The Joy of Bocce Weekly
In This Issue: Vol. VII, Issue 37 - October 27, 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 #37 - October 27, 2008
Publisher: Mario Pagnoni Copyright 2008
76 Emsley Terrace, Methuen, MA 01844 (vm 800-211-1202 ext 4949)

Hi Bocce Friends,

I'm having a great time rooting for Tampa Bay in the World Series. Their first baseman, Carlos Peña, played against us when I was the varsity baseball coach at Methuen High School and he was the hard hitting left handed swinging first baseman at Haverhill High.

Last year some of my friends got a little miffed with me because I was rooting for Peña to hit 40 home runs (because I knew he'd be set for life, financially, if he did). So, I cheered when he hit them against the Red Sox, the Yankees, everybody. The Sox fans got mad at me, the Yankee fans got mad at me. I didn't care. I was so happy for the local boy who ended up with 46 homeruns and a 3-year, 24 million dollar contract.

He had had flashes of brilliance all his career, but never really put it together like he did in Tampa Bay. He strikes out a lot, but watch him when he K's for the third out of the inning. He places his bat and helmet gently on the ground, grabs his glove and goes to his infield position. No angry looks at the ump, no kicking dirt, not the slightest hint of unsportsmanlike conduct. The kid's a class act and I hope he gets a World Series ring. It would be about time that a professional athlete who is a good, positive role model got the brass ring.

{The link below is to a bocce court in Carlos Peña's old stomping grounds in Haverhill, Massachusetts.}

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

Riverfront Park Bocce - Haverhill, Mass.

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

Last week I mentioned about how the UNICO group in Wethersfield, Conn. used an interesting tactic to raise money for their outdoor courts. They sold commemorative bricks placed on the walkway between their two bocce courts.

I've added a couple of close-up photos (of individual bricks) to the Joy of Bocce web page highlighting the UNICO ribbon cutting ceremony from 2006. These give a clearer picture of the fund-raising effort. Click the picture right or the link below to check them out. }


Speaking of the good people at Wethersfield UNICO, Michael Fortunato forwarded this movie from his recent UNICO bocce tourney for the V Foundation for Cancer Research. I give a short talk and the 6-minute video nicely captures the flavor of the well-run event.

Nicholas Deramo is the excellent videographer.


Danny Felts of Antioch, TN chimes in on the bocce/bocci discussion...

"On the spelling of our favorite pastime- here's a twist. From the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary, I found this entry when querying 'bocce':

One entry found.

Main Entry: boc·cie
Variant(s): or boc·ci or boc·ce ˈbä-chç
Function: noun
Etymology: Italian bocce, plural of boccia ball, from Vulgar Latin *bottia boss
Date: 1860
: a game of Italian origin similar to lawn bowling played on a long narrow usually dirt court."

Go figure!

{I see this spelling for bocce once in a while. I don't know what to make of it either. Probably just English speaking people trying to get it to look like the way they pronounce it.}


Gotcha Bocce's Bob Valvano (Louisville, KY) ran another successful celebrity bocce fundraiser for the V Foundation For Cancer Research.

Check out the web site:

"This is the official site for the 5th annual Bob Valvano Celebrity Bocce Tournament (VBOCCE V) which will take place October 13, 2008."

The site boasts "Helping create the largest free prostate cancer screening site in the USA!!!"

{Bob Valvano is doing great work for a great cause. And he's skillfully using bocce to help get the job done. Hats off to Bobby V. See photos of his Gotcha Bocce facility here: }


Terry Martin is looking for bocce play in Cincinnati...

"I have been lawn bowling for the last 2 summers. The sport struggles in our area to find new blood. Do you have any information on organized bocce leagues in the Greater Cincinnati area?"

{I don't have any bocce contacts thereabouts. Do any readers have the skinny on bocce in that area? Contact Terry directly at - send me a copy of the email so I can add it to my directory too. Thanks.}


Karen Smith is on the Property and Grounds Committee at her bocce venue...

"We're Sun City Aliante (North Las Vegas) and we need to re-do our courts and the builder laid concrete and then felt on top of that. Needless to say, they are buckling due to the nearby grass that is being overwatered. We plan to solve ALL the problems at the same time but 'bocce ball' experts are hard to come by."

{Yes, the Bocce experts are hard to come by. California's David Brewer ( ), Washington's Tom McNutt ( ) and Michigan's Michael Grasser ( ) are the top guns in the field right now. Give them a shout.}


New Hampshire fall league forming...

Anyone in our neck of the woods who wants to play in a newly forming fall league come on down Monday nights to the Phanzone in Hampstead, NH.

The Phanzone, the new home for my non-profit group's bocce operations, is an indoor soccer facility. We'll set up our four 80' by 12' courts right on the field turf soccer surface from 7:00 - 9:00 PM. We'll have two courts open for free play and the other two to teach any newcomers how to play. After a couple more Mondays of open bocce, we'll see if there is enough interest for a Monday evening league.

The Phanzone is located at 142 State Rt. 111, Hampstead, NH.


George Furlan sends news of his up-coming World Series Bocce Invitational from March 12 - 15, 2009 in Cape Coral, Florida.

Sponsored by International Marble in cooperation with CCBA, the event offers a guaranteed $6000 first prize.

New Veterans Park Bocce Courts (enclosed courts preventing weather delays), 4400 Coronado Parkway.

Entrance fee = $375 per team - 3-player teams must be registered NLT 2/25/09.

Thursday 3/12/09 = practice day

Friday 3/13/09 at 3:00 PM is registration/rules discussion/position draw followed by tournament play and will continue thru 3/14 and 3/15.

