The Joy of Bocce Weekly
In This Issue: Vol. VII, Issue 5 - February 4, 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 #5 - February 4, 2008
Publisher: Mario Pagnoni Copyright 2008
76 Emsley Terrace, Methuen, MA 01844 (vm 800-211-1202 ext 4949)

Greetings Bocce Brethren,

Still going strong on my promise to get the ezine out more regularly this year. Fifth week, fifth issue this year. And this with the New England Patriots in the SuperBowl on the same day as my weekly publishing deadline!

Please help by keeping me posted on bocce happenings in your area. We get lots of feedback from the West Coast crowd, less from the rest of the USA. people want to hear about the game they love (and see snapshots), no matter how big or small the event.

This month we are gearing up for a big corporate outing in Fort Lauderdale - photos and info to follow.

Keep on rollin',
Mario Pagnoni (The Bocce Guy)

Seen the NC courts built in honor of George Detweiler

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

Lou Ures of Florence, Oregon is promoting the game in his neck of the woods. That's him on his home court in the photo to the right.

"I'm sending you a newspaper article on my backyard bocce court and a few comments including one on why you should be a better bocce player than you think you are. There is a great deal I want to learn about bocce and I briefly touch on some of my feelings. Now since I lost my voice to cancer my wife says I talk too much and my letter and e-mails may reflect that so I'll try to keep them brief. (In today's world I also feel you must maintain a good sense of humor.)

The response from people who have read the article and are interested in bocce has been very encouraging.

Now I know you Italians claim to have invented the game, but as I’m Yugoslav, (Yurasovich – mother, Dalmatian: father. Croatian) I’m genetically tied to the game. I don’t go as far as to say 'I come from a long line of bocce players', but I know my father, his father and probably their fathers played the game. The article also mentions the game playing to 14 points (actually 12) and that the ball weighs 3 pounds. That’s probably only important if you were to drop a ball on your big toe.

You mentioned in your internet write up your love for the game but that you’re not that great a player. I’m thinking you might be selling your abilities short. {Obviously Ures has never seem me play.}

I would consider myself a good player (above average) but not a great player. I feel there is a huge gap between good and great bocce and strategy plays a big part (probably an understatement) in filling that gap.


I plan to purchase your book, but would ask which edition covers strategy in detail?

{The 2nd edition has an expanded chapter on strategy and tactics.}

I also feel your research and knowledge of league organization will be of great help to me if I’m to get the ball rolling (pun intended) here in Florence.

{The 2nd edition has a chapter titled "Organizing A League/Promoting The Game". It's great to have people in different parts of the USA all with a common goal - promoting the game we love. More on the book here:

e-book version available here: }


I absolutely LOVE getting emails like the following from Don Augustine.

"I have a new email address that I use down here in Florida." {He gives me the new email address and adds "I dont want to miss the Joy of Bocce, I enjoy it very much and I hope to have some pictures for you shortly."

{So many readers change email addresses and forget to send me the new one. Don not only sends the address but will send photos to boot. What could be better?}



Last week we posted Dr. Joe DeFrank's (University of Hawaii) version of bocce:

Click here for Hawaiian Rules Bocce

Click here for Tournament Rules (Hawaiian)

Also, he asked to "...solicit the collective knowledge of the Bocce Nation regarding some old bocce balls that I found in my grandfather's basement in 2005. My grandfather (Rosolino Finazzo) was born in the town of Carini, Sicily near Palermo. The balls are wooden and some have 1-2 nail heads with what looks to be remnants of leather beneath them. I'm not sure where these balls came from but my grandfather emigrated to America through Ellis Island and lived in South Jersey. I wanted to restore these balls to some sort or original condition but was warned not to alter them until I got more information on what ‘Restored’ really means. I have attached some images of these balls and would like to have them published in your e-zine with the following questions:

1) Can anybody describe the proper method to restore these balls to their original condition?
2) Should they be altered at all?
3) What is the purpose of the nail heads?
4) Should the nail heads be retained in any restoration effort?"

{I added the photos of the mystery bocce to the Hawaiian Bocce pics on Bocce Venues: - scroll to bottom of the other Hawaiian bocce photos. Contact the good doctor here:
URL: }

This week I received a detailed and eloquent response from Frank Pipal of USA Petanque { }...

"It might be going far afield to guess that the balls actually made the trip from Sicily - don't you think? At least not at the same time as Grandpa. I'd venture that the average emigrant was probably not thinking about what he would do with his spare time when he reached A-meh-ri-ca. Let me make a recommendation here for a movie to rent - 'The Golden Door' if you haven't already seen it. Molto bene.

