The Joy of Bocce Weekly
In This Issue: Vol. VII, Issue 20 - May 19, 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 #20 - May 19, 2008
Publisher: Mario Pagnoni Copyright 2008
76 Emsley Terrace, Methuen, MA 01844 (vm 800-211-1202 ext 4949)

Hello again Bocce Friends,

I'm just a tad late getting this issue out as I just got back from NJ where I helped out with the excellent New Jersey Invitational charity bocce tournament run by Frank Valanzola (some details below - photos to follow in an upcoming issue).

I made a couple side trips en route to meet some bocce aficionados and to photograph a few other bocce venues (stay tuned for those photos).

Stay close and up front,
Mario Pagnoni (The Bocce Guy)

Bocce in the North Georgia mountains...

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

Frank Ansley responded to our email inquiries about his paintings...

"Bocce guy - My name is Frank Ansley and I am a painter of bocce. I just discovered, via an e-mail from Henry Senatore and another from Peter Rabito (American Bocce) that one of my pictures is in a recent e-zine of yours thanks to Henry Senatore. He kindly mentions a link to NapaValleyArtists to see more. Another and better link would be my
website .

I have sent Peter and Henry jpegs of paintings and prints that are available and I could do this for anyone else interested. I play in the St. Helena Bocce League in the Napa Valley. We have a very active league and many fine players. They have given me inspiration for many paintings. Here is one I did of the former Concord Bocce Club, thanks to a foto supplied by a fellow bocce player of his uncle and other players from many years ago.

Looking foreward to my weekly e-zine.

Frank Ansley"



{NJ Invitational raises funds for NJ charities including Operation Shoebox, which sends "care packages" to soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.}

My trip to New Jersey was a great success and lots of fun. Besides helping out at the NJ Invitational bocce tourney and getting a great photo with Robert De Nero and Joe Pesci, I was able to "hook up" with several other bocce friends and photograph a couple other bocce venues (stay tuned for photos).

There was good news and bad news about the photo with De Nero and Pesci. The good news was that I had one of them on each side of me with their arms around me like we were old buddies. The bad news was that they were celebrity impersonators.

Organizer Frank Valanzola (who did yeoman's work to pull off this successful event) sends this...

"Through the hard work of OPSHBX volunteers and event attendees we were able to prepare over 750 care-packages and raise over $60,000.

We anticipate doing a ceremonial check presentation of $50,000 to the Cancer Institute of New Jersey with Dr. Bertino and Dr. Drachtman with Nick Valvano of the Jimmy V Foundation and UNICO president, Joe Agresti."


Small Tourney Formats

Some ideas on running tournaments with small fields (small # of teams)

A recent event had a 13-team field and 8 courts available for play. The director chose a round robin format – a good choice as it gives each team the opportunity to play several games (at least three rather than the minimum of two as in a double elimination format).

The director created two pools of 4 teams and one of 5 teams. In pool play you compete against each of the other teams in your pool. When that is completed, you move to the elimination round. Depending on how many courts you have at your disposal and what your time constraints are, you can seed all of the teams (win-loss record is the first criterion, but other things like point differential might be considered also) and enter all or some of them in the elimination round.

In this event, pool play games went to 8 points. The only reason to play to low scores is if you have time constraints. With 13 teams and 8 courts I would have played games to 12 – what’s the rush? Every team will be playing at every time slot. There's no one waiting around to play.

After pool play, they brought 7 teams to the elimination round and gave one of them a bye. {A team needed X amount of wins to make it to the next round.} This makes no sense to me. Carry 8 teams to the elimination round, using some criteria like point differential, most points scored, fewest points allowed, etc. to pick up that 8th team to even out the brackets.

In the elimination round, play games to 12. You may even want to play to 15 or 16 in the finals.

Here’s how we ran an 8-team event recently that was very efficient and great fun for all:

I knew most of the teams and placed 4 teams in each of two pools. Four teams were pretty strong, two were average, and two were a little weaker than the others.

Creating a Blue Pool and a Red Pool, I placed two strong teams, one average team, and one weaker team in each pool.

In pool play on 4 courts, all teams were active at any given time frame. We played to nine points or 30 minutes, whichever came first. This allowed us to stay on schedule for lunch so that all could dine at the same time.

After Pool Play each of the four teams in each pool are seeded one to four based on win-loss record and point differential.

All 8 teams advanced to the elimination round.

In the single elimination round, games go to 12 points with no time limit. The 1 seed Blue plays the 4 seed Red. The 2 seed Blue plays the 3 seed Red. Three seed Blue plays the 2 seed Red and the 4 seed Blue plays the 1 seed Red (see the pattern?).

Winners advance, losers are sent packing. Four teams are eliminated, but this format has allowed the eliminated teams to play 4 games against 4 different opponents.

The four teams remaining get another game and the two winners get a 6th and final match. As an option, you can have the losers of those 5th games play a consolation match for third place. This doesn’t take any more time as it can be played simultaneously with the finals.

