The Joy of Bocce Weekly
In This Issue: Vol. VII, Issue 30 - September 8, 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 #30 - September 8, 2008
Publisher: Mario Pagnoni Copyright 2008
76 Emsley Terrace, Methuen, MA 01844 (vm 800-211-1202 ext 4949)

Hi again bocce regulars,

Interesting news - just as I was writing about the U.S. states that were highest and lowest in Joy of Bocce book sales, I learned that the title made a best seller list. Not the NY Times or any major list mind you, but we hit #4 for the paperback and #5 for the e-book version on the publisher's (AuthorHouse) Top Selling Sports category.

AuthorHouse has over 1400 sports titles in print, so while this is not a major, national accomplishment, it's no small achievement either.

We'll just keep at it, week to week, and month to month, until we help get the game to the mainstream. And Joy of Bocce book sales just might make a pretty good barometer of growth.

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

Bocce in Las Cruces, New Mexico...

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


Last week I listed the top 10 and bottom 10 US states in terms of Joy of Bocce (the book) sales over the last several years (not bookstore sales or publishing house sales, mind you - just books that I have sold/shipped from orders on my web site and by places like and for whom I drop ship the title.

1) California
2) Massachusetts
3) Illinois
4) Florida
5) New York
6) Washington
7) Michigan
8) Pennsylvania
9) New Jersey
10) Connecticut - tie
10) North Carolina - tie

Bottom 10 (actually 12) sales by state

These states are virtually tied as there are only a smattering of yearly sales in each...

Ranked fewest to largest (although largest is a relative term)...

1) North Dakota
2) Wyoming
3) Mississippi
4) Montana
5) Nebraska
6) West Virginia
7) Arkansas
8) Kansas
9) Utah
10) Idaho
11) Oklahoma
12) Alaska

Danny Felts responds...

"I would hate to point out the obvious (and I'll probably not be alone), but it appears that your lists pretty much reflect population density for the most part. I'm sure there are a couple of exceptions, but this seems to be a major influence here. It also seems plausible that the states listed reflect the age of the residents. So, simply said, the more people and the older they are, the more likely they are to play and enjoy bocce and therefore want to acquire your excellent tome.

Seems logical to me.
Keep up the good work."

{Population density and average age of residents could be factors...on the other hand the average age of the bocce playing public is dropping as younger and younger devotees are hopping on board. Maybe we just need a bocce promoter or two to emerge in places like Utah, Idaho, and Montana. Maybe to people thereabouts, bocce is still "the best kept secret in sports."

Anyone know of bocce courts in those states? If so, please ask the owners to send us pictures for our "photos of the week" segment.}


Joy of Bocce hits a best-seller list...

The publisher AuthorHouse has thousands of books in print. More than 1400 of these titles are in the Sports category. The Joy of Bocce just hit #4 on the popularity list and the e-book version ranked #5. In effect, we have two top ten sellers.

Not the NY Times or other major list, but no too shabby for us and our sport!


Bocce Bum Ben Musolf sends this and makes a lot of sense...

"As you are well aware, establishments like Campo di Bocce, Palazzo di Bocce and now Pinstripes have been battling with the Bocce vs. Business scenario for quite some time now. I read your e-zine EVERY week and am thoroughly amazed at the number of players that enjoy our wonderful game across the United States. When you raise the question and thoughts about charging for your work, I personally would pay for the service, but find it bewildering that so many people are 'willing' to pay for this service but not pay $5-$15 to join the USBF. The USBF IS the governing body of Bocce in the United States. So many of your readers seem to be so avid and supportive of the game, I would love to see some of that energy diverted to once and for all unify our country with bocce standards, join the USOC (United States Olympic Committee) and promote bocce as a truly unified nation.

One of my main directions if I had been elected president of the USBF was going to be to focus on this exact topic. Why is it that the players in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Florida, New York, etc. are not interested in the USBF? I would cherish the opportunity to have a chance to discuss with any and all of these individuals what kind of movement we could create with a united front - Not to mention what Bocce and the USBF has to offer on the national level and the world level alike."