I suppose a student of old boules might be able to tell something from the type of wood used, but he'd have to be a hell of an expert to say where they were made based on that. From the photos they look as though they might possibly be lignum vitae (as used to be used for lawn bowls). Knowing the weight of them would quickly tell if this is in the ballpark or not.

From those earlier boules lyonnaises that you found in NYC we know that it was economically feasible to import boules across the ocean, and if these are especially fine specimens (lignum or other exceptional wood) maybe there was a trade in sending them from where they knew how to make the best ones. That begs the question, where was that? Sicily? Mainland Italia? Or - God forbid - France?

On the other hand, if there were enough players, perhaps a local woodshop turned them out to meet the demand - after all, wood turning is not rocket science and there have always been great lumberyards in NY where you can get anything you want in the way of exotic wood.

It looks (from the photo it's hard to tell for sure) as though there might be some sort of waxy finish on them. That's not a bad idea given that they are to be used outdoors and subject to dirt, moisture and also changes of humidity.

1) Can anybody describe the proper method to restore these balls to their original condition?

To me they look like they might be quite close to their original condition as is --- i.e. I think they look great!

2) Should they be altered at all?

If this was antiques-roadshow, I bet the expert would say leave them alone (and enthuse about their 'patina' and the tangibility of their history of joyful service…)

3) What is the purpose of the nail heads?

It doesn't seem that there are enough nails to have been used to 'armor' the boules a la boules cloutees does it? You know, those first early ones where there were only isolated nails here and there.

Makes you wonder if the cracks are there because of the nails, or if the nails are there because of the cracks. He says there's remains of leather under the nailheads, that sounds like maybe the cracks started to show and someone tried to make a (rather bizarre) repair.

4) Should the nail heads be retained in any restoration effort?

I suppose if they were mine and I wanted to use them once in a great while, then I'd very gingerly remove the nails, and then cram a little colored hard wax (the stuff they sell for hiding finishing nails) in the hole (I'd probably leave the crack alone, but I suppose a little of the same color-matched wax wouldn't hurt to keep moisture out...) Wax products can at least be removed one day if the people at Christy's decide that's the way to go."


Mark sends news of his group's bocce style...

"I enjoyed the articles on Cut Throat Bocce and thought I'd tell you about our version of the game. Though there are fancy bocce clubs and courts in nearby St. Louis, we rural types play a courtless version of the game. We call it Hillbilly Bocce.

We gather for beer, bratwursts, and bocce. We usually use a field, empty lot, or our backyards for the playing area. The play depends on how lazy your friend is with the lawn care. Most of the time we loft the balls, especially in fields. We use normal scoring. No limit on distance and all players start from the spot the pallino-chucker throws. We don't worry about a center or foul line. Balls don't have to hit ground before striking other balls or pallino."

{I remember this style of bocce well and have often lamented that, since we built courts we abandoned this enjoyable style of play (which Playaboule's Bede Kortegast calls "petanque with bocce balls.")

Sometimes I think we may have lost something with the transition from playing informally on the lawn to playing a tad more formally on enclosed courts.}



From Joy of Bocce Weekly Volume 1, Issue 1 - January 7, 2002

Disclaimer: Hey, I don’t claim to be a bocce pro. Heck, I’m not even a very good player – but no one loves the sport more than I do. My contribution to the game is in having interviewed many of the top players and then assembling the information into a concise, easy-to-read book. What I’ve created is comparable to what others have done for softball, soccer, and other sports. This Ezine is a forum for bocce lovers. I’ll spout off on what I know about various bocce related issues and ask for readers’ feedback and disseminate those views in future issues. If the readership gets large enough, maybe The Joy of Bocce Weekly (along with can have a unifying influence on the game. This issue is the first in a kind of a trial run. If The Joy of Bocce Weekly is well received, the plan is to publish weekly as of March, 2002.

{Well, things have worked out pretty well. I'm still not a great player, although I am a lot better than I was when I wrote those words. The ezine and web site have helped the game grow, but it's reach is still not far enough yet. I believe we can get there in another year or so. Let's all keep at it!}


More info regarding Joe DeStadio's question about covering courts with an artificial surface.

The poured surface mentioned last week is a self-leveling polyurethane resin. It's the surface of choice at high quality bocce venues in California, Michigan, Missouri, and Illinois. Contact Americo Rizza (Windsor, Ontario) @ 519-980-0172 or


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 shorts. In addition, I’m asking readers to submit new shots – 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.


Drive to get Bocce to the Senior Games in 2009

Still time to lobby to get Bocce to the national senior games.

Lobbying efforts should be directed to:

Ray Hoyt
Director of National Games and Athlete Relations
National Senior Games Association
PO Box 82059
Baton Rouge, LA 70844-2059

If we can get the games recognized, that would mean that 2008 would be a qualifying year and 2009 we could compete in the "Senior Olympics" in San Francisco, CA. This would go a long way toward getting our sport the notoriety it deserves. Send an email - send a letter - offer to host a qualifier in your state if there is none. Bocce is headed to the mainstream. It just needs a little push from people like you and me.

