The Joy of Bocce Weekly
In This Issue: Vol. VII, Issue 8 - February 25, 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 #8 - February 25, 2008
Publisher: Mario Pagnoni Copyright 2008
76 Emsley Terrace, Methuen, MA 01844 (vm 800-211-1202 ext 4949)

Greetings once again bocce faithful,

My bocce posse and I are flying to Fort Lauderdale this coming weekend to run a corporate outing on the grounds of a mansion. So, I'm not sure if I'll be able to get an issue of the ezine out next week, but will give it my best shot. On the bright side, I should have some good photos and an interesting anecdote or two from the Florida trip for that next issue.

Keep your first roll in front of the target ball...

Mario Pagnoni (The Bocce Guy)

View the Grella Compound - one of the top backyard bocce venues in New England...

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


I’ve been having a recurring bocce dream lately and I was hoping some reader might interpret it for me.

{The last time I had a recurring dream was when college basketball adopted the three-point shot. Every night I had a vision that I had another year of eligibility…but I could interpret that dream pretty easily without professional help.}

In my current dream I’m "The Bocce Guy" appearing on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. {Hey, it’s a dream. I’m entitled to dream big…even delusional if I want…}

I had just finished running a huge celebrity bocce tournament for Oprah Winfrey in which we raised a zillion dollars for child abuse prevention.

Leno found it curious that we needed qualified referees for the games, saying “How hard can it be to referee bocce?”

“It’s not the officiating that’s difficult,” I offered.
“It’s assigning the referees to the respective matches.”

{Note: We were at one of the world class bocce venues…might have been Campo di Bocce or Palazzo di Bocce.} I explained to Leno that I travel with a pool of referees from my bocce posse. They’re high maintenance because they continually lobby me to referee their favorite personality’s match. At Oprah’s event we had big-name actors like Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock and professional athletes like Derek Jeter and Tom Brady.

The biggest problem occurred when the following message came over the intercom…

“Celebrity doubles match on Court 1 to begin in three minutes. Catherine Zeta Jones and Salma Hayek report to Court 1 immediately.”

Now Court 1 is way over to one side of the building, and all at once there was a massive testosterone migration in that direction. I mean, every guy in the place simultaneously made a beeline for Court 1.

“It was like a stampede,” I said. “If we were an ocean liner, we’d have capsized.”

“So how did you end up handling the refereeing?” Leno asked.

“Well…I felt a moral imperative to oversee that match myself.”


Quite a few readers reported on scoring and measuring discussed in recent issues.

Mike Scerra says...

"As far as scoring goes:

In Rome, NY we play all games up to 16 (you do not have to win by 2). Almost all measurements are done with a standard tape measure, however, measurements that are too close to call get an 'inside' measure (antenna)."

Marsha Golletti writes...

"The Golletti family in John's Creek, GA plays to 11 points and does not use the deuce win rule. Our bocce set came with a telescoping metal 'stick' that looks a lot like a car's radio antenna. It extends from 3" to about 30" and works just fine for close measurement. When the distances are bigger than that we usually step it off.

Thanks for your newsletter. We always enjoy it."

Peter Gravallese of Lynnfield, MA writes...

"I consulted with you when I built my court (approximately 2 years ago). I met you when I purchased my Perfetta Balls at your house. I have your book and have given it as gifts. I’ve been enjoying my court immensely.

We play games of 11 straight up, no 2 point rule.

Used a small carpenter’s tape measure, then purchased your device below. I had the same problem. It took many games for my buddies to catch on that the actual 'distance' doesn’t matter. Some of them still don’t get it.

When spring comes and things turn green I’ll take some nice photos and send them to you for your new book."

{Photos for the new edition - music to my ears! Most people I hear from play matches to 11 or 12 points with tournament action going to 15 or 16 points. Not many seem to be playing "win by two" or "deuce game." One Massachusetts Sons of Italy tournament played "deuce game" which I think is a really bad idea for tournaments. You want to keep things moving and the event on time. Win by two might prolong things and put you behind schedule.}



Another Great Idea to Help Promote The Game

I've teamed up with New Hampshire Italian Language Instructor Dawn Mattera Young. Our idea is to offer bocce to colleges that have foreign language departments. We could get the college kids playing bocce and Dawn would help hone their Italian speaking skills. We might even get some tournament action going - perhaps pitting the Italian and French Departments against each other.

