310-8814. This would be great for bocce on the East Coast.!}


Here's an email that points out one of the problems many of us have when promoting the game via tournaments.

"This will be our first venture into playing other teams so we are certainly looking forward to the event and at the same time a bit apprehensive about playing like the 2 yr old veterans we are!

{Many novices are reluctant to play in tournaments because they think those events are frequented by bocce "pros." This is especially a concern if there are money prizes involved. It is true that big money prizes will draw more and better players than other events.

I find it better to offer apparel to the winning teams. Jackets or sweatshirts proclaiming them "Bocce Tourney Champs" gives them "bragging rights" which are often more sought after than cash. Besides, I like the idea of people walking around the community wearing our group's logo on their clothes.

When my senior sports group plays in a softball or basketball tournament, there is never a cash prize involved. I'm not sure how bocce got into this "play for dough" routine. Don't get me wrong. I like to play for a couple bucks as much as the next guy. But to promote the game to the largest number of people we need to offer low-key, non-cash events that encourage novices and beginners to participate.}


Good news for anyone within driving distance of Sparta, NJ...

The Mohawk House Restaurant is putting in two outdoor bocce courts with a Har-Tru surface. More details to follow. For now, check out the restaurant's web site. Looks like a place I'd definitely like to dine...and roll a game or two.}



Volume #1, Issue #9 March 4, 2002

Bocce quote of the week

A friend of mine, an old-timer I'll call Ed, is not the "brightest bulb on the tree." Exhibit A: Once, he rode with me and a few others as we car-pooled to Seabrook, New Hampshire for a day of wagering at the dog track. As we took the exit off the highway leading to the venue, the road forked. There was a sign with a picture of a greyhound whose nose pointed the way to the race track. "Where are you going?" Ed asked the driver as we veered to the left, as the puppy's muzzle suggested. "Why aren't you following the dog's tail?"

Exhibit B: Playing bocce at my home court, one team made a close point, actually touching the pallino. Now it was Ed's turn to try to beat that point. He rolled his ball deftly, and made a terrific shot - it also rested against the pallino. We told Ed to roll again, because, although he had tied the other team's point, he hadn't beaten it. The rules require that you play until you beat the other guy's point, or you run out of balls in the process. We were examining the situation and trying to wedge a credit card or dollar bill between the balls. There was no doubt about it. It was a "dead heat." Finally, Ed ambled down the court to take a look for himself. He looked from one angle, then took another vantage point. He squinted a bit, scratched his head, and announced..."Sure, they're both touching...but mine is definitely closer!"


Joy of Bocce 3rd Edition - Photos Needed

I’ve decided to do a third edition, re-doing almost all the photographs. I’ve got a great new digital camera and can re-take many of the shorts. In addition, I’m asking readers to submit new shots – at least 300 dpi is the goal. I'm asking you and my friends like court builders David Brewer, Mike Grasser, and Tom McNutt to re-submit photos of their best courts. The new edition will probably not be much different in terms of text (although I may tighten it a bit – friends of mine say to me…”Leave it to you to write a book this thick on bocce”).

I'll need your help with this effort. Please submit high quality (300 dpi) pics (and permission to reprint) of bocce in your neck of the woods. This project will be my main focus for 2008. Please help.

Giardiniera Cup Championship...

Photos of the week
This week's pictures show another wrinkle in the pre-game coin toss ritual.

We're always trying to streamline the coin toss. One way my group has streamlined the process is already on-line here .

In the rare occasions where we do flip a coin, we have the winner select the color of ball AND the pallino, not one or the other. We don't want to wait around for people to make what are really inconsequential decisions. We want action!

The coin toss is mostly a waste of time anyway. You have to locate a coin (half the time no one has one handy), decide who's going to call it, then flip it. Then...when one team wins the toss you have to ask them to choose the color of ball or pallino or whatever way you work it.

The one who wins the toss looks to his teammates...

"What color do you want?"
"I don't know, what color do you want?"

Gimmee a break will ya? Let's get the game going.

Look, the color of ball has no bearing on play, unless you are superstitious. Besides, players often bring their own color balls anyway - not always the traditional red and green. So, the only real choice is who will roll the pallino first to start the game.

Here's another idea submitted by Wayne Farinacci who runs the very successful Cleveland International Challenge Cup of Bocce Tournament.