{The USBF needs to be and deserves to be more energetically embraced by the bocce playing public. Bocce clubs should be proudly hoisting the USBF banner. More on this subject in upcoming issues. For now, visit the USBF web site at .}


Dr. Cordano sends along some perceptive comments...

"I was missing your great free ezine for a while, but fortunately for all your avid readers you came back two weeks ago with a bang.

I will be very happy to contribute and hope that all your thousands of weekly readers think the same. Your very important publication must go on, for the continuous progress of our favorite sport.

Believe it or not, I played in one month at two of the most popular Open style tournaments: Rome, NY and Molisani Club in Cleveland.

In Rome I played with Tony Ceresoli Sr. and his Jr. (a 19 year old, excellent hitter) and a good local pointer and in Cleveland I played with Ceresoli Sr. and 2 good Cape Coral players (Coscia and Carvelito).

Believe me, we put Florida on the bocce map, since we came in third place in both competitions, winning 7 of 9 matches.

Must comment that in Cleveland my 2 international ex-partners from Palazzo (Jorge and Jason beat us twice in very competitive, high quality games)!

At Rome and at Cleveland, the organizers proved to know quite well on how to run a successful large tournament (in less than 48 hrs.) thanks to their excellent organization and with the availability of having 8 or more courts.

The fact of playing 4 players with only one ball and going up and down felt kind of strange, but from my point of view is far better than playing with 2 players at opposite ends of the court.

{The good doctor refers to the style of play where all four teammates play one ball each and walk back and forth, playing both ends of the court rather than stationing two teammates at each end. It's not my favorite style of play as you only get to roll one ball per frame. You don't get to adjust or "go to school" on your first roll, then make an improved second roll. I often think of Larry Bird in his heyday with the Celtics. He'd sometimes miss almost every shot in the first half, then come back and make almost every one after halftime. Good players adjust.

The down side of stationing two teammates at each end is that you don't get the gentle exercise of walking back and forth and you are actually only playing every other frame.}

The game becomes more strategic than usual and is mostly a shoot out contest and teams with only 2 good hitters do not have a chance to win such tournaments.

A team that doesn’t have a first shooter that sticks the ball (or at least, keep his ball in winning position by not reaching the back wall) is at a great disadvantage.

Sorry to say it, but on these very, very, very short 60 feet courts, a player that does not hit 85-90 %, is not good enough if top players are present.

What is wonderful to see is so much youth playing and the suggestion I would like to give, is to slow down in their effort to 'kill' the target.

Hitters must give less power to their delivery and with that, they will also have more finesse in their shooting, reducing the chances to take the pallino or/and their ball, breaking everything around the target and having the 'luck' factor determine the outcome.

It is also very nice to see so many ladies' teams playing intense and good quality bocce, besides adding more beauty to the game.

Is time, for the organizers to do something to improve the level of some courts, as well as to achieve smoother surfaces that will translate into some finesse and better pointing.

Also, they should try to minimize the many back boards that allow the return of the balls on impact. It is bad enough to play almost without rules, but the 'live' back board tops them all.

However, I must point out as said in the past, that open rules playing is the back bone of the progress of the sport and we must work to find the way to introduce more raffa – volo competitions among the so many good players we observe at these large tournaments.

Thanks for keeping coming out with the ezine and best of luck on everything you do.

PS. I can not stop here, because I just remembered your questions about pointing, or shooting a few ezines back.

Among top players, I believe that an excellent pointer will beat an excellent hitter more than 50% (in smooth, long courts), while in rough, short courts the good hitter will have an enormous advantage and should win far more % of games.

We must remember that most good hitters are also fairly good pointers……and is a huge advantage, particularly in open type rules of play."


Martignetti Family Charity Bocce Tournament set for Sunday, October 12th in Derry, NH.

New England's largest charity bocce tourney. This year's proceeds go to kidney disease research at Massachusetts General Hospital. Come play and/or contribute. There's a big bonus: you get to meet me and my bocce posse who will serve as referees for the event. Contact Sandro Martignetti @


Tucson, Arizona's Rock Gunnoe sends a link and asks a question...

