The Joy of Bocce Weekly
In This Issue: Vol. VII, Issue 22 - June 9, 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 #22 - June 9, 2008
Publisher: Mario Pagnoni Copyright 2008
76 Emsley Terrace, Methuen, MA 01844 (vm 800-211-1202 ext 4949)

Hello bocce gang,

No ezine last week - my apologies. Just when I was getting so excited about the prospects of publishing the ezine every Monday for an entire year, I ran into a battle with kidney stones. Note: you can't win a battle with kidney stones.

As I type these lines I am still struggling to pass this one last stone. My urologist says, "If it doesn't pass today, I'll go in and take it out tomorrow." This is not exactly what I wanted to hear, so today I am determined to drink water, cranberry juice, and other liquids equivalent in volume to that of Lake Ontario.

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

Athletic Club...Stockton, CA...

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

I've noticed that a lot of people that we introduce bocce to think that they have to alternate rolls with their partner. For example, in a doubles match one partner rolls but doesn't beat the opponent's point. He or she tends to stand aside, thinking that the teammate has to roll next. This might come from another sport (maybe horseshoes?) where alternating might be the rule.

We think it's best to roll two in a row. For example, you try to beat the point but come up a couple feet short. You roll again and ADJUST because you realized that your previous roll didn't have enough energy to reach its target.

Recently, friends of mine visited the Villa Roma in upstate New York and played in a tournament run by the resort. { } The tourney rule was that teammates indeed had to alternate rolls. So, we see that the game is still in a state of relative disarray. On the other hand, it shows a kind of "staying power". No matter what variations of play or rules, people just want to play. It's a tribute to our sport.

This past weekend I taught some newbies to play. At the conclusion of a game, one young woman said what I have heard many times before...

"I want to play again" she said.
"It's addictive!"


Matthew Lynch writes...

"I'm a reporter for the Stamford Advocate in Stamford, Conn. working on story about a women's bocce league down here with a lot of intergenerational participants. I'm looking to speak to an expert on the subject of bocce in general and you seem to be the man to speak with."

{What a smart young reporter - he already knows that I'm "the man to speak with." Had a nice telephone chat with him and I hope to post his article when it's published. He notes that the average age of bocce players seems to be dropping and more women and girls are coming on board.}


Any readers in the Eastern Mass./Southern NH area, please consider entering your children/grandchildren in our popular kids bocce tourney on the grounds of the Nevins Library in Methuen, Mass.

July 11, 2008 - Third to sixth graders (parents & grandparents too). 9:30 AM - 1:00 PM. Register at 978-686-4080 - . Come join us for this popular annual program - the library's most eagerly anticipated program of the summer. Run by the Bocce Guy - yours truly, Mario Pagnoni.


Here's a cool Father's Day ad from the Palazzo di Bocce...

Speaking of Father's Day, I just couldn't resist these 5 Father's Day specials...

Father's Day Sale on Hammocks

Father's Day Sale on Grills

Father's Day Sale on Patio Umbrellas

Father's Day Sale on Adirondack Chairs

Bocce Ball Sets


New Orleans' Robert Agnelly chimes in on a recent topic...

"European Rules is what we played in New Orleans when we had outdoor courts. I learned how to play bocce by playing by the old rules. I learned from some old country Italians who really appreciated playing and teaching the game. We even played with brass balls. Playing a game of 12 to 15 points by European rules can take as long as two or more hours to complete. It is time consuming to mark and replace balls. Plus there are lots of arguments that must be settled. Serious Bocce players really like the game. If you plan to play by European rules, you must become a complete Bocce player.

We had to change to open rules when we built indoor courts and covered them with carpet. It became impossible to mark the balls on carpet. We lost a few die hard players who refused to compromise their game by playing open rules. While open rules will attract the novice player to the game, the better players will gravitate to the European style of play if it is available.

Open Rules Bocce is like Bocce 'Lite' when compared to European Rules Bocce."

