The Joy of Bocce Weekly
In This Issue: Vol. VII, Issue 31 - September 15, 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 #31 - September 15, 2008
Publisher: Mario Pagnoni Copyright 2008
76 Emsley Terrace, Methuen, MA 01844 (vm 800-211-1202 ext 4949)

Hi gang,

Thanks to all the well wishers who congratulated me on hitting the AuthorHouse Top Ten list in the Sports category. Next stop - New York Times Non-Fiction Bestseller List.

All this best-seller talk reminds me of the time Presidential Candidate and Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis visited the high school where I was teaching. The student who was to show Dukakis around before his presentation came to see me in a panic.

"Quick! Autograph a copy of your book," she ordered.
"I need a welcome gift for the Governor."

The book she referred to was "Computers and Small Fries", subtitled "A Computer Readiness Guide For Parents Of Tots, Toddlers And Other Minors." Published by Avery Press, it had just received what one of the Avery staffers told me was the best single review of any book they had ever done (Booklist, 1987 ). The book sold a couple thousand copies and went out of print in short order. {Writing is a tough way to make a buck unless you are a celebrity, a professional athlete, or a VERY talented individual - and none of the foregoing apply to me}.

I calmed the panic-stricken student down, fetched a copy of my book, and wrote something like the following inscription - "To the presidential hopeful from the best-selling author hopeful. Here's hoping that neither one of us is hopelessly unrealistic."

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

Colonial Park - home of the NJ Bocce Invitational...

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

Bocce U.S.A. Players Pay Tribute to Founder

Approximately 60 Bocce players and guests gathered at the rural home of Carl Metheny Saturday evening to honor and pay tribute to Bob Whitlow, founder of Bocce U.S.A. in West Frankfort.

Whitlow, after visiting some indoor Bocce Courts on "The Hill" in St. Louis some years ago, conceived the idea of building, here in West Frankfort, the only indoor Bocce facility south of Chicago in the state of Illinois. After a lot of site searching, he was able to procure an empty store in the Outlet Malls of America. He single handedly constructed two courts in what was to soon become Bocce U.S.A., a totally non profit organization which would be open to and benefit the public.

Very soon thereafter, he announced that classes would be offered to teach the rules and fundamentals of the ancient game of Bocce and introduce the sport to his hometown. He offered use of the facility, FREE OF CHARGE, to any club or youth organization wishing to learn the game.

When interest in the game escalated, he formed the Monday Night Bocce League, still keeping Tuesday nights for free open play. The first year league play boasted 32 members. That number has now increased to over 50 members and subs. Fundraising tournaments were held to raise money for Bocce U.S.A. expenses as well as community projects such as the Old King Coal Festival.

In the spring of 2007, Bocce U.S.A. was forced out of its original location by the sale and new ownership of the mall and a substantial increase in rent for use of the facility. Being a NOT FOR PROFIT organization it was evident that the players could not come up with the hike in rent. So, once again, Whitlow set about the task of scouting out a location suitable to accommodate two Bocce courts and approximately 40 people at one time. He succeeded in his efforts by procuring the present location which is in the building of the New Beginnings Church (the old Frankfort Elementary School Building). The courts occupy the entire east side of the Northeast Wing of the building. The courts remain open for public play on Tuesday evenings at 6 p.m.

Due to health issues, Whitlow recently announced that he will not be able to begin fall play with the group for the 2008-09 league season. Players, subs and guests felt an overwhelming desire to express their gratitude to Whitlow for his extreme dedication and hard work in the creation and advancement of this sport for West Frankfort.

Metheny graciously offered his home and he, assisted by other Bocce players, provided what proved to be a virtual "feast" for the occasion. Fellowship and several games of Bocce on Matheny's lawn followed the meal with Whitlow assuming his usual position as "judge" for the games.

Although a long time in coming, this tribute was described by one of the players as "a small outward display of the deep affection and appreciation we feel for the man who is responsible, with the support of his wife, Mary Lynn, in the physical realization of his dream come true...... the introduction of indoor Bocce to West Frankfort".

The facility remains open to the public on Tuesday evenings from 6 to 8 p.m.

According to Whitlow, "Tuesday nights are a good opportunity for the novice to come out and give the sport a try. We now have many experienced players on hand to teach the fundamentals and rules to newcomers." Other times may be scheduled for clubs and youth organizations by appointment.

{Some well deserved recognition for one of the true "good guys" in our bocce family. Hats off to Bocce Bob Whitlow - click the photo to view a larger image. }


Two News Items from Gotcha Bocce's Bob Valvano...

1) The 5th Annual Bob Valvano Celebrity Bocce Tournament.

"It is a first class affair, featuring the V BOCCE BALL, a party the night before (at Gotcha Bocce and Angelina's) with food, beer, wine, soft drinks, a live and silent auction, and various other surprises. That is Sunday night October 12.

The actual tournament is Columbus Day - Monday, October 13. We play at Jim Patterson Stadium, the gorgeous new home of the University of Louisville Baseball team. We set up courts in the outfield, as they have SPORTTURF which makes a really great surface to play on. Each THREE person team is paired with a different celebrity for 4 games and we have 5 'flight' winners, PLUS a GRAND CHAMPION. Every person in the field gets a beautiful leather gift bag filled with all sorts of 'swag', and the best part is it is making a difference in the fight against cancer.

We will use the proceeds from the event, through THE V FOUNDATION, to fund the largest single site FREE testing event next year. We expect to screen over 2500 men for prostate cancer and believe we will probably get about 300 positives. We literally think we then will be saving 300 lives. Pretty heady stuff for a day of bocce!

