Photo courtesy of The Giardiniera Cup Championship (GCC) Committee (Vincent DiTommaso, Paul Cozzi, Brian Hepner and Brian Harrison)
It is the sincere pleasure of The Giardiniera Cup Championship (GCC) Committee to introduce to The Joy Of Bocce our annual men's bocce tournament that has been proudly operating out of Chicago for five years! The Giardiniera Cup Championship takes place each August in the fields of Coloma, Michigan. Participants travel from Chicago and Los Angeles to compete in this all-day, round-robin played on three PBA regulation-sized bocce courts (60 x 10). Our two side courts are made by enclosing an area with 4X4 beams of wood. Our center court is a regulation bocce ball court made up of two feet of sand, one foot of crushed stone, 6 more inches of sand, and six inches of crushed pea stone. Pea stone is a regional replacement for the traditional crushed oyster shells, which are unfortunately not readily available in the midwest. This court is always home for our Championship Game.
The Cup began in 2000, when we decided to name a bocce tournament after Chicago's favorite pickled condiment (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giardiniera). Our first Cup took place in the summer of 2001, born out of a shared dream and a non-existent budget. The second Cup followed in the summer of 2003 with more food, more friends, and prizes. The Cup, still gaining popularity, has been celebrated every summer after that. In fact, it has captured the attention of so many friends and bocce enthusiasts nation-wide that The Committee had no choice but to make it an invitation-only event.
As one could guess, the food and Di Tommaso family homemade wine play a major role in the popularity of The Giardiniera Cup. The boar sausage, pork chops, and steaks are lovingly grilled to perfection by our chef, The Rog (pronounced "The Rodge"). Delicious Italian beef, roasted peppers, baked mostaccioli, meatballs, pepperoni loafs, and pizza are provided by Freddy's Pizzeria, an authentic Chicago-land Italian grocery store in business since 1968. This year The Committee is discussing a new addition... crawfish!
The bocce tournament itself is very competitive. It consists of a 12 team round robin, followed by a double elimination tournament of the top 8 teams. The championship team may end up playing 12 games over the course of the 10 + hour tournament. It is truly a mark of bocce excellence to win this hallowed tournament.
The Championship team is festooned with prizes including a red, white and green cup-style trophy, which is handed down year to year and two beautifully tailored red and green "Giardiniera Cup Champion" embroidered blazers, to be worn on all formal occasions attended by said winners until the next Giardiniera Cup Championship. In the last few years, The Committee has been well-prepared for the many obstacles and challenges that come along with planning such an extraordinary event. Some tips we have for people who are planning a bocce tournament are:
1) Make sure to follow one set of rules agreed upon by all involved parties prior to tournament play.
2) If any conflict in rules should arise, the final call should be made by the referee of the match, and submitted for approval to your own committee
3) Be sure to have plenty of food and drinks served between and during matches. Have plenty of bottled water on hand to prevent dehydration.
4) Bring extra rope, chalk, spray paint and heavy duty measuring tape. Whistles, pens, paper, sunscreen and bullhorns or megaphones are a plus.
5) Respect, respect, respect.
When a team is no longer involved in the tournament, they either head to an unused court to play for fun or make side bets, or head into the deluxe barn for card games and pool. All in all, The Giardiniera Cup is a fantastic tournament and shall continue for generations.
This year, the Committee will donate a percentage of the proceeds to a not-for-profit organization (undecided, charity to be voted on by Committee members)
We would be proud to be recognized by the fantastic website, The Joy of Bocce!