The Joy of Bocce Weekly
In This Issue: Vol. VII, Issue 16 - April 21, 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 #16 - April 21, 2008
Publisher: Mario Pagnoni Copyright 2008
76 Emsley Terrace, Methuen, MA 01844 (vm 800-211-1202 ext 4949)

Hello bocce friends,

This is a kind of abbreviated issue (e.g. - photos of the week held over from last week) as I had a particularly busy week. First, there was a surprise party for my wife who stepped down after 25 years running a support group for day care providers. Surprisingly, we pulled off the surprise - most of them never really are a surprise to the honoree.

Next, I had meetings with investors who want to build a bocce facility in New England. Then I had to organize our senior basketball league's break-up party which included a March Madness Bocce Tourney (with Italian cuisine). And finally, I'm still super focused on the bocce segment of the Mass. Senior Games that my group will host on May 10th. See details below.

So, I thought that launching an ezine with at least some new content would be better than no ezine at all. I know how you bocce nuts need your weekly "fix."

Stay close,
Mario Pagnoni (The Bocce Guy)

Check out bocce in Glendale, Arizona...

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

Peter Gravallese (Massachusetts) sends a tidbit - file this under Bocce Pasta...

"Built my court here in Lynnfield a few years ago. Got some of my neighbors hooked on the game along with some of their kids. One of the kids (Matt) went to school at George Washington in DC, graduated and currently resides there.

He joined a league there in the summer of 2007 that had 80 teams (see their website; ).

{Note: Great site - lots of photos!}

The name of his team is the Rigatoni’s. His father Steve and I have challenged them to a match and we’re calling ourselves Team Mostaccioli.

We are going to DC with our wives to visit this weekend and we're going to play the Rigatoni’s. There has been a lot of friendly trash talking back and forth so I sent Matt a message in the mail last week that I think you will enjoy. See the attached photo.

Will write you next week with the results of the match."

{Rigatoni vs. Mostaccioli - bocce competition - travel with friends - friendly trash talking - bragging rights - that's what I'm talking about!}


I love the first paragraph of a recent communication sent by Campo di Bocce's Ben Musolf...

"Well, this is a big year with a lot of great potential. Looking back over the short 10 years I have been involved with Bocce, a lot sure has changed. We now compete on the world level without embarrassing ourselves, there is a nationally recognized e-zine devoted only to Bocce and there are 4 world class Bocce venues in the United States with more to come."

{Well said, Ben. Amen.}


Punta Gorda, Florida's George Farruggio asks...

"When a team is checking the point of a ball and accidentally moves the point ball which is their own ball do you call the frame dead or do you put it back where you hope is was but the other team is complaining foul?

I think you call the frame dead and start over again as before."

{Well, you're talking about a match where your players do their own officiating - something that occurs more frequently in bocce than in other sports.

My feeling is that the participants would have to come to some kind of "gentleman's agreement" if possible. That agreement might be to put the ball back or to kill the frame. In informal play hereabouts, we would put the ball back if we could agree on it's previous position. The main thing to consider is that no one gains an advantage. Both teams need to have an equal chance to win.

Readers - how do you handle this in your area? Please REPLY.}



Last chance to support my non-profit group's ( ) hosting of 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:


Wally Starr asks an interesting question...

"Where can I get information on the amount of light required for night playing of Bocce. Is there a foot-candle amount that is standard?"

{There is no standard that I know of. First off, American outdoor bocce courts are anywhere from 40 feet to 90 feet long and 8 to 15 feet wide. People build courts that fit in their backyards and their pocketbooks, so a standard lighting amount would be impossible (unless it could be calculated by X amount of light per square foot of space to be illuminated). Any lighting engineers reading this? Can you illuminate us? Pun intended.

I have two friends here in Massachusetts who have beautifully lighted courts. Both courts are great for night play, but they are vastly different in terms of lighting. One is 84' by 14' and lights up like Fenway Park. The other is 72' by 12' with subdued lighting and a more romantic ambiance. I love playing on both courts and both are more than adequate for night play.

Readers - got any info to share on night play? Please REPLY.}


Robert Agnelly (New Orleans) writes...

"The United States Bocce Federation has open rules on their web site which we use particularly in tournament play. When I hear about house rules that are so far out in left field such as playing with only one ball, I want to drive off the freeway. Our club sent three teams to Monroe, Louisiana to play in a tournament. The Bocce Club of New Orleans took first and second place. Our problem was that their rules were very different than the USBF Open Rules we play by throughout the country. It was a learning process that gives the local teams an even greater advantage than they normally have being the home teams.