{Robert uses European rules as a synonym for International Rules - punta, raffa, volo. He makes a lot of sense too.

I still like the idea of the USBF sending ambassadors of the international game to key clubs around the USA. The ambassadors teach the PRV game to the locals and hopefully someone in the group will pick up the ball and promote it from there.

Like Robert says above, some serious players will gravitate to the game. If someone spends a couple days teaching me the game, I might then become its vanguard in the New England area.

My idea is for the USBF to pick up the ambassador's travel and lodging tab for a couple days' stay. It could pay huge dividends in the long run as the number of players exposed to the international game multiplies. Even if the numbers don't get huge, at least there will be increased awareness among the masses that such a game exists, and if the time ever comes when they want to give it a go, there will be an avenue to pursue it.}


Sean Krezenski from the Palazzo di Bocce weighs in on the shooting/pointing debate...

"In the shooting versus lagging debate there can be no winner declared. I started playing the game in June 2004 with the opening of Palazzo di Bocce in Orion, MI. I have had an opportunity to play with some of the greatest players the sport has to offer.

I have had matches against opponents that can place a one foot point every roll and spent more than 90% of my balls shooting either bocce or pallino. In contrast, I have had many matches in which I never attempted to shoot. This game requires precision with all three major aspects: punto, raff and volo. Each requires incredible skill. The argument made against you is ridiculous. That’s like saying 'sure you can hit 300+ yards off the tee, but you can’t putt as well me so you shouldn’t win.'


Long time reader Rock Gunnoe sends much news...

"Thank you for all the wonderful information on the Bocce sport, I enjoy every issue. I searched your website using Google (example below on how to use the search term 'splendid city' but only having Google look at your website for results.

splendid city site:

and even trying the search 'splendidcity' did not find that you have mentioned their software. I tried looking for 'software' as well, and found the March 13th, 2006 issue mentions a reader had found that Playaboule was now offering a package.

I got my free copy from:

But they have lots more information at their own website.

I bring it to your attention because I hope to be playing in a tournament in a few months and I wondered if there was some free software available to help keep track of 36 teams of 4 players over a three day period. The Pro version of this software is about $40 which allows you to print out cool charts and email the results or publish them on web pages. There is a comparison page to other company's that make similar software, , and I see that Playaboule is still trying to offer something as well at , but I could not get the file to download.

It is probably easier to make the big whiteboard so that everyone can wander up to look at it rather than bothering the person at the laptop, but I think this kind of software would make it a little easier to keep the results accurate before transferring them to the big board. Do you think this subject is worth passing along to your readers? Perhaps you already have mentioned it more than the one time, but I missed it.

I am not involved in setting up the details of the Tournament, but it is sponsored by Dogfishhead Brewery out of Delaware and it is called the 'Intergalactic Bocce Ball Tournament'. Louis, at has more information about it, and loves to play the sport. He may even be looking for a few more Phoenix area players to come out and show their stuff so I copied him in on this note.

Thanks again for all your wonderful support of Bocce!"

{Can any readers weigh in on the software issue? Most events I get involved with are under twenty teams and don't seem to need computer-aided brackets, etc.}


Blast from the past...

Volume #1, Issue #18 - May 6, 2002

Bocce quote of the week

This week's web gem comes to us from Stan Stanton of Las Vegas (which he calls The Bocce Capital of Southern Nevada)

"Last week a very good team jumped on us early and had us down 5 to 0 when I blurted out to my team members that 'We need to kill the skunk!' We did, too. I was really happy when we 'killed the skunk'. We did go on to win that game! It is like the 'get the red out' or 'Visine shot' you mentioned some time back that I've been spreading around. Colorful language for a wonderful game."

{Publisher's note: do you use this "skunk" rule? For example, the game goes to, say, 12 points but at 8-0 you win by default. In softball they have a "mercy rule" or "slaughter rule" where, if one team gets ahead by X amount of runs (10, 12, 15) after X number of innings the game is over. Please REPLY and let me know the details of your "skunk rule" - also list where you are located.}


Joy Hessenflow sends Greetings from Hawaii...