"Thanks again for your awesome newsletter. We are the Tucson team that is going to play in Rehobeth, DE on September 26 & 27th in the Intergalactic Dogfish Head Bocce Tournament. I have been checking the Farmers Almanac for a weather report and it doesn't look good for outdoor bocce, rain and more rain. Say, would you happen to know of some indoor courts within 50 miles of that part of Delaware? I would like to try to tentatively work out a back up plan in case of weather - people are coming from all over to play in this. Everyone wears weird costumes, they will drink too much but they are professionals - everyone in the game is either a beer brewer or works in the industry. We might even be up to trying to play it on concrete in one of the Breweries, . Don't know how well that would go but everyone would be facing the same challenge."

{Anyone know of indoor courts in this area. REPLY and we'll get the word to Rock and his bocce posse.}


Campo di Bocce's Teena Marie sends this...

"We are every excited for this year’s Big Ben Punto, Raffa, Volo Tournament at Campo di Bocce of Los Gatos. This year promises to have all the excitement as last year with another big money prize to compete for! There is a guaranteed $1,000 first place prize sure to go up with sponsorship money.

Some things to keep in mind when deciding to play:

1. It is limited to the First 24 teams that sign up and PAY. After that, teams will be waitlisted and vacancies filled on a first come, first served basis.

2. Cost is $75 per person/$150 per team. We cannot 'Hold' your spot without payment.

3. USBF Cards are required.

4. We expect all players to play with respect for each other and for the rules of Punto Raffa Volo.

5. We will need players on BYES to assist with refereeing. While we know it is a long day, refs are invaluable. And a small community such as ours needs to help out when needed.

For any questions please contact myself or Ben at"


Matt chimes in on the recent discussion of weep holes for court drainage...

"We built 2 courts 10 years ago, 12'x74'. The bed of concrete was 3" with an indoor/outdoor carpet glued to the concrete. Each court was level on the width, one court had a 3" pitch on the length the other court had a 1" pitch due to the nature of the ground. The weep holes were 1"x12" on the side boards - 5 holes on each side board and two 1"x12" holes on the end board that had the pitch. The court with the 3" pitch dried overnight, the other took up to 3 days. The players never knew there was a pitch on either court. The play was good on either court. You could bank from the side courts and to this day the courts are in good shape."

{If the carpet is glued to the concrete there must be an awful lot of bounce. My guess is they outlaw lofting and volo attempts. Also, it seems to me that a 3" pitch over 74 feet would be noticeable to the players, especially on fast courts. You're rolling downhill in one direction, uphill in the other.}


Dan Albert of Monterey, California writes...

"I just wanted to write you line about how much I have enjoyed reading your book. I have always played bocce in Monterey, California but never played seriously.

You have inspired me to learn more about the game and its strategies. The other reason for the interest in the book is to build my own court. I don't have a lot of room; however, it was nice to read that one can enjoy a game on a smaller court...10'x50'. Last week, I started on the construction, so if your interested, I can send you some updates and pictures.

Again, thanks for your help and roll 'em straight."

{Lots of players have fun on short courts. One in my neighborhood is 9' by 45' and the source of much enjoyment hereabouts."}


Massachusetts State-wide Sons of Italy event coming this fall.

October 5, 2008 - Belmont, Massachusetts. All players must be SOI members in good standing. Contact Steve @ . Click for Entry Form:


Here's a pdf file with all the info you need for the October 17, 18, and 19 bocce event in Phoenix, Arizona.


Blast from the past...

Volume #1, Issue #49 - December 23, 2002

Jim Smith of Methuen, Mass. and Punta Gorda, Florida updates us on the grass roots method used to start a recreational bocce program at their condominium complex (highlighted in Joy of Bocce Weekly, Issue 44)

“The idea for bocce came from Tom and Kathy Distel four years ago when they returned from Michigan for the winter. Kathy left flyers on everyone’s condo door to come down by the pool and just have fun playing bocce. It was a way to get everyone out at the same time and socialize. It was so successful the next year Tom built the court, arranged for the clay, and had it all spread out and rolled by the time we all got down there after Christmas. Needless to say, with a nice court on the side of Lake Rio the whole idea caught on, and our numbers grew to the present twenties plus. I told several people down there about the book Joy of Bocce which I have down there in the condo, and about the web site.”

{Flyers on doors and a couple good people with the drive to get a recreational program off the ground was all it took.}


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.