{Looks like your three teams took two of the top three spots, so the home court advantage wasn't overwhelming.}

If possible, I would like to see your publication promote the USBF open rules for use throughout the country."

{Yes, I agree. It is time for The Joy of Bocce Weekly to promote the USBF open rules. The open rules that I wrote about in The Joy of Bocce 2nd Edition and called North American Open Rules are virtually identical to the USBF version. I'll most likely publish the USBF version in the next edition of the book.}

I asked Robert what he meant when he alluded to playing with only one ball and he answered...

"When we are not playing a tournament at our Club, we usually play 3 to 4 members per team. We always play two balls per person, and we walk the court and play both ends. It takes a little longer, but we get more exercise that way and drink less. The only house rule we have that differs from the USBF rules is: Any ball with the exception of the pallino that touches the back board during play is out. It adds a little more skill to the game."

{Robert is talking about the fact that some people play four to a team with each player rolling just one ball. If memory serves, the World Series of Bocce in Rome, NY is run this way. I'm not crazy about it, because you don't get to correct your errors by adjusting with a second roll. A big part of bocce and other sports is making adjustments during the game. I remember a few Boston Celtic games where Larry Bird missed just about every shot in the first half and then came back after halftime to make just about every one in the second half. The best athletes adjust.

On the other hand, I wouldn't consider that playing one ball each is a rule difference. That's a style of play, just like a tournament official deciding to run his event as a singles, doubles, or triples tourney.

But playing balls that hit the backboard live or dead - that's a rule difference.}

"Any ball with the exception of the pallino that touches the back board during play is out. It adds a little more skill to the game."

{Do readers agree that this adds a little more skill to the game? Please REPLY.}


Blast from the past...

Volume #1, Issue #11 March 18, 2002

Our bocce quote this week comes from a high school player. Many of us have spent a good deal of time and effort trying to get bocce into the schools. Indeed, I get a lot of orders for my book from physical education teachers who want something that can keep eight to ten kids engaged (often students who might not otherwise be eager to take part in some of the more traditional sports).

When I was still teaching at Methuen High School (Northeastern Massachusetts) and coaching varsity baseball, I started an intramural bocce club. We played on the soccer field at the school grounds, and on the stone dust court in my back yard. A couple from that original group (now college graduates) still play with us "old bucks". A few years back someone sent me a newspaper article from Western Massachusetts describing a club bocce team from Minnechaug Regional High School in Wilbraham. The bocce club advisor joked that his players were "undisputed state champs" because no one else in the Commonwealth was playing.

Needless to say, our high schoolers fired off a cryptic letter declaring that we were the "Eastern Mass. champs" and, of course, demanding a match - winner take all.

Len Hickey, a successful businessman from Wilbraham who has a gorgeous bocce court on his company grounds, offered to host the event. We took the two-hour trip to Western Mass., won the two matches out of three event, and were even treated to dinner by Mr. Hickey. When our kids got back to Methuen High's fieldhouse, they lobbied for a State Championship Bocce Banner, but so far, it hasn't appeared.

The quote of the week comes from Eric Brochu, who at the time was a Massachusetts bocce player from Middleboro High School. Down by a lopsided score of 10 to 2, Eric took a deep breath, contemplated the daunting task of engineering an improbable comeback, and declared confidently "I have not yet begun to bocce!"


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:


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 shots. In addition, I’m asking readers to submit new pics – 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.

Running a charity event...

Photos of the week
***** Held Over Second Week *****

This week's pictures are actually a new page of the Joy of Bocce web site. I've created a page, with pictures, called Bocce Balls. The page serves a couple purposes.

First, I've attempted to write a kind of primer on bocce balls that will help newcomers to the game make an informed decision when purchasing their first bocce set.

Next, it should help my web site come up more often via search engines because many people "Google" the terms "Bocce Balls" or "Bocceballs." There is so much bocce misinformation on the web. This small change to my site might steer searchers to my site, which has accurate and current info. Hey, no one can say I don't try!

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 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 11, 2008 – California - Sutter Creek. Italian Benevolent Society. OPEN, 4 players including at least 1 woman. Contact Rick Wagstaff @ 209-296-6151.


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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