The Joy of Bocce Weekly
In This Issue: Vol. VII, Issue 19 - May 12, 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 #19 - May 12, 2008
Publisher: Mario Pagnoni Copyright 2008
76 Emsley Terrace, Methuen, MA 01844 (vm 800-211-1202 ext 4949)

Greetings Bocce Friends,

Finally, the Massachusetts Senior Games are over and my schedule cuts back to a more reasonable 40 hours per week. Who says retirement is easy?

The Games went well and our fundraising effort was a success thanks to so many who "stepped up" to lend a hand. Heartfelt thanks to all who contributed.

We need to keep working to get bocce recognized as a National Senior Games event. We'll have time to make it happen in 2011. Next year (2009) the nationals will be held in San Francisco, California. The following year (2010) will be a qualifying year for 2011 which will be held in Houston, Texas.

Check coming issues of this ezine to see how you can help get our sport to the Senior Olympics in 2011. It will take a good deal of effort from a lot of us, but we can do it. Stay tuned.

Stay close,
Mario Pagnoni (The Bocce Guy)

Check out Port Charlotte Beach, FL...

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

Henry Senatore sends a link to view more Ansley paintings brought to our attention last week by Charles Apuan.

"Check out this site with a series of Ansley's beautiful and amusing bocce paintings."

{If you missed the photos of Charles Apuan's beautiful home bocce court last week, they are posted here:


Bocce Guy (yours truly) headed to Jersey...

I've decided to take a drive to NJ to photograph and write a piece about the NJ Invitational run by Frank Valanzola. I'll even do a book signing while at the tourney. If you are going to be there, please come by and say hello.

The event sounds like an excellent one with proceeds benefiting NJ charities and Operation Shoebox which sends "care packages" to our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

If you are located anywhere on my route from Massachusetts to NJ via Rtes 91S and 95S (through CT, NY, NJ) I wouldn't mind "hooking up" to view and photograph your bocce venue.

REPLY if this is a possibility. I'll be driving out Friday morning, May 16th and will spend the next day, Saturday, May 17 at the NJ bocce venue (Colonial Park - Somerset County).


Shooting vs. Lagging

Last week's discussion of shooting vs. lagging brought many responses from around the USA. Here are a sampling of them...

Luca Fontana writes...

"Thank you for providing such great forum for all of us bocce players. Today, while reading your latest weekly letter, I came across the 'lagging vs. shooting' dilemma. How sad that we are still debating and belaboring this issue. This is why most people still consider bocce a game and not a sport and picture the stereotypical bocce player as a grandfatherly, pudgy Italian gentleman with a ball in one hand and the perfunctory glass of red wine in the other.

Shooting is an essential component of bocce.

To all the complainers out there, I respectfully suggest they learn this important skill. Don't discredit the shooters, become one! You will find it very challenging and extremely rewarding.

Let's promote bocce as a sport with the potential to become an Olympic discipline instead of relegating it to the ranks of Bunko and Gin Rummy. And yes, I looove to shoot!"

{Bravo! Well said. Don't ya' just love a savvy and articulate bocce player!}

Rock Gunnoe from Tucson, AZ chimes in...

"We play every Sunday on grass courts set up with rope at the local park, usually 4 but sometimes 5 courts and 20+ players. We are all friends, and try to bring someone new every weekend as the quote said - 'build it and they will come with beverages'.

{I love this idea - try to bring someone new every weekend!}

So, to the skill point - in my opinion, most people naturally think lagging shows more skill, and when a team has played their ball with a lag, people also tend to be possessive of 'their' field position. I do shoot, as do most other players with us, and use the following techniques to help new friends overcome these perceptions and to build enthusiasm for all bocce skills.

First few frames I lag as well as I can, a few pallino kisses on the first throw-out can usually establish that I can. This is a good time to demonstrate the rules of the game and scoring to newbies, or if they have played elsewhere, a chance to agree on them. Then, when ready for the rest of my game, I have to shoot only the pallino, usually out-of-bounds, without touching the other team's balls. Call it before you shoot! Perhaps people think if you are accurate enough to hit the little ball, aiming for the larger bocce is fair game too.

In our games, good throws - both shooting and lagging - are congratulated heartily by all which is just good sportsmanship. We have had a few trash-talk players that either left the group or learned to pepper their enthusiasm with more positive language as well. The cheerful young Australian is an absolute dynamo with infectious court chatter, enjoyed immensely by all because of his attitude, but the slang he is using could mean almost anything.

I'm entered in only my second tournament this weekend (32 teams sponsored by Draft Magazine and a brewery - outrageous costumes and strong livers required), so if our game play can rattle the opponents enough to cry 'Try a skill shot next time', we might have succeeded with the 'inner game of bocce'.