Bocce in the Park - Methuen, Massachusetts

Photos of the week
Gary Arnstein submitted some fabulous pictures of his home court in San Anselmo, California.

Says Arnstein...

"I live in San Anselmo, CA and constructed the court in 2005.

I've included some early construction pictures, finished pictures and some current pictures where the landscape has filled in. Also, there is a shot with a kinetic sculpture that has a definite Bocce feel to it.

I was the general contractor for the project and David Brewer was helpful in advising me. The court was made with oyster shell and clay and topped with oyster flour.

You are welcome to use these pictures and I would be happy to provide additional ones.

{Bless you Gary!}

The court is 59.5 feet x 13 feet and the side walls, retaining walls and deck is constructed with epi. The court was carved into a hillside so we overdid it using 4 x 6 posts every 3 feet.

Everyone is officially Italian when we play and Lemoncello is the beverage of choice. My wife Debra and I have a large group of friends who we play with around 2 times a month.

My daughter Amy temporarily lives in Chicago (my hometown) after being in Paris for 6 years. Her French boyfriend and his parents and brothers recently visited and we played many a game even into the late night as I have 6 low voltage spotlights that illuminate the court. It took a while but eventually they got over the fact that there were side walls and we were not playing petanque.

Our house is mid-century modern built in 1959 by a student of Frank Lloyd Wright and the bocce court and stone steps down to it is quite a contrast between the old and new world.

{These are some awesome pictures. There is a great telephoto view of Oakland and the San Francisco Bay viewed from the Bocce court. The court is great, and ya gotta love the Frank Lloyd Wright inspired domicile!}

View this week's photos

Bocce product of the week

Just in time for fall - if you have problems with leaves on your outdoor court, this might just be the answer. I've experimented with it for a while and it passed the test.

From the marketing materials...

"This unique combination tool came all the way from Australia to help pick up and remove those troublesome leaves, pine needles, stones and other debris found on your court. The PVC tines literally lift the debris and flip it on top of the unit so it can be carried off the court.

Grooms the court surface like a drag brush. This dual-purpose tool will save you hours of tedious clean up of your court. Available in 4' and 8' widths."

I found the 8' width to be a little cumbersome for bocce courts...better suited for tennis courts. If you turn the product on one side the tines pick up debris. If you flip it over on its other side it grooms the court like a dragger on softball and baseball fields.

Suggested retail = $199.95. Click below to order...

Non bocce product of the week


Fire Pits

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.


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 13, 2008 - Pennsylvania - New Oxford. Scozzaro’s Old Mill Inn (4797 York Road). Four-person teams - fee of $100 per team includes refreshments and buffet. Contact Bob Massaroni at 630-8264.


September 19 - 21, 2008 - Canada,- Vaughan, Ontario (10 miles north of Toronto). North American Championships. 8 Men's Teams (4 USA and 4 Canada) and 6 Women's Teams (3 USA and 3 Canada) playing in a group format and following the International Rules of Punto Raffa Volo. Teams qualified to represent thier respective countries earlier this year.

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.


September 28, 2008 - California - Eureka. Sons of Italy Italian Festival and Bocce Tournament. Contact Gene Senestraro @ 707-442-6396.


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


October 5, 2008 - Massachusetts - Belmont. Grand Lodge of Massachusetts (Sons of Italy) Tournament. 93 Concord Ave., Belmont, MA. All players must be SOI lodge members. Contact Steve @ . Click for Entry Form:


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


October 12, 2008 - New Hampshire - Derry. Fourth Annual Martignetti Family Charity Bocce Tournament. Held at the SportsZone, Derry, NH. Proceeds benefit kidney disease research at Massachusetts General Hospital. Bonus: come and meet The Bocce Guy and his posse who will serve as referees. Contact Sandro Martignetti @ .


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.


December 6, 2008 – California - Stockton. Italian Athletic Club. OPEN, 4 players, including at least 2 women players. Contact Romano Lotti @ 209-951-8256.


June 20, 2009 - New Jersey - Franklin Twp. 3rd Annual Bocce Invitational at Colonial Park. Proceeds will support Operation Shoebox New Jersey and Boys & Girls Club of New Jersey.

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.
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