The Joy of Bocce Weekly
In This Issue: Vol. VII, Issue 39 - November 10, 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 #39 - November 10, 2008
Publisher: Mario Pagnoni Copyright 2008
76 Emsley Terrace, Methuen, MA 01844 (vm 800-211-1202 ext 4949)

Hi gang,

Last week I attended an event where my non-profit group (Ken Waldie Senior Sports Circuit, Inc.) was nominated for a community service award. Those of us who do community service are not usually interested in the personal recognition, but when the organization gets recognized, it makes it that much easier to attract new participants and sponsors. So, although KWSSC wasn't a finalist, we made some strides in the right direction.

Former Boston Celtic player M.L. Carr, who played with Larry Bird, was the guest speaker. He told a great story that I'll paraphrase here...

"Don't be so impressed by those NBA players" said Carr.
"They're not that good. In fact, ANYBODY who can dribble and pass a little can play in the NBA.

I made a career out of this - (Carr pretended to dribble the basketball briefly, then yelled out "Larry!" and made a quick passing motion).

I guess it's true what they said about Bird. His play made those around him that much better.

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

Gary Arnstein's court in San Anselmo, CA...

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

The T-shirt idea from artist and bocce advocate Frank Ansley is a good one, and worth repeating this week...

"We have designed and printed a Bocce t-shirt that has been doing very well in our local Napa Valley bocce league.

We would like to offer this shirt to your readership to consider for bocce tournaments and other special events.
Tournament or event names can be added to the shirts for an additional cost. The 8 color image on the shirt is from a bocce painting 'Volo' from a series of paintings by Napa Valley painter of bocce scenes Frank

The T shirts are high quality 100% cotton and come in white or sand in sizes S M L XL. There are a few XLs available in light blue grey. Shirts are $20 plus shipping and handling. Larger orders will be at a discounted price.

For more details contact Jack or Frank at Grape Impressions. 800-822-9463 or 707-963-1177 (email = )."


Brooklyn's Dan Piselli sent this...

"You may be interested to know that CBS Sunday Morning is running a segment on bocce this weekend- your readers may be interested:

GEIST: Bocce
If you think of Bocce ball as a sport played by older men bickering in Italian, you¢re right. But these days it is also being enjoyed by a new breed of players in hip bars and restaurants. Geist attends the NYC Bocce Championship in Staten Island, a veritable World Series of the sport, where he meets some of those older players (who still bicker in Italian) and takes us to the Union Hall Bar in Brooklyn, N.Y., where the next generation of Bocce players is having a ball.

{The segment aired 11/9/08 and was nicely done, accurately pointing out that there are still a lot of old Italian men playing, but there is also an influx of young professionals and women enjoying the game.}


USBF president Danny Passaglia sent this tidbit...

"On October 25th the Italian Team set the new world record for Volo Rapid Doubles Shooting. They hit 59 out of 60 shots!"

{This is pretty remarkable, amounting to one miss in 60 attempts...almost like a basketball player hitting 59 of 60 shots in a game. Here are some pictures of the speed shooting format from the Joy of Bocce web site... ...note how the target is moved back after each successful hit - also, has some great video segments on Bocce. Last December contributed some amazing footage of the world record (at that time) speed shooting competition where the French team shoots and hits 57 of 59 balls in five minutes. Link is - - note: in the doubles version of the speed shooting, each player takes 4 shots and "hands off" to his partner in a kind of tag team approach - also, the targets are always the 2nd and 4th spots on the mat. }


The Federico Factor

I’ve often said that I should be a lot better bocce player than I am. I mean, I’m a really good athlete, having survived the dog-eat-dog world of high level baseball and basketball at the college and semi-pro level. It’s hard to talk about being a good athlete without sounding like a pompous ass…but that never stopped me before. One of my friends, a successful and prolific writer, always says “Don’t worry about offending – if readers don’t like it, they can write their own newsletter.”

I’m an OK bocce player – kind of a big fish in a small pond hereabouts. But I’ve seen the big fish in the big pond and have been suitably intimidated. I’ve been giving this a lot of thought lately and I am convinced that my lack of talent in bocce is attributed to the Federico Factor. I refer to Joe Federico, my youth coach at the Springfield Boys Club and South End Community Center (Springfield, Mass.). Joe was a great teacher and equally great role model. He was one of the special influences in my life who made me want to become a teacher and a coach.

A first-rate coach and top-shelf human being, Joe taught me the fundamentals of baseball and basketball. When I was 14 years old he taught me how to shoot a basketball in less than five minutes. I was shooting around in the gym by myself. He popped in and began to show me the proper shooting technique.

“Hold the ball like this.
Point your elbow toward the hoop.
Let the ball roll of your fingertips.
Start from in close.
Finish up high with your follow-through, elbow straight and wave goodbye to the ball.
See the backspin that you’re creating?
Now back up a couple steps.
Now a couple more steps.
Now from the foul line.”

In five minutes he was gone and I was hooked.

Once I learned that there was a correct way to grip the ball, release it with the proper technique and follow-through, I practiced religiously and, in short order, made myself what coaches call a “pure shooter.”

I won every free-throw shooting contest I ever entered, once making 142 in a row. A couple years ago at a senior basketball games event I sank 15 consecutive three-pointers. I know that these skills might not necessarily translate to bocce, but I still can’t help thinking I should be a better bocce player.

The difference is that I NEVER HAD ANY COACHING in bocce. I’m self taught. Wouldn’t it be great if we could petition the USBF to send us a coach for a couple days. Teach us the skills of pointing and hitting, and school us on the international game while we’re at it. Maybe the USBF could subsidize the coach’s trip or the group on the receiving end could help cover the costs. It would be money will spent and go a long way toward improving the quality of play in the USA.