Contact George Furlan @ 239-275-9968


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 #19 - May 12, 2003

Dealing with a high "players-to-court" ratio…

Methuen is in the northeast corner of Massachusetts, not exactly a hotbed for bocce. There are a number of leagues in the western part of the state (private club teams from around the Springfield area). And there are pockets of bocce activity in Central Mass. and around Boston, but California it’s not. Still, we take every opportunity to promote the sport, and virtually everyone to whom we introduce the game likes it.

Our Monday morning recreational bocce get-together started with a handful of players and has grown to more than twenty. We play one Monday at my home court and the next at Del Bracci’s, an eighty-seven year-old former National Super Senior Downhill Ski Champ. {When Del got to the final heat for the championship, his two competitors still in the running for the gold were former Olympians from Rumania. Del beat them both handily.}

{Note: Del is closing in on his 93rd birthday and still in the bocce line-up.}

Each of our two outdoor bocce venues has just one court. We like to play with eight players, four per team. We station four players at each end. While one end plays, the other coaches, cajoles, communes, or otherwise kibitzes until it’s their turn to roll.

When we grew to twelve players, we created three teams and made one sit out and partake of coffee and pastry while awaiting their turn. Sometimes we added another half set of balls, putting six players on a team, each rolling two balls.

When we grew even larger, we played games to six or eight points to shorten the “down time.”

This past Monday began our outdoor season at my home court and, with fourteen players present, we took a different tact. One group played on the Har-Tru surface while the other played on the side yard lawn. The winners on the lawn advanced to the court, and the losers on the court moved to the grassy venue.

I had almost forgotten how much I enjoyed playing on the lawn, where “reading the green” comes in handy, and home court advantage really kicks in. I tossed the pallino off my chain link fence knowing full well that if I rolled my bocce ball directly at the closed gate it would carom off, rebound gently, and continue down the slight decline toward the object ball. And no one can outplay me around the exposed roots of my old willow tree.

Many of us bocce junkies will play anywhere, on any surface with any equipment and any rule variations. We just want to play!

In the next couple of weeks we will be evaluating three different types of inexpensive, portable outdoor courts, the brain child of Chris Pfeiffer. Chris is one of the “good guys” of bocce, contributing a great deal of volunteer time to Special Olympics Wisconsin. He's founded a company called Backyard Bocce to promote and market his invention.

Made of rope, nylon webbing, or vinyl mesh, the courts are purportedly easy to set up and take down, and serve to demarcate boundaries for playing on grass or dirt. They sound very exciting, but as always, I’ll withhold judgment until my bocce buddies and I get to try out the merchandise. Stay tuned.

{Note: The Chris Pfeiffer courts are still available, but two of the three different set-ups have been phased out. Check them out here:


Teena Marie of Campo di Bocce sends these links to photos from this year's nationals...


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.

Seen construction stages of Tom Diemer's Annandale, NJ court?

Photos of the week
Lynnfield, Massachusetts bocce lover Peter Gravallese sends photos of his 10’ x 60’ court with a Har-Tru playing surface.

"I live in the Sherwood Forest section of Lynnfield and each year hold the Sherwood Forest Invitational for all my buddies.

Food, drink, cigars and plenty of ball busting, What’s better than that?

{Peter uses the 45 degree angle corner boards, something we don't see much of nowadays. He explains...}

"As for the corners, it was recommended by the guy who helped me build it so I figured it was worth a try and they could easily be removed later.

I play with the back wall live so having the corners adds another dimension, i.e. the ability to bring a ball side to side along the back wall. Sometimes a guy will bang it off the back wall hard and play the rebound. At that point I threaten to take the back wall out of play entirely and they knock it off.

I have played with the back wall 'out of bounds' and it’s a different, more demanding game."

{Back wall dead unless your ball hits a ball or the pallino first is what the USBF Open Rules recommend. But, any way that people play and enjoy the game is just fine.}

View this week's photos

Bocce product of the week
Corporate Outings/Parties by the Bocce Guy and His Posse

{This is the best bocce "product" we offer. That's me talking to "the troops" in the photo to the right}

We're scheduling company outings and parties for the winter season (outdoors in warm climates or indoors in function halls in cooler climes). What better way to promote this in the ezine than by reprinting a thank you from a satisfied client?

This one is from Heather Huebner, Manager, Corporate Events, Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection & Insurance Co. We ran an event for her in Ft. Lauderdale on the grounds of a mansion.

"I wanted to officially thank you for the GREAT afternoon of Bocce in Fort Lauderdale on February 29 for my group. After months of planning, exchanging ideas and talking through the various aspects of the event, a very fun, organized Bocce outing was orchestrated perfectly. Your organizational skills and attention to detail were very evident throughout the planning process and execution.

The color-coded team tags, scoreboards, referee outfits, ten Bocce courts, team brackets, etc., all made the event flow smoothly. As we said would happen, everyone had a grand time and wanted to play the championship round - even the 'skeptical' folks played until the end! My guests truly enjoyed themselves and talked about the Bocce Outing for the remainder of the seminar.

Thank you again, Mario, for all your hard work in making the Bocce Outing a very successful event - I welcome the opportunity to work with you again."

{Contact me at or 978-686-8679 to discuss a possible outing for your group.}

View photos of the outing referred to above...

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}


Bocce Ball Sets

Patio Furniture

Entertainment Centers


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.


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.


March 12 - 15, 2009 - Florida - Cape Coral. World Series Bocce Invitational. $6000 first place guaranteed. New Veterans Park Bocce Courts. 3-player teams - round robin. Contact George Furlan @ 239-275-9968.


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