Wayne gives tourney participants a flipping coin that has a red bocce ball on one side and a green one on the other. So, you call "red" or "green" instead of "heads" or "tails". I would suggest that whoever wins the toss should take the color s/he called AND the pallino...e.g. you call "red" and it comes up red - you get the pallino and you roll red. You call "red" and it comes up "green". You get green and the other guy gets red AND the pallino.

If you don't do it this way you are back to where you were with the regular coin. You call red and win the toss. Are you going to let the winner of the toss take his choice of ball color OR pallino, then give another choice to the other team? If you do, you're back to square one in the coin-tossing game. You make the call!

These photos will be a permanent part of the Joy of Bocce web site under Bocce Tidbits.

View this week's photos

Bocce product of the week
A reader who was considering top dressing his court with either Har-Tru or oyster shell sent this...

"You must get this all the time but here goes….Is there a less expensive top dressing that will perform? I am sure this is a 'get what you pay for' situation but I just did not account for this much cost for the surface material."

Yes, I do get this all the time, and it's partly because you can find plans on-line for "bargain basement" courts that, for the most part, are more trouble than they are worth.

Ya gotta spend some bucks to get quality. You need to look at projects like this as a one-time expense. Do it right the first time and get many years of enjoyment thereafter.

Sure, you might find some oyster shell and flour and slap a court surface together (one reader told me he gets oyster shell at a local feed store). But someone like Boccemon Tom McNutt has spent years developing a proprietary blend that is mixed "just so" for bocce play. See his Rain Country Blend here:

Har-Tru makes a great tennis and bocce surface too. The problem is that it ships from the warehouse in Virginia. If you are on the West Coast, it's gonna cost more to ship than for the cost of the product.

One thing you can do is check with local tennis court builders. They might just have a couple tons of Har-Tru in stock that's left over from a big tennis court job.

Some builders tell me that the way they cut down on the Har-Tru cost is to mix it with a lower cost top dressing. They then say they have a Har-Tru/stone dust or Har-Tru/granite fines mix. We recently posted photos of courts in Hollywood, FL that were 70% clay and 30% Har-Tru ( ).

I've never been the type to cut corners. I'd rather "bite the bullet" and "pony up" for a quality product. If you want a quote on a Har-Tru surface for your bocce court, click the link below and fill in the data on your court dimensions. We'll email a price quote including shipping ASAP.

Get a quote on Har-Tru top dressing for your bocce court...

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}

Here's a "non-bocce" product that has relevance for bocce players too...


One of my bocce posse, noted entertainer/hypnotist Jerry Valley (that's the dashing looking guy in the photo to the right), has collaborated on a golf DVD that might just help your bocce AND golf games. {I can't vouch for his golf, but I know he's an excellent bocce player as well as a first-rate hypnotist and entertainer. Click the photo to view his web site.}

"Bob Toski, of Coconut Creek, Florida, famous golf instructor, Golf Teacher's Hall of Famer, Top PGA Money Winner and TV Broadcaster and Jerry Valley, of Methuen, Massachusetts, world-renowned stage and certified hypnotist have teamed up to produce a unique and dynamic DVD by which the golfer will learn how to apply self-hypnosis.

By combining Bob Toski's teaching expertise with self-hypnosis, golfers, at any level, can improve their golf game consistently and dramatically. This DVD will teach them how to feel calm, relaxed, confident and develop Super Focus. They can also recall their best shots and eliminate doubt, fear, anxiety and have the ability to block unwanted habits and shots.

This is what Bruce Davidson of Canada, a golfer for 40 years with an index between 4 to 7 had to say about our product:

'After 9 straight days of using your DVD and playing 6 rounds of golf, I am both impressed and happy with the program. My ball striking is solid and my approach shots leave me with several birdie opportunities.' "

{This is a 97 minute, professionally produced, high quality DVD that focuses on self-hypnosis to keep the right mental images in your head. The idea is to get yourself into a calm, relaxed, receptive state before listening to and viewing the golf pro's instructions.

Many of the techniques and strategies in the DVD readily transfer to bocce. Visualize successful shots. Learn to Super Focus on your game. Develop "instant amnesia" when you make a poor shot. You'll learn better and play much better when in a calm, relaxed, confident state of mind.

Retails for $39.95 plus shipping. Click below to Buy-Now.}

Tournament update
{chronological order}


Don't let the West Coast players hog all the space!


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.