The Doc Holliday Tourney - Griffin, GA...

Photos of the week
This week's photos come courtesy of Charles G. Apuan of Las Cruces New Mexico. They show his beautiful backyard court built in honor of his son, Sgt. Matthew S. Apuan, who died in Baghdad, Iraq on February 18, 2007, during his second tour in that country.

Says Apuan...

"On his first tour, he came home for two weeks for R&R. On the day before he returned to Iraq, he told me that should anything happen to him, that I was to install a bocce court behind the house.

I learned to play bocce with elderly Italians many years ago in Monterey, California. My son knew I love the game, and the court makes me both sad and happy at the same time.

{Happy and sad at the same time. I feel the same way as I read Charles' words. To lose a child is such a tragedy. The bocce court and the joy it will bring is a wonderful tribute to the memory of Sgt. Matthew S. Apuan.}

The surface is SynLawn synthetic grass. The court is 60' x 10'. The only maintenance I've had to do is blowing the leaves off with an electric blower before playing."

{I asked Charles for more info on the subsurface preparation. We are concerned with making the surface roll fast and true with as little bounce as possible.}

"Here is the online address for the SynLawn description of the base preparation. A very thin layer of sand was also placed on top of the compacted aggregate (a fertilizer spreader was used) because the installers said the balls would roll quicker/better (something to that effect). "

{These photos will become a permanent part of the Joy of Bocce web site (Bocce Venues). Please follow Charles' lead and send pictures of bocce in your area.}

View this week's photos

Bocce product of the week

I've evaluated these and they are great. They're very sturdy and obviously of high quality. What a bonus - they're the "right" size for bocce – 107 mm.

These are not the balls that glow under black lights, these have internal lights that blink when you activate them.

All you need do is turn the cap on each ball clockwise to start its light flashing. Turn the cap counterclockwise to turn off the light. These are great fun to play on the carpet in the rec room with the lights turned off. Children and adults seem to like them equally well.

Playaboule always has the most reasonably priced bocce items on the web. Their low prices make some of us in the "bocce business” wonder how they make any money.

Worth every penny of the $89.95 list price, this set is a “steal” at the sale price of $49.95.

For more info or to order, check out Playaboule's newly revised (and much improved) web site which includes a well done video on how the light up bocce set works. {Click the picture above - copyright Playaboule - or the link below.}

From the web site:

We own the molds.!!

This set is the ONLY official Bocce size 107mm dia Lighted Bocce Ball set available anywhere in the world. We guarantee it.!

• This set includes ALL of the following:
• Set of 8 FLASHING Glo Bocce balls
• 2 Glow Green, 2 Glow Blue, 2 Gow Red, 2 Glow Yellow
• 1 Glow White jack ( pallina )
• Nylon carry case with webbing handles
• 2 sets of batteries ( one is preinstalled for testing purposes)
• Screwdriver ( to undo battery enclosure )
• Instructions
• Measuring string and Tape measure
The balls are made of a high quality, durable resin material, with the Playaboule logo molded in. Because the balls are translucent the LED light can shine through making the balls flash and glow in the dark. Simply rotate the screw-cap to turn the light on/off (see video) to activate your lighted bocce set.

Note: Replaceable Alkaline batteries are pre-installed and are included for testing purposes only. A fresh set is also included. Batteries can last for much more than 20 hours.

We designed these balls as a solid sphere then drilled and threaded a hole in the side for the LED plug. Being solid, these balls are almost unbreakable.!!! You can crash the balls together without fear of damaging the balls or the LED components.

Great recreational set and perfect for evening play! At the beach, camping, back yard, etc. When the sun goes down don't stop playing, START playing with this glo bocce ball set."

{P.S. There's an equally good Glo Boules set that are petanque size... click this link: }

Check out Glo Bocce at Playaboule...

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}

Shop at

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.


February 9, 2008 – California - Los Gatos Campo di Bocce. Maureen Albanese Valentine's Day Tournament. OPEN, 2 women and 2 men players. Contact Teena Marie @ 925-249-9800.


February 17, 2008 - Illinois - Northbrook Pinstripes Tourney begins at noon. 32 teams of 4 with a buy-in of $25/person. First place is $2500 cash, 2nd place = $500 Pinstripes gift card, and 3rd place = $250 Pinstripes gift card. Contact Janine Bobko @ or 847-480-2323.


February 23, 2008 – California - Stockton. Italian Athletic Club. OPEN, 3 players including at least 1 woman. Contact Romano Lotti @ 209-951-8256.