We can set up template courts on the grounds (lawns) of the campus and run informal or tournament style play. Or, we can set up temporary courts indoors on any large carpeted area.

Is there a college or prep school in your area that offers foreign languages? If you send me the school's name, contact info or even better, someone you know at the school, I'd appreciate it. Please REPLY.


Don't forget Jason Schriml's big Special Olympics event on March 8 - 10 in Linthicum, MD. Jason is looking for help to run a Tactics and Strategy teaching session (coaches/clinicians needed). Contact Jason @ 1-800-541-7544 ext 118,, or



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

Variations of Play

In 1995 the Special Olympics World Games were held in Connecticut, and I served as one of the bocce officials. (Four years later the Games moved to North Carolina, and in 2003 we are headed to Dublin, Ireland). During the rare “down time” when we weren’t officiating, we played bocce with some of the Connecticut locals. They insisted that the initial toss of the “pill” had to come to rest at least 12 inches from the side boards. If it stopped say, 8 inches or so from the side, one player would give it a gentle kick into legal position (approximately 12 inches from the board) rather than roll it back to the player to try again. They reasoned that this kept the game moving. The position of the object ball (now in the same general area as the person rolling it intended) is not going to unfairly favor one team or the other. For informal play, this makes a lot of sense to me.

At the North Carolina World Games in 1999 we encountered locals who played a fascinating variation. They favored teams of four players, each rolling one ball. Furthermore, the balls are marked 1, 2, 3, and 4. Teams must decide at the start of the game who will be first roller, second, etc. This order may not be altered during the course of play. This they claimed partially negated an outstanding player’s skills. For example, a player couldn’t say “Tom, you take this short. You’re better at hitting than I am.” The sequence can never be altered. Another nifty difference to their play was in the “hitting”. They never rolled with speed to knock an opponent’s ball away. They rolled almost as if for point, gently nudging the opponent’s ball out of position and leaving their ball close to the target. Conventional wisdom is that faster speeds make for truer rolls, but it was hard to argue with the uncanny accuracy we witnessed at Fearrington Village, NC.

Part of me likes this idea that you play the home team’s rules when you visit their court, and they have to play your rules when they come to your park. It’s part of the charm and fascination of the game. The variations are testimony to the enduring appeal of an activity that evolved in different parts of the world, is played somewhat differently from place to place, yet whose basic idea is the same. Let’s see who can roll, toss or otherwise deliver their bocce balls closest to the object ball.

And yet another part of me cries out for standardization for everybody so that the game can advance to the level of say, professional bowling. Hey, I like bowling, but bocce has it all over bowling. It has a cerebral aspect that I don’t see in just knocking pins down. If bowling can achieve such a high level, there is no reason bocce can’t as well.

How do you play bocce? On what surface? Grass, dirt, gravel, stone dust, artificial surface? Court or no court? Do you have a ditch at the ends? A swingboard to deaden the play of balls rebounding off the back wall? Side- and end-boards? Do you play the ball dead off the backboard if your attempt to hit an opponent’s ball misses…or does “anything go?”

{Please REPLY}


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 (But it's getting late) to lobby to get Bocce to the national senior games.

Write, email, or snail mail:

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.

See our group's evolutionary path for temporary, indoor courts...

Photos of the week
This week's photos come were taken by yours truly when I spent a weekend at Columbia Inn. The nifty Bed and Breakfast in Manchester, Massachusetts comes complete with a 60' by 10' stone dust bocce court covered by trellis and grape vines.

Owned and operated by Tom & Pam Grady, one Yahoo reviewer called Columbia Inn "...the best kept B&B secret of Boston's North Shore." {807 Summer St., Manchester-By-The-Sea, MA 01944 - Phone: 978-526-1000}.

