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Bocce After a Thunderstorm

You've scheduled an event and a late-breaking storm has deposited 2 inches of water on your court surface. If the sky has cleared and the weatherman thinks the area is safe from lightning, you just might be able to get the games in...{Photos by Clare Coco Photography - clarecoco.com - click the photo to visit her site}.

The summer of 2008 here in Mass. seemed to include one rainy day after another. (I thought I had moved to London.) Those of us who run programs spent a lot of time removing puddles off softball and baseball diamonds. The same technique can get your bocce court ready (if you don't have good drainage or can't wait for the court to dry out on its own). Note: it's best NOT to sweep the puddles as this will inevitably remove some of the infield/surface material and make the low spot even lower for the next rain storm.

One of the good things about the flooding is that we can see where the low spots are and perhaps fill them in later. The photo reveals that the court is higher and drier on the right side.

Here are the main tools you'll need: a puddle pump, empty buckets, and some stylish fishing boots.

First, pick what looks like the low spot and, using a pointed shovel, dig a hole for the puddle pump to sit in. Don't worry, we'll fill the hole in later. The depression allows water to more readily flow into the base of the puddle pump from where it gets pumped up and out.

Now we start pumping. If you can plug in a sump pump, that might be even better. But most of our ball fields are out in the middle of parks with no access to electricity. So, the puddle pump makes sense. If it works for softball and baseball, it will surely work for bocce.

Buckets fills up pretty quickly. You'll need extras.

It gets to be a lonely job. Solicit help, unless you're a control freak like me.

They advertise that these pumps move 18 - 20 gallons per minute, and I don't doubt it for a minute. You can order one at Amazon.com by clicking below...

Here's the hard part if you don't have a hose connected to the pump: you have to lug the buckets and dump them where the water won't find its way back. Time to recruit some "young pups" for help.

If you can't find any "young pups" with strong backs to lug the buckets, use small buckets.

As the water level drops, you'll need someone to push the water toward the pump. Ace bocce pointer Tony Furnari uses the back side of the lute/scarifier to coerce the water to the pump.

Got most of the water off in under an hour. Ready to move to Phase 2...

Next we spread a drying agent. It goes by different manufacturer's names...Pro's Choice Rapid Dry, Turface Quick Dry, etc. Not Kitty Litter, this is the same stuff they use at Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium. If you get enough of the surface water off the court, a half bag (50 lb bag) should be enough. Look for these products on-line or at a John Deere or Lesco type company.

Here I'm using the 7' drag brush to spread the Rapid Dry. Most people use too much drying agent because they don't remove enough water before applying it.

The "troops" waited patiently, entertaining themselves with mundane chores like consuming fine foods and imbibing choice beverages. By the time the court was pronounced fit for play, they were more eager participants than ever!

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