The Joy of Bocce Weekly
In This Issue: Vol. VII, Issue 32 - September 22, 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 #32 - September 22, 2008
Publisher: Mario Pagnoni Copyright 2008
76 Emsley Terrace, Methuen, MA 01844 (vm 800-211-1202 ext 4949)

Hi again bocce faithful,

On Friday night last I spoke at the Medford Boat Club (Mass.) as their banquet coincided with the finals of their men's bocce league {photos to follow in an upcoming issue.}

They have a beautiful bocce court and some long standing, unusual traditions surrounding how they play. More in next week's issue.

After my talk, the league directors sent me the email addresses of the players in their men's and women's leagues, asking me to add them to the Joy of Bocce Weekly mailing list. This is a great way to grow the Joy of Bocce Weekly list which needs to get a lot bigger if we really want to impact the growth of the game. I know a lot of league directors receive the ezine and then forward it to their list of players. That works too.

If you want to get your league or group on board, contact me ASAP.

Here's how it would work.

"Best practice" in the ezine industry is referred to as "double opt in". When you sign up for the ezine, you'll first get an email that says in effect, "So you want to receive the bocce ezine every week, is that right?" You must answer YES to this question to confirm your subscription, otherwise you won't get added to the list.

If other leagues or groups want to do the same, let me know via email and I'll "hook you up!"

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

Columbia Inn (Manchester-By-The-Sea, Mass.)...

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

Bocce Loses A Great Friend

Bill Lipscomb and Debby Bussler send us sad news...

"It is with great sadness that we must acknowledge that Bob Whitlow, founder of Bocce USA in West Frankfort, Illinois, has lost his battle with cancer. Bob's condition had worsened over the past 6 weeks to the point of requiring hospitalization for 8 days before he passed quietly away at 10:15 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 18....just hours after being presented (in absentia) with a plaque honoring him in his efforts in helping to organize and orchestrate the Annual FWHS Bocce Fundraiser. FWHS (Franklin-Williamson Human Services) is an organization which funds programs for the developmentally disabled in the bi-county area.

Bocce USA will continue to operate (per Bob's wishes) with Bill Lipscomb of Benton, Il. as its new President. Other offices: Jay Bussler, V.Pres., Joyce Fogleman, Sec. and Mary Lynn Whitlow as treasurer will remain unchanged.

Bob leaves his devoted wife, Mary Lynn and two daughters: Tracy and husband, John Abbott and Kristy Fozzard.

Bob will be greatly missed!"

{I never met Bocce Bob, but I could tell he was a man after my own heart. We corresponded often. He kept me informed on all things bocce in his area. He had an unmatched passion for the game and was unselfishly devoted to community service. Our bocce community is diminished by his passing. I am so pleased to hear that survivors will keep his dream alive. I hope they will keep his name alive as well by renaming the league or a prestigious award after him.

Click Bob's photo above right to view a recent tribute paid him by his friends.

Also, scroll down to see what Bocce Bob wrote back in 2003 - Blast from the past.}


Old friend Ben Martignetti, Jr. sends a link to a great article...

"Here's an article that's in this month's issue of ESPN Magazine...thought you might find it interesting."




Dorothy Patterson asks a question that is tough to answer...

"I would like to see where to bank a ball off the side. How to you plan that strategy..."

{There's no way to tell because courts are all constructed differently. Sometimes the ball banks off nicely, other times it hugs the rail. Some courts are ringed with concrete with wood lashed to the inside and the ball meets resistance once it strikes the side. In this case, the angle of incidence is equal to the angle of reflection as they say in physics one of those disciplines.

Two things I'd suggest and then we'll see if any reader chimes in with other advice...

1) I'd suggest is that you stand on the opposite side of the court wall that you want to bank off of - i.e. if you want to bank off the right side boards, move way over to the left side of the court to make your roll.

2) Whenever you play at a new court, set aside a couple minutes for pre-game practice to see how the ball caroms off the side boards from different angles.