April 12, 2008 – California - San Francisco - Aquatic Park Bocce Club. VOLO, Men’s U.S. Volo Championships, Progressive Throw and Precision Throw. Contact Benji Tosi @ 415-238-7995.


April 19, 2008 - Washington - Bellingham. 6th annual Bellingham Bay Bocce Tournament - Http://www. . Open rules - 32 four-person teams. Contact Tom @ 360-224-2909 or check the link at to register.


April 19, 2008 – California - Fairfield. Fairfield Bocce Federation. OPEN, 4 women players. Contact Nancy Scocci @ 707-428-4471.


April 24, 2008 - Massachusetts - North Andover. Come on down for a "blind draw" tournament beginning at 7:00 PM. DB's Baseball School - 1630 Osgood St. Building #37. $30 pp fee includes pizza & soft drinks, tourney play and awards. Contact Mario @ 978-686-8679 or


April 26, 2008 – California - South San Francisco. Italian American Citizen’s Club - OPEN, 3 players. Contact Alvaro Bettucchi @ 650-871-9278.


May 3, 2008 – California - San Mateo. Beresford Park. Peninsula Italian American Social Club. OPEN, 4 women players. Contact Rose Viscuso @ 650-349-7732.


May 3, 2008 – California - San Mateo. Peninsula Italian American Social Club. RAFFA, 3 players. Contact Adriano Undorte @ 650-591-3318.


May 3, 2008 - Florida - St. Augustine. "Bocce on the Beach"- Open Rules - $20 per person. Barbeque lunch. First, Second, and Third place cash prizes. Contact Guy Tomasello @ 904-824-7043.


May 10, 2008 – California - Sacramento. East Portal Bocce Club. RAFFA, 3 players. Contact Vernon Cooper @ 916-961-2404.


May, 10, 2008 - Massachusetts - North Andover. Massachusetts Senior Games. 4-player teams may be male, female or co-ed. Players must be at least 50 years of age. Great food, fun, and competition. Contact Mario Pagnoni @ 978-686-8679 or


May 17, 2008 – California - South San Francisco. Italian American Citizen’s Club - Raffa, women's doubles. Contact Contact Alvaro Bettucchi @ 650-871-9278.


May 17, 2008 - New Jersey - 2nd annual NJ Bocce Invitational supporting New Jersey charities. Contact Frank Valanzola @ 908-400-0851 or . View web site at


May 24, 2008 – California - Carmel Valley. Carmel Valley Athletic Club. OPEN, 4 players, 2 women and 2 men. Contact Giovanni Napoli @ 831-521-5092.


May 31, 2008 – California - South San Francisco. Italian American Citizen’s Club, OPEN, 4-players, 2-men & 2-women. Contact Susan Botti @ 650-589-4356.


June 1, 2008 – California - Sutter Creek. Italian Benevolent Society. OPEN, 4 players including at least 1 woman. Contact Rick Wagstaff @ 209-296-6151.


June 7, 2008 – California - Livermore Campo di Bocce. Western Sector Raffa Championships. RAFFA, 3 Players. Contact Teena Marie @ 925-249-9800.


June 7, 2008 - New York - West Albany. Italian benevolent Society, 50 Exchange St. Outdoors under a pavilon with six bocce courts. Men's and Women's divisions. Contact Gloria Pacella @ 518-438-8545 or


June 16 - 17, 2008 – Illinois - Highwood. (Monday - Tuesday). Highwood Bocce Club. United States National Open Championships. OPEN, 4 players. “A” Division and “B” Division. Contact John Ross @ 408-892-2983.


June 18 - 21, 2008 – Illinois - Highwood. Highwood Bocce Club. United States National Punto, Raffa, Volo Championships. RAFFA 4 players, (3 player teams are also acceptable). Match Play (triples, singles, doubles). Women’s Team Division and Men’s Team Division. Contact John Ross @ 408-892-2983.


June 22, 2008 - Ohio - Westerville. Co-ed Youth Bocce Tournament. The Abruzzi Club, 8397 Cleveland Ave NW. Children ages 5 to 16 together with grandparent/parent. Pre-registration required. Deadline June 18. Contact Marilena Cugini @ 740-549-0076 or email or Lisa Solazzo @ 614-890-1945.


June 28, 2008 – California - Antioch. Antioch Bocce Federation. OPEN, 4 women players. Contact Lydia Romo @ 925-754-4890.