I confess, I like shooting so much I bought a set of metal Easton bocce balls that ring 'CHING-TING!' when they hit for use when playing other like-minded shooters. A point may be awarded by consensus for the most musical shot in a frame...

All said, shooting becomes a lower percentage shot the farther away it is, so to win against a one-skill shooter I think you spot the pallino deep in the court, or shoot the pallino yourself to 'walk' it deeper and behind an already played blocking ball. A shooter player won't be able to resist the temptation to risk a long shot on his last throw. You can bait a shooter into revealing their accurate distance and then play the pallino just beyond that. As you said, if you have both skills, you make a better player, and if you are a shooter playing me you develop accuracy at a greater distance to win. Some players on our regular weekends can balance these skills more consistently than I do, and one fellow can land one in the air on his target ball nearly every time - he calls it 'spocking'. To be fair, he only spocks on a court that is playing with one of his ball sets, in case of breakage."

{I used to hear the term "spock" around the Connecticut and NY area - haven't heard it much lately. I believe it's from the Italian "spaccare" - to break.

An interesting thing about shooting the pallino on grass courts is that we usually play with larger pallinos or even a baseball or field hockey ball that won't be obscured by the lawn. Those make for easier targets than smaller object balls (the international one is 40 mm - tiny compared to a 70 mm field hockey ball).

Also, when you play with a good shooter, some strategies might be to 1) get a ball in front of the pallino (decreasing the shooter's chance at getting a good "look" at it) in case s/he's thinking of driving it to the back or 2) roll a ball passed the target that might dissuade the opponent from shooting the pallino back there where you already have a ball or 3) when you get control of the pallino, play it as far down court as possible making it a more distant, lower percentage hit - this is a less effective strategy on short courts - 60 footers. Your best bet is to play against that good shooter on the longest court you can find. Better still - play on international courts with international rules - almost 90 feet long and the shooter has to call his shot or deal with the "rule of advantage."}

Ken Driscoll offers...

"Like any game, skill is doing what it takes to win. If a player can win by simply rolling the ball closer to the pin, then obviously that is the play he or she would use, but there are times when you might need to get creative, and knock an opponent's ball away. Basically, the player with skill will win. This isn't a game of chance, and skill in Bocce is knowing how to do what it takes to win, whether it be shooting, or lagging.

Anyone that would call a player wrong for playing a game within the rules of that game is unsportsmanlike. If we are talking/writing of which is more skillful, I think it takes skill to drop a ball in, rather than a simple roll, but to drop that ball in, in such a way as to knock away another ball is a home-run, a touchdown, and a-hole-in-one all combined. It is the hat trick of bocce."

{Hat Trick of Bocce - I like that!}


David Clark asks...

"Does anyone have any experience using calcium chloride to help bind and keep surface from drying out; particularly with an oyster shell surface?"

{I hear proponents of this technique quite often, but others say it is only a temporay fix. Can any reader chime in with info?}


Tonya Ormando of Walla Walla, WA sends good news...

"I work at an assisted living facility and our residents as of last year are really catching onto Bocce. It is the first activity that has been able to pull so many out of their rooms and outdoors..."

{No surprise here - Bocce sells itself - just introduce them to it and then just try to stop them from getting out there to play.}


Last week's discussion of ridding courts of moss generated some emails...

To recap - I used a formula recommended by John Ross of the USBF. John told me that one year he and some other bocce enthusiasts tried a variety of remedies for moss and the "winner" was 3 cups of bleach to one gallon of water.

Boccemon Tom McNutt sends info on moss eradication and care of oyster shell courts which was the second part of last week's discussion...

"Re: moss - John's recipe of water and bleach has worked well for most of the folks I have advised. A more toxic product - look for a product with a high concentration of 'Triox'. This is awesome for folks with more shade or moisture and this too has worked well in all parts of the country.

An oyster court should be 'fluffed' as often as the owner wants it done. No more and no less. The beauty of a shell court is that it can be manipulated easily to suit the individual differences. Wet or dry - the court will play at completely different speeds. The older a correctly blended shell court gets, the harder it will become. As the court solidifies it also becomes faster. Many owners of courts with blended surfaces of a clay and shell composition have need for a top dressing of finer material at more regular intervals. Some weekly, monthly, or annually. depending on access to oyster flour and their personal feelings on the topic. Additional oyster flour in the amount of one 50# sac per 100 square feet can be an annual amendment but only if the court owner wants the slower play."

Pat Hanssen of Lee Tennis sends this...