It is a premium priced event, but we think it is worth it, and the people who are returning, and do so every year, would agree. In fact, the reason I am reaching out to the Joy of Bocce community is because we are expanding the tournament this year from 20 to 24 teams, so if anyone would like to play, we would be delighted. The cost is $1200 per three-person team, and includes SIX invites to the V BOCCE BALL, three deluxe gift bags, lunch the day of the event, and all awards and prizes. Plus, if any of your readers want to play and they are from outside the Louisville area, we will give them a complimentary hotel room for Sunday evening.

The tournament runs from noon until 4 pm on Monday, so there is plenty of time for a drive or flight home.

(If folks want to come in Saturday and make a weekend out of it, I will be glad to secure them some passes to the Kentucky Derby Museum at Churchill Downs, and/or the Louisville Slugger factory and tour which is great fun as well. Have them email me at ).

2) I am very serious about trying to start the GREAT MIDWEST BOCCE LEAGUE, incorporating Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Louisville, Milwaukee, Nashville, Memphis, and any other city that is a quick hop from Louisville. The idea would be to play maybe twice a month (with 3 other clubs) so you would play 6 matches in a month, and only have to travel once a month. In three months you could play 18 matches (of 3 games each) so you could play 54 games and it would only take 6 DATES (hopefully allowing every team to play 3 home and 3 away.)

We need SOMETHING that would be different and allow newspapers to at least say, 'Hey that's a growing sport!'

In this part of the country CORNHOLE is going through the roof (I confess we have started CORNHOLE leagues at GOTCHA BOCCE...gotta pay the bills) largely from the popularity at tailgating events, but when those people are introduced to Bocce they seem to like it too, and I think a 'league' could give it an air of credibility. If you or your readers can steer me to the right people at clubs in any city interested, I would love to pursue it."

{Sounds like two great events to me. Valvano has a track record for running high quality, successful programs. Those of us who can, ought to "get on board" to help.

I've seen a little Cornhole activity in New England. For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, here's the Wikipedia take:

"Cornhole, also called Corn Toss, is a game in which players take turns pitching small bags filled with corn, sand, or beans at a raised platform with a hole in the far end. These platforms are usually made with plywood or occasionally plastic, and are often decorated. A corn bag in the hole scores 3 points, while one on the platform scores 1 point. Play continues until a player reaches the score of 21."

More here:

Cornhole doesn't appeal to me. Games of skill that are easy to play and don't require much thinking seem to catch on, while a skill game with a cerebral element of tactics, like bocce, takes a bit longer to take hold. Go figure.}


Introducing...THE BOCCE CADDY

Bocce aficionado Michael Delucchi is bringing a great new product to market. The Bocce Caddy can help those of us with bad backs to effortlessly pick up bocce balls.

You may recall that South Carolina bocce buddies Gene Youtsey and Don Allen developed the Bocce Ball Retriever. This from The Joy of Bocce 2nd Edition page 111: "The device has what looks like a Tupperware bowl attached to a telescopic rod that can be adjusted to the user's height. With a little practice you can get a deft little wrist snap going, and pick up your ball without bending or stooping. The South Carolina duo retails the device. Email Gene at ."

The Bocce Ball Retriever is a very ingenious device, but the Bocce Caddy is the next generation. Lightweight yet durable, it can pick up two bocce balls at once. Click here for some photos and more info on the Bocce Caddy:

Are you lugging 50- and 80-lb bags of Har-Tru or other material to top dress your bocce court? Here's a coupon good for a few bucks off a purchase at

Hand Truck


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.}


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...

It's fun to look at back issues to see where we were and where we might be headed.

Volume #2, Issue #1 - January 6, 2003

{I had asked for feedback on how the ezine was going, now that it was headed into its second year. Most all the feedback I got was positive.}

I enjoyed one positive response so much that I had to reproduce part of it...thanks to bocce fan Laurie Katz.

“I think your ezine publication is FANTASTIC.

For several reasons.

It has information available for ALL levels of players and interests.

It gives actual REAL USEFUL information.

It gives not so useful but extremely INTERESTING information.

It is GEOGRAPHICALLY INCLUSIVE. There has been information and resources from all over.

The PICTURES are great!!! Real live people playing real live bocce."

{Well, for this coming year expect more of the same. We will continue to be a weekly. Somehow, The Joy of Bocce Bi-Weekly just doesn't sound right to me. It has been a labor of love so far - if it becomes a chore, I'll think about cutting back. Please send feedback and photos to make my job easier. Thanks for all the support and kind words.}


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 & 2009. Please help.

Eliminating the pre-game coin toss...

Photos of the week
No Boys Allowed Bocce League

Tom Grella Sr. has long hosted the Havana Rollers Bocce League, a group of male, cigar-smoking bocce lovers. The men saw their Tuesday night league as "boys' night out". Besides competing in bocce, they want to smoke, drink, practice gluttony, and talk trash laced with, let's say, slightly inappropriate language.

These 'good ol boys' feel more comfortable with this agenda when no women are in attendance.

This summer Tom's wife Joanne rallied the women to establish their own Bocce Babes League, banning those of the male persuasion.

During their final night of play, each participant was presented with a certificate reading..."This is to certify that ____________ has successfully completed a full season of bocce mania and has been instrumental in reclaiming the game from its previously male dominated status. Congratulations!"

{Photos by Clare Coco - captions by yours truly. Visit photographer/bocce player Clare Coco's web site @ .}

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
{Hey, bocce's great, but I'm always on the look-out for all kinds of good products for my readers}


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 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 13, 2008 - Kentucky - Louisville. 5th Annual Bob Valvano Celebrity Bocce Tournament. Jim Patterson Stadium - contact Bob Valvano at .


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.
 Check out the merchandise