"I have just ordered your book. I am excited to learn about Bocce.

We are going to have a Bocce Tournament as an employee team building event. Should be interesting since NONE of us know how to play Bocce. Our company will be partnering with the Special Olympics Hawaii in August to help with the Bocce event. We thought this would be a great way for employees to learn the rules and basics of Bocce, and hopefully develop a love of the game. We are getting assistance with Bocce basics from some of the SO staff, they will be on hand to help us along.

We have decided to make a day of it and are going to have an Italian picnic lunch. The venue we have chosen is a large lawn at a private school, unfortunately there are not a lot regulation Bocce courts in Honolulu.

If you have any suggestions on how to make this a fun and playful event I would love some input! Even if it is just your favorite Italian picnic item.

Thank you for your site, it was nice to have such an informative jumping off point!"

{Any ideas from readers? REPLY or contact Joy directly at }


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.

Setting up a Day of Bocce Auction item...

Photos of the week
{Held Over From Last Issue - cut me some slack, I've been ill...kidney stones - yuck! I almost overdosed on cranberry juice!}

This week’s photos were taken by yours truly during my recent trip to the New Jersey Bocce Invitational at Colonial Park, Somerset County, NJ. The annual event raises funds for NJ charities and Operation Shoebox which sends "care packages" to our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The photos show off the 8 courts in the public domain and highlight the well-run event from opening ceremonies to the championship.

Event organizer Frank Valanzola did yeoman's work pulling this event together. Says Valanzola, "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."

One interesting side note...I met and played a local during a little "down time." Deb kept my unblemished travel record intact of getting beat by everyone I meet on these trips.

There were two notable exceptions to my bocce travel record. When I first visited the North End of Boston to play on their great courts, I beat their top player in a singles match. He was suitably intimidated, thinking that since I was the author of The Joy of Bocce, I must be a great player. Once he found out that wasn't the case, he trounced me regularly.

On another occasion at the Palazzo di Bocce for the 2005 World Championships (photos here: ), I played one of the European champs and beat him handily. I don't often admit that the contest took place at two in the morning and my opponent was just ever-so-slightly inebriated.

View this week's photos

Bocce product of the week
Precision Bocce Measures

Choose the Clubhawk Gold, Henselite Bowls, or Premier Boule Measure. You can't go wrong with any of the three choices. Once a bocce aficionado has a set of bocce balls and my book, the next logical acquisition is a first-rate measure.

Each retails for $24.95 plus $5.00 shipping and will be shipped US Priority Mail.

Click the photo for more info, pictures, etc.

Click to go to merchandise order...then scroll down a bit

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}

Kids furniture mart

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.


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 11, 2008 - Massachusetts - Methuen. Nevins Library Bocce in the Park for Kids. Third to sixth graders (parents & grandparents too). 9:30 AM - 1:00 PM. Register at 978-686-4080 - . Come join us for this popular annual program - the library's most eagerly anticipated program of the summer. Run by the Bocce Guy - Mario Pagnoni.


July 11 - 13, 2008 - Ohio - Dayton. Bocce Classic XIV at Bella Villa (Dayton). 70+ teams compete for more than $7200 in prize money. This event has raised more than $75,000 for local charities. Information and entry forms at .


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.


November 13 - 16, 2008 – Nevada - Reno. Peppermill Hotel & Casino. OPEN, 4 players. Contact Peppermill @ 800-648-6992.

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

Merchandise still available at

Check out the first-rate equipment we offer. The finest measuring devices for bocce (made in UK by Prohawk for lawn bowling, petanque, and bocce) - the finest bocce balls in the world (made in Italy by Perfetta) and the number one selling instructional book on bocce in America - Check them out.
 Check out the merchandise