"Read the question about moss on courts. Lee Tennis does not recommend using bleach and water on Har-Tru bocce courts. First it only burns the moss and doesn't actually kill it. Second, it is against the law. We recently had customers in Amelia Island cited by the EPA for using bleach on Har-Tru tennis courts.

The best solution is cultural, or light scraping just prior to and after play using a rake or lute/scarifier. This will prevent anything from taking hold and takes less than 5 minutes. It also helps level the court surface out. There are also some innocuous topical applications being used that are reportedly effective. Try combining 3 oz of Ultra Dawn liquid dishwashing detergent with 1 gallon of water and saturating the moss (preferably not right before a rain!). It will turn brown and dry up in about a week and then should be scraped off and removed before it becomes food for the next crop of moss. Baking soda and water is a secret that golf course superintendents use. Not sure of the dilution rate here though.
Hope that helps and keep up the great work!"

{Yikes! Illegal...I had this image of being dragged off my bocce court in handcuffs with neighbors thinking "I knew that Bocce Guy was into controlled substances!"}


Blast from the past...

Volume #1, Issue #14 - April 8, 2002

Bocce quote of the week

The bocce quote of the week comes from Carla Apruzzese of the United Kingdom. Carla spent some time in South Africa where her husband Enzo played a lot of bocce for the Italian Club in Johannesburg. Carla claims that there are lots of Italians in South Africa and many non-Italians are playing bocce as well. Since leaving South Africa, Enzo has rarely played the game he loves so much. Carla's very telling quote - "I think he gets withdrawal symptoms sometimes because he misses Bocce so much."

{Do you have a bocce quote? Please hit REPLY and share it with our readers}


Here's a pdf file to download for registration for the July 26 event in Syracuse, NY - the 5th annual Spaulding Support Services Bocce Tournament @ Bishop Ludden High School.

You can scroll down to Tournament Update for more info, or download this brochure...




Sweetheart Inn Summer League (Schedule Change)

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

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


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.

Protecting courts from the elements...

Photos of the week
This week's photos come courtesy of Pete Chimento. They highlight his lovely home court in Millstone Twp, NJ.

Says Pete..."I am a big fan of your newsletter, really enjoy the articles and helpful hints. My neighbors, here in New Jersey, have formed a fledgling league of about 25 guys. We play a money league every other Thursday night during the summer.

I thought I would enclose some pictures of my court. It is a 12x60 court with synthetic turf. The scoreboard and Bocce rack I built myself. The two metal-halide light fixtures are supported by 16 foot 4x4 posts. This idea I credit to Carmine D'agostino, whose website I found through your newsletter."

Carmine D'Agostino's site:

View this week's photos

Bocce product of the week

Bocce Court Maintenance Tools

I’ve seen all kinds of home-made court maintenance brushes and scrapers. Two things have always struck me about them. 1 – they look like they are home-made and 2 – they tend to be HEAVY.

7' Drag Brush

Manufactured by Lee Tennis (makers of the Har-Tru surface material), this court maintenance tool created for tennis courts works exceptionally well for bocce courts. The 7-foot drag brush is light-weight and, even if you have a 13- or 14-foot wide court, you can smooth it over with just two passes. This is quick enough to do between games without keeping players waiting very long.

Bristles are 4 ½ inches of synthetic fibers and the strong but light-weight frame is aluminum. Retails for $169.95 plus shipping.


This strangely named 30” wide device is actually two implements in one. It is an all-aluminum combination tool for scarifying, leveling, and removing loose court material.

Strong and sturdy, the tool is light enough to handle with ease and is excellent for spreading new material during top-dressing. The concave shape of the 30” wide blade allows the tool to “float” along the surface without digging in. Use the serrated edge to scrape material from high spots, then flip the tool over to rake and smooth that spot and drag the loose material to fill in a lower point. Retails for $63.95 plus shipping.

Besides a heavy roller, the lute/scarifier and 7-foot drag brush should be all the maintenance tools a bocce court owner needs.

Click to go to merchandise order...then scroll to bottom of page.

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}

Shop at

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.


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 22, 2008 - Michigan - Palazzo Di Bocce and the Detroit Lions Tony Filippis Memorial Bocce Tournament
Proceeds to Detroit Lions Charities including, in part, the Athletes with Disabilities Hall of Fame.


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


October 18, 2008 – California - South San Francisco. Italian American Citizen’s Club, VOLO, doubles. Contact Alvaro Bettucchi @ 650-871-9278.


October 25, 2008 – California - Los Gatos. Campo di Bocce, “Big Ben Tournament”. RAFFA, doubles. Contact Ben Musolf @ 408-857-0074.


November 1, 2008 – California - Sacramento. East Portal Bocce Club. OPEN, 4 players. Contact Vernon Cooper @ 916-961-2404.

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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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