July 4, 2008 – California - Martinez. Martinez Bocce Federation. OPEN, 2 players. Contact Gene Rittburg @ 925-370-0633.


July 12, 2008 - California, San Rafael. Marin Bocce Federation - Open - Men's Doubles. Contact Diana Pellegrini @ 415-485-5583


July 18 - 20, 2008 - New York - Rome. 35th annual World Series of Bocce. 4 person teams - open division and ladies' division. Contact Al Orbinati Jr. at or download application at .


July 19, 2008 – California - Fairfield. Fairfield Bocce Federation. John Magnetti Memorial Tournament. OPEN, 4 players. Contact Nancy Scocci @ 707-428-4471.


July 26, 2008 – California - Martinez. Martinez Bocce Federation. Nor – Cal Championships, OPEN, 4 players. Contact Donna Allen @ 925-229-2644.


July 26, 2008 - New York - Syracuse. 5th annual Spaulding Support Services Bocce Tournament. Bishop Ludden High School. Proceeds benefit the not-for-profit Human Service agency providing services to persons with developmental disabilities. More info: Kshedd@spaulding


August 2, 2008 – California - Sacramento. East Portal Bocce Club. Western Sector Open Championships. OPEN, 4 players. Contact Vernon Cooper @ 916-961-2404.


August, 2008 - Michigan - Coloma. Giardiniera Cup Championship. Round robin seeding followed by double elimination for the top 8 teams. Great food & comaraderie. Contact Paul Cozzi @


August 9, 2008 - California, San Rafael - Marin Bocce Federation - Open - Women's Doubles. Contact Diana Pellegrini @ 415-485-5583.


August 16, 2008 – California - Antioch. Antioch Bocce Federation. OPEN, 4 players, 2 women and 2 men. Contact Manny Romo @ 925-754-4890.


August 22 - 24, 2008 - Ohio - Mayfield Heights. Marshall Ford Cleveland International Challenge Cup of Bocce. Mayfield Heights City Park. Sponsored by Marshall Ford, Club Molisani, and City of Mayfield Heights. Wayne Farinacci, Tournament Director (initiated this tournament in 1984). Open and Women's divisions, 4 person teams. Entry Fee $150 per team. Prize money to be determined. Contact Wayne @ 216-509-4353 or


August 22 - 24, 2008 - Ohio - Wickliffe. WICKLIFFE ITALIAN-AMERICAN CLUB. 25th annual CLEVELAND CHALLENGE CUP OF BOCCE sponsored by Pat O'Brien Chevrolet. $5000 first prize, $15,000 in total prize money. Contact Gino Latessa @ 216-789-6393. Applications and info online @


August 23, 2008 – California - Los Gatos. Shady Oak Cellars “Little Johnny Tournament”. RAFFA, doubles, 1 woman and 1 man. Contact John Ross @ 408-354-0625.


August 30, 2008 – California - Stockton. Italian Athletic Club. RAFFA, 3 players including at least 1 woman. Contact Romano Lotti @ 209-951-8256.


September 6, 2008 - Washington - Seattle. 3rd Annual Woodland Park Bocce Classic. Open play 4-person teams on grass courts (putting surface quality). Registration fee $15 per player includes barbecue. For registration form, send e-mail to or call Mark Charonis @ 206-524-1416.


September 13, 2008 – California - South San Francisco. 23rd Annual Italian American Games. Italian American Citizen’s Club - RAFFA, 3 players. Contact Alvaro Bettucchi @ 650-871-9278.


September 20, 2008 – California - Los Gatos. Los Gatos Bocce Club Tournament, RAFFA, 3 players. Contact Bill Schlaefer @ 408-379-9409.


September 21, 2008 – California - San Mateo. Beresford Park. Peninsula Italian American Social Club. OPEN, 4 players including at least 1 woman player. Contact Adriano Undorte @ 650-591-3318.


Sept 27, 2008 - California, San Rafael - Marin Bocce Federation - Open - 4 players. Contact Diana Pellegrini @ 415-485-5583.


October 4, 2008 – California - South San Francisco. Italian American Citizen’s Club - OPEN, 4 women players. Contact Elda Mazzanti @ 650-588-4924.


October 17 -19, 2008 - Arizona - Phoenix. 3rd Annual International Bocce Tournament. Arizona American Italian Club. Four-person teams. Contact Pasquale and Vince D'Aliesio via

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