I can personally recommend this inn, and not only because of the bocce. During our stay there we played bocce and enjoyed the company of some terrific people (as you probably know, bocce lovers tend to be some of the friendliest people on the planet).

Tom told a great story about a couple from the Canary Islands (Malcolm and Rosemary) who came to Columbia Inn for a one-night stay. Lawn bowls players who had never experienced bocce, Tom and Pam introduced them to the game and the couple ended up staying two weeks. "We couldn't get them off the court" said Grady.

If you are looking for a place to stay in Massachusetts, away from the hustle and bustle of Boston, check out

{These photos are now a permanent part of the Joy of Bocce web site at Bocce Venues.}

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}


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.


March 8 - 10, 2008. Maryland - Linthicum. Special Olympics Coaches and Officials school. Volunteers/coaches/clinicians needed (especially for Tactics and Strategy teaching session on Sunday morning). Contact Jason Schriml, Sr. Director of Coaches Education and Training - Special Olympics Maryland.
1-800 541-7544 ext 118,,


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 – California - 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 3, 2008 - Florida - St. Augustine. "Bocce on the Beach"- Open Rules - $20 per person. Barbeque lunch. First, Second, and Third place cash prizes. Contact Guy Tomasello @ 904-824-7043.


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


May 24, 2008 – California - Carmel Valley. Carmel Valley Athletic Club. OPEN, 4 players, 2 women and 2 men. Contact Giovanni Napoli @ 831-521-5092.


May 31, 2008 – California - South San Francisco. Italian American Citizen’s Club, RAFFA, women’s doubles. Contact Alvaro Bettucchi @ 650-871-9278.


June 1, 2008 – California - Sutter Creek. Italian Benevolent Society. OPEN, 4 players including at least 1 woman. Contact Rick Wagstaff @ 209-296-6151.


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


June 16 - 17, 2008 – Illinois - Highwood. (Monday - Tuesday). Highwood Bocce Club. United States National Open Championships. OPEN, 4 players. “A” Division and “B” Division. Contact John Ross @ 408-892-2983.


June 18 - 21, 2008 – Illinois - Highwood. Highwood Bocce Club. United States National Punto, Raffa, Volo Championships. RAFFA 4 players, (3 player teams are also acceptable). Match Play (triples, singles, doubles). Women’s Team Division and Men’s Team Division. Contact John Ross @ 408-892-2983.


June 28, 2008 – California - Antioch. Antioch Bocce Federation. OPEN, 4 women players. Contact Lydia Romo @ 925-754-4890.


July 4, 2008 – California - Martinez. Martinez Bocce Federation. OPEN, 2 players. Contact Gene Rittburg @ 925-370-0633.


July 12, 2008 - California, San Rafael. Marin Bocce Federation - Open - Men's Doubles. Contact Diana Pellegrini @ 415-485-5583


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 .


July 19, 2008 – California - Fairfield. Fairfield Bocce Federation. John Magnetti Memorial Tournament. OPEN, 4 players. Contact Nancy Scocci @ 707-428-4471.


July 26, 2008 – California - Martinez. Martinez Bocce Federation. Nor – Cal Championships, OPEN, 4 players. Contact Donna Allen @ 925-229-2644.


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


August, 2008 - Michigan - Coloma. Giardiniera Cup Championship. Round robin seeding followed by double elimination for the top 8 teams. Great food & comaraderie. Contact Paul Cozzi @


August 9, 2008 - California, San Rafael - Marin Bocce Federation - Open - Women's Doubles. Contact Diana Pellegrini @ 415-485-5583.


August 16, 2008 – California - Antioch. Antioch Bocce Federation. OPEN, 4 players, 2 women and 2 men. Contact Manny Romo @ 925-754-4890.


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 @


August 23, 2008 – California - Los Gatos. Shady Oak Cellars “Little Johnny Tournament”. RAFFA, doubles, 1 woman and 1 man. Contact John Ross @ 408-354-0625.


Sept 27, 2008 - California, San Rafael - Marin Bocce Federation - Open - 4 players. Contact Diana Pellegrini @ 415-485-5583.

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