March 15, 2008 – California - Stockton. Italian Athletic Club. Elkhorn Bocce Club’s Inaugural Tournament. RAFFA, 3 Players. Contact Luca Fontana @ 209-931-4639.


March 21, 2008 - Massachusetts - North Andover. Come on down for an informal bocce event at our indoor venue at 1600 Osgood St, off Rte. 125. We'll sign up at 7:00 PM and draw teams for play beginning at 7:15 PM. Might be doubles, triples or four-player teams (depending on the turnout). $30 covers play, prizes, and refreshments (pizza and soft drinks). Call Mario @ 978-686-8679 or email .


March 22, 2008 – California - Sacramento. East Portal Bocce Club. OPEN, 4 players. Contact Vernon Cooper @ 916-961-2404.


March 29, 2008 – California - Los Gatos Campo di Bocce. Twelfth Annual Los Gatos Bocce Club Tournament. OPEN, 4 players. Contact Bill Schlaefer @408-379-9409.


April 5, 2008 – California - Stockton. Waterloo Gun and Bocci Club - OPEN, 4 players, including at least 2 women. Contact David Canclini @ 209-957-3314.


April 12, 2008 – Californai - San Francisco - Aquatic Park Bocce Club. VOLO, Men’s U.S. Volo Championships, Progressive Throw and Precision Throw. Contact Benji Tosi @ 415-238-7995.


April 13, 2008 – California - Martinez. Left Coast Bocce Club, RAFFA, doubles, 1 woman and 1 man. Contact Maria Narayan @ 415-454-7853.


April 19, 2008 - Washington - Bellingham. 6th annual Bellingham Bay Bocce Tournament - Http://www. . Open rules - 32 four-person teams. Contact Tom @ 360-224-2909 or check the link at to register.


April 19, 2008 – California - Fairfield. Fairfield Bocce Federation. OPEN, 4 women players. Contact Nancy Scocci @ 707-428-4471.


April 26, 2008 – California - South San Francisco. Italian American Citizen’s Club - OPEN, 3 players. Contact Alvaro Bettucchi @ 650-871-9278.


May 3, 2008 – California - San Mateo. Beresford Park. Peninsula Italian American Social Club. OPEN, 4 women players. Contact Rose Viscuso @ 650-349-7732.


May 3, 2008 – California - San Mateo. Peninsula Italian American Social Club. RAFFA, 3 players. Contact Adriano Undorte @ 650-591-3318.


May 10, 2008 – California - Sacramento. East Portal Bocce Club. RAFFA, 3 players. Contact Vernon Cooper @ 916-961-2404.


May 17, 2008 – California - South San Francisco. Italian American Citizen’s Club - OPEN, 4 players, 2 women and 2 men. Contact Susan Botti @ 650-589-4356.


May 17, 2008 - New Jersey - 2nd annual NJ Bocce Invitational supporting New Jersey charities. Contact Frank Valanzola @ 973-793-5406 or . View web site at


June 7, 2008 – California - Livermore Campo di Bocce. Western Sector Raffa Championships. RAFFA, 3 Players. Contact Teena Marie @ 925-249-9800.


June 17 - 18, 2008 – Illinois - Highwood. Highwood Bocce Club. United States National Open Championships. OPEN, 4 players. Contact John Ross @ 408-892-2983.


June 19 - 21, 2008 – Illinois - Highwood. Highwood Bocce Club. United States National Punto, Raffa, Volo Championships. RAFFA 4 players, (3 player teams also acceptable) - Match Play (triples, singles, doubles). Contact John Ross @ 408-892-2983.


July 18 - 20, 2008 - New York - Rome. 35th annual World Series of Bocce. 4 person teams - open division and ladies' division. Contact Al Orbinati Jr. at or download application at .


August 2, 2008 – California - Sacramento. East Portal Bocce Club. Western Sector Open Championships. OPEN, 4 players. Contact Vernon Cooper @ 916-961-2404.


August 22 - 24, 2008 - Ohio - Mayfield Heights. Marshall Ford Cleveland International Challenge Cup of Bocce. Mayfield Heights City Park. Sponsored by Marshall Ford, Club Molisani, and City of Mayfield Heights. Wayne Farinacci, Tournament Director (initiated this tournament in 1984). Open and Women's divisions, 4 person teams. Entry Fee $150 per team. Prize money to be determined. Contact Wayne @ 216-509-4353 or


August 22 - 24, 2008 - Ohio - Wickliffe. WICKLIFFE ITALIAN-AMERICAN CLUB. 25th annual CLEVELAND CHALLENGE CUP OF BOCCE sponsored by Pat O'Brien Chevrolet. $5000 first prize, $15,000 in total prize money. Contact Gino Latessa @ 216-789-6393. Applications and info online @

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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