............... Blue Pool...................Red Pool
.............. court 1...... court 2...... court 3...... court 4
9:15......... 1 vs 2....... 3 vs 4....... 1 vs 2....... 3 vs 4
9:50......... 2 vs 4....... 1 vs 3....... 2 vs 4....... 1 vs 3
10:25....... 1 vs 4....... 2 vs 3....... 1 vs 4....... 2 vs 3
11:00....... A) 1 Blue vs 4 Red..... B) 2 Blue vs. 3 Red C) 1 Red vs 4 Blue..... D) 2 Red vs. 3 Blue
11:45....... LUNCH - 4 teams eliminated

12:30....... winner A vs winner D... winner B vs. winner C
1:15......... Gold Medal Game....... Bronze Medal Game

{Do you have suggestions for interesting formats for tourney play? Please REPLY and share with our readers.}


Anyone short a player for the Nationals in Highwood, IL this June? Peter Rabito sends this...

"Jerry South, a USBF board member recently spent a month in Italy spending time playing at a local bocce club.

He is a very good player and more importantly - a nice person who is looking to play in the Nationals. He doesn't have a team and really wants to play. His experience is inavaluable and if my third player didn't commit to me - Jerry would be playing on my team!

Check out 'Jerry South's Italian Bocce Adventure' on YouTube - it's his video diary from his trip:"


Lio adds his input on the Shooting/Lagging discussion...

"I would like to chime in on the Shooting vs. Lagging debate. To me, bocce is a lot like Golf, an easy game to understand but a much harder game to play. Shooting is like if you are about to drive the ball - the littlest head move elbow out turning of your wrist will make you hit the ball wrong. Same thing when you want to shoot.

Lagging is like putting. You need to read the green, the slope, judge the speed - all to get the ball in the hole and with lagging you want to touch the pallino. So both shooting and lagging are arts on their own."


Palazzo Di Bocce and the Detroit Lions Tony Filippis Memorial Bocce Tournament

From the Palazzo di Bocce - "If you want to try something different – that is great fun with celebrities, delicious food and big prizes – the Lions’ Tony Filippis Memorial Bocce Tournament is just the ticket! Proceeds go to Detroit Lions Charities including, in part, the Athletes with Disabilities Hall of Fame, a partner for the second year in this great event!

Lions’ 'Bocce Day' is May 22nd at the beautiful Palazzo di Bocce in Orion Township, just north of the Palace of Auburn Hills. This year’s honorary captains will be Lions’ Edwin 'Big Ed' Mulitalo, Cory Redding and Roy Williams. In 2008, Tony Battaglia, AJ Filippis and Mike Utley will serve as honorary chairmen."


Luca Fontana reminds us about the upcoming Nationals in Illinois...

"The winners of the women's division will participate
at the World Raffa Championship and the top three men's team will qualify for the Northamerican Cup held in Montreal in October.

Hope to see you there. Keep up your wonderful mission of propagating the popularity of bocce."

{I'm trying to get there - if you looked at my day-timer (yes, I still use one of those - I'm old school) you'd get a migraine headache. If I don't get there I hope someone will send photos.}


Blast from the past...

Volume #1, Issue #15 - April 15, 2002

Bocce quote of the week

This week's bocce quote comes from Dr. Charles Portera, originator of the Chattanooga Southeastern Bocce Tournament.

Long-time promoters of bocce, my friend Rico Daniele and I had similar questions when asked to run a bocce event in the Arts District of Chattanooga, Tennessee. "They play bocce in Tennessee?" asked Rico, while I countered with "You mean to tell me they have an Arts District in Chattanooga?" Surprisingly (and fortunately), the answer to both questions is Yes! And Dr. Charles (Tony) Portera is the man largely responsible. A transplanted Mississippian, Portera is one of the South's leading cancer surgeons. The tall, handsome 63 year-old has a staunch passion for medicine and the arts, an unwavering vision about what he wants for his city, and a firm grasp on his roots. Together with his wife Mary and their family, he has conceived and developed the Bluff View Arts District, a classic conclave of cafes, gardens, museums and galleries.

Nestled in one of the city's finest historic areas, Bluff View features bed and breakfast in elegantly restored homes (circa 1900), gourmet dining in any of several restaurants (fresh made pastas, pastries, and chocolates), and culture in the River Gallery and the outdoor Sculpture Garden featuring local as well as nationally known artists' work.

Gazing over all that comprises the Arts District, including the gorgeous, well-manicured bocce court overlooking the Tennessee River, renowned oncologist Portera declares "I deal with death every day - I did this for joy."

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




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.

Doc Holliday Tournament...

Photos of the week
This week’s photos were taken by Eddie Marinelli Jr. with captions supplied by Don Augustine.

“On January 26, 2008 Punta Gorda Elks Lodge #2606 held a bocce tournament at the Port Charlotte Beach Complex in Port Charlotte, Florida. It was organized by Bill 'Coach' Gurnick.

There were one hundred and twenty players comprised of a men’s division and a ladies division. The weather was beautiful and good food and beverages were enjoyed by all. We had the usual hamburgers and hot dogs along with homemade cakes, cookies, homemade soup, pasta, and one of my favorite’s - pizza fritta along with other goodies. There were a dozen raffles with prizes that were donated by local businesses.

All proceeds from the event were donated to the 'Harry Anna Fund for Children’s Therapy Services.'

The winners of the men’s division were Ray Bacarella, Eddie Marinelli Sr., Joe Schena and Luigi Carlesimo.

The winners of the women’s division included Ann D’Amico, Dolly Payne, Gabriella Court and Grace Caputo.”

Click the photo to the right or the link below to see the venue and players like the Jersey Jet, Tony “The Godfather” and Bill “Coach” Gurnick in action.

{Please follow Don and Eddie's lead by sending photos from your neck of the woods.}

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 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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