Keep in mind that in International Rules Bocce - Punta, Raffa, Volo - you may NOT play off the sideboards. If you do, your ball is dead and removed from play for the remainder of the frame.

Any readers expert at playing off the side boards? Please share the knowledge - REPLY.}


Mike Evans is looking for bocce action in Virginia...

"I live in Northern Virginia and am looking for opportunities to participate in a bocce league. Are you aware of any teams in the general area?'

{If anyone can "hook" Mike up, contact him directly at or REPLY and I'll get the word to him.}


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.}



We introduced the Bocce Caddy last week and have now made it the Bocce Product of the Week - see below.

The Bocce Caddy can help those of us with bad backs to effortlessly pick up bocce balls.

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 @


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 #2 - January 13, 2003

Bob Whitlow of West Frankfort, Il sends an update on his great community service program…

“The bocce courts out at the VF mall in West Frankfort are ready. This is a community service provided by Ms. Linda Simpson and Ms. Ann Hall of Factory Stores of America, Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse of Carbondale, Ron Shew Welding and Fabrication of Marion, Rural King of Marion, FWHS, Inc. and Bob Whitlow of BOCCE USA.

The courts are available for the Franklin-Williamson workshop clients and group home residents. They will be playing late morning/early afternoon.

The courts will be open for walk-in play for everybody every TUESDAY evening beginning at 6:00 PM for the months of January and February. March and April nights will change.

Clubs, social, church, civic and senior groups of eight or more (sixteen is even better), can make appointments by calling 618-937-1668. There is NO CHARGE for the use of these courts. I will be scheduling and supervising court use at all other times.

Barry Kohl, Regional Superintendent of Schools, has offered to contact all Franklin and Williamson county schools thru their computer network.

He is a big fan of bocce and it's great to have him in our camp.

I will be out at the bocce complex a lot. If you can't make it on a Tuesday, give me a call. If we can get enough together, we will roll a few. (As long as it's NOT on the same day/evening as a SALUKI home basketball game).

The bocce courts were created for three reasons:

1. To give our local citizens with developmental disabilities a place for recreation during winter months.

2. To assist in educating the general public of all ages about bocce.

3. To help with our local FWHS Foundation fundraising tournament and other local bocce events throughout the year.

In a tribute to the memory of my late father-in-law, John Niana, (nickname: Ole Crooked Arm), I am dedicated to promoting this great Italian game of 7000 years so our younger generation can experience some clean fun and pleasure.”

{My response in 2003 = "Keep at it Bob. You are doing great work. And keep us posted."}


Get Ready For Football season

Recliners Plus


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.

Another wrinkle on the pre-game coin toss...

Photos of the week
Old friend George Farruggio forwarded these great pics.

"These pictures were taken by one of our bocce players here in Punta Gorda. He was visiting his family in Ohio. His name is Gene Kenyo, a member of the Elks Bocce Club here in Punta Gorda, Florida.

You talk about bocce courts, take a look at these. Maintenance required = 0%. All the courts are carpeted. Water problem = 0%. All you do on these courts is play BOCCE. The under-surface is packed like concrete. He tells me the ball rolls straight. If ever you were to build bocce courts, this is the way to go. I have been preaching this for years.

Remember the name of the game is BOCCE. P.S. Our new motto is GET CLOSE."

{I spoke with Mike Longo who is a member of the club where the photos were taken. He says it's the Sons of Italy John Pirelli Lodge #1633 in Beaver Creek, Ohio.

The 6 courts measure 60' by 12' and are covered with Astroturf. The sub-surface is crushed rock. Every couple of years they take the carpet up and roll and compact the subsurface, then lay the carpet back down.

You're gonna love these photos.}

View this week's photos

Bocce product of the week
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:

View photos and info on the Bocce Caddy

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.


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 11, 2008 - Connecticut - Wethersfield. 1st Annual Wethersfield/UNICO BoccePalooza to benefit Jimmy V Foundation for cancer research. Open - 4 players. Contact Mike Fortunato at Entry form at


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