And maybe I could win a match or two for a change.


Steve Morris of Terre Haute, Indiana...

"First of all I want to thank you for all of your hard work in sending out the electronic e-mail letter each week about bocce.

I look forward to it in my inbox weekly and share it with my bocce friends.

Here in this part of Indiana we play open bocce as there are no courts close by.

There is an Italian Community a few miles to the North, Clinton, Indiana, but they have not had courts there for a few years.

We have a Bocce Club composed of about fifty members and we play regularly as weather permits. Our big tournaments are held on Labor Day weekend with about 40-50 two-man and women teams competing.

Last year my partner and I were fortunate enough to win the Indiana State title. We have finished second in the Illinois State Tournament also.

Here is where I need your help.

Each year, at the end of January, a group of us travel to Key West, Florida for a mini-marathon and a respite from the Indiana winter. This year will be our third trip.

As we were driving around the island for the last time on the way back to the airport last January, I spotted some bocce courts that are almost at the ocean's edge in Key West, making them the southernmost courts in the USA.

Have you had any communication from that club there or any contact information you could send to me? I want to contact them and perhaps play some court bocce for the first time.

Thanks in advance for any help you can give me on this."

{Steve closes with "None of us is as good as all of us." Can any reader contact him and "hook him up" for court bocce in southern Florida? Email .}


Alvaro Bettucchi of South San Francisco comments on our recent tie-breaking article...

"We all follow the USBF rules. First is the number of wins. Then head to head (who defeats who), then points for and finally points against. We have never had problems with the system."


The Pallino D'Oro is Back

Da Vinci Bocce LLC Presents: The 2008 United States and North American Pallino D’Oro Championships.

Host Club: Ciociaro Club, Windsor, Ontario, Canada

Dates: United States Pallino D’Oro
Friday, December 5, 2008, 12:00pm to 7:00pm.
Saturday, December 6, 2008, 9:00am to 12:00pm.

North American Pallino D’Oro
Saturday, December 6, 2008, 1:00pm to 9:00pm.
Sunday, December 7, 2008, 9:00am to 12:00pm.

Format: The top eight finishers in the U.S. Pallino D’Oro will compete against the top eight finishers in Canada's 2008 Pallino D’ Oro on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. Both tournaments will follow Punto Raffa Volo International Rules.

Players must be members of the U.S.Bocce Federation or Canadian Bocce Federation to compete. Both tournaments to follow round robin format.

Cost: $100.00 U.S. Currency U.S. Pallino D’Oro*
$100.00 Canadian Currency North American Pallino D’Oro*

* Per player per event.

Prizes: $750.00 1st place, $450.00 2nd place, $300.00 3rd place, $200.00 4th place. Both tournaments. Trophies for both events, all four places.

Food: Buffet lunch Saturday at 12:00 noon included.

Contact Michael B. Grasser, owner DaVinci Bocce LLC.
Ph# = 248-505-4744, e-mail = .


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 #3, Issue #34 - September 13, 2004

Luciano Camilli asks a common question...

If a team has won the game but has one more ball in hand, does the player just drop or roll the last ball? Is there an official rule written anywhere as to what is the proper way to dispose of that last ball to officially end the game?"

{When the last point is secured the game is over. No need to roll or just drop balls in front of the other team's face. Just congratulate the other team and move on to the next game or the awards ceremony. Don't know of anywhere it may be written down as a regulation - just an accepted practice in most areas.}


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.

Doc Holliday Bocce Tournament (Georgia)...

Photos of the week
This week's photos come from Chris Payer. I've added them to a new page on the web site which you can get to from Bocce Tidbits. The new page shows samples of nailed boules and antique bocce balls. Some are works of art.

Chris Payer says...

"I am hoping you can help me with some history on a set of vintage bocce balls I own that I don't know much about. They are made from a nice reddish-patina Quebracho wood and are branded in black with the words 'Italy' or 'US'. The style of the 'US' branding looks like it could be 19th century Civil War era. The set totals 19 balls (two sets of eight, with one smaller ball and 3 extras that look drilled and then filled). The wood shows wonderful patina. But I am not certain of age. (See pictures 1st one is drilled and filled, 2nd is the total set and the 3rd is a close up of the 'US' branding)

My thoughts are that it could be from a sports competition representing the United States team; or used by United States Military soldiers; or perhaps as part of the 1896 first Bocce Olympiad in Athens, Greece, or perhaps used in one year of the Bocce World Championships that began in 1947; or the fabled George Washington Mt Vernon set? Also note the emblem above the word Quebracho on the Q ball picture (it looks a bit like a griffin or eagle)?

I would be grateful for any information you may have on age, use, history or any other person/organization that may be able to help me in my inquiry. Note: The balls are branded with 'US' and then they say in small letters 'Made in Italy'. They are not also branded with 'Italy' in the same size as 'US'."

{This was a great chance for me to post some other antique bocce ball pictures. If you can answer any of Chris Payer's questions, please respond to and please cc me as well.}

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}


Save $15 at with code KC-6983

Shop Just Air Hockey Tables Today!

Shop Today


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


December 5 - 7, 2008. Canada - Windsor, Ontario. Ciociaro Club. Da Vinci Bocce LLC Presents The 2008 United States and North American Pallino D’Oro Championships. Contact Michael Grasser at 248-505-4744 or .


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.


March 30 - April 5, 2009. Italy - Bavena. Women's Raffa World Championship. Details TBA.

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