The Joy of Bocce Weekly
In This Issue: Vol. VIII, Issue 10 - March 23, 2009 
•   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 8, Issue #10 - March 23, 2009
Publisher: Mario Pagnoni Copyright 2008
76 Emsley Terrace, Methuen, MA 01844 (vm 800-211-1202 ext 4949)

Hi again bocce faithful,

We've had a spell of mild weather that is getting people hereabouts talking about outdoor bocce.

The New England college baseball and softball teams schedule games in late March/early April and almost always have to cancel because the fields aren't ready. This year the games seem to be going on as scheduled - a very good sign for our outdoor bocce season!

My group is again hosting the bocce segment of the Mass. Senior Games on May 16, 2009. The event doubles as our non-profit group's annual fund-raiser. Let me know if you are interested in placing an ad in our program book (which we will also post in the ezine at no extra charge). I'll send you the details via "snail mail".

We need to start a serious effort to get bocce recognized as a national event in the Senior Olympics and I am asking you to send an email supporting this effort. The details are listed below under "Bocce news".

Thanks for helping us make this important step for the growth of the game in America.

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

Photos from the Special Olympics World Games 1999...

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

David Camardo sends news from East Portal Park, Sacramento, CA...

"Thirteen teams of four players each in three Round Robin Divisions began play at 9:00 am on a cold, breezy Saturday morning on four outside courts in Sacramento, CA. East Portal Park is the most northern California club in the Western Sector of the U.S.B.F.

Teams and players from all up and down northern California were there for this, our third tournament of the new year. Around 5:00 pm a winning team emerged. Congratulations to Albert Leonardi, Norm Freshet, Ron Jacobs, and Manny Romo.

The East Portal Club is the home club of our new Western Sector President Vern Cooper. That's three tournaments down and 30 more to go in 2009. Add to that the Nationals in June at Livermore, CA, and you get some idea of the scope of the interest and energy there is here in the Western Sector of the U.S.B.F.

{Yes, indeed. There are bocce "movers and shakers" thereabouts. And they have members who keep us posted. Please follow this lead and send info from your neck of the woods.

Judging by the bundled up spectator in the photo, the weather was a bit nippy during this event.}


Sean Krezenski chimes in on last issue's Whose Point?...

"In the game of bocce, errors in officiating happen often. I have witnessed a minimum of one error per game during our international league play and I can honestly admit that I have been responsible for these errors from time to time. Our club takes a simple (and I believe correct) approach on awarding points. The official’s ruling stands and all measurements must be requested at the time of the ruling. In the case of a very close measurement, we may seek a second opinion but once the call is made it stands throughout the inning.

A similar standard is applied to all rules affecting the game (hitting the side boards, ball displacement, etc.)

In international rules, it is imperative that all players acquiesce to a ruling at the time it occurs. In international rules, all balls should be marked to properly apply the rules; however, marking is not an exact science. When a ball is 'put back' after it has been improperly displaced, it may not be returned to the precise location that it originally came to rest. If we were to apply the rule of 'closest ball gets the point' and use the measurements at the end of the inning after all balls have been played, the point awarded could incorrectly (and unfairly) be awarded to the wrong team. To use the original example as an illustration, let’s assume that Red and Green are playing international rules. Red is called the point and has beaten Green by 1/2 cm. Green rolls its last ball displacing Red by 100 cm, allowing the Red point to be returned. For Green to challenge the original measurement after the displacement and return of Red’s ball would be unreasonable."

{This makes perfect sense. Displaced balls can probably never be put back to the EXACT same spot they held originally. It only makes sense that you wouldn't measure now. You may have even measured before the ball was displaced and thus had definite knowledge that the ball was IN.

It also makes sense that we should accept the official's ruling, but I'd feel a lot better about it if the official took it upon himself to measure if it was close. I officiate Open Rules games in the Havana Rollers Tuesday night league (a bunch of cigar smoking bocce aficionados). If I can't call it by eye, I measure without anyone requesting a measurement. What's the big deal? It takes about 10 seconds to measure.

In baseball the umpires are trained never to guess a runner out on a tag play (as opposed to force plays at first, where they are usually called out on anything close). Similarly, why would you want to guess which point is IN? And if you guessed wrong, later finding this out by measurement, why would you want to "stick by your guns" and award the point to the wrong team?

Here's the OPEN Rules scenario that troubles me: (keep in mind that we normally don't have paid, trained and certified officials).

The referee calls RED because he THINKS it's IN,

The players are at the end of the court from whence the roll originated. They see the referee indicate RED and accept his call. Why wouldn't they?

No one calls for a measurement. Why would they? The referee has a lot better view than they do.

After the frame is over the players walk to the other end for the next frame and, from that vantage point, they see that GREEN might actually be in.

Is it fair now that the referee says "Tough Noogies - you should have requested a measurement when you had the chance"?

Or is it fairer that we measure now and find out who indeed deserves the point?

A major focus in officiating circles nowadays is to GET THE CALL CORRECT. We see more and more often the officials in different sports making a controversial call, then caucusing with the rest of the officiating crew before announcing their final ruling.

In ASA softball, sometimes we find out that a movable pitcher's plate or base is in the wrong place (a foot or two off). We are trained to correct the error as soon as it is brought to our attention. We are not to say "Well it's too late now, you should have mentioned this earlier." Also, we are not to say "Well, let's finish the inning with the plate where it is and adjust it starting next inning." The emphasis is on GETTING IT RIGHT. As soon as an error is discovered, we correct it immediately.

Does anyone else care to chime in on this subject? I'm not the authority - I'm just opening up a forum and giving my opinion after officiating many years of baseball, softball, basketball (including at the high school and college level), and more recently bocce.}

Note: see below - Blast From the Past to read then USBF President John Ross' response from back in 2005.


Blast from the past...

It's fun to look at back issues to see where we were and where we might be headed.

{John Ross sent this response to the Whose Point? question back in 2005.}

Volume #4, Issue #19 - May 16, 2005

I knew someone from the United States Bocce Federation would clue us in on how international rules would handle last week's officiating error.

USBF president John Ross writes...

"I enjoyed the discussion about the misunderstanding on who held the point.

Red should have asked for a measurement before throwing the ball away. However, In international punto, raffa, volo rules (Article 13, par. e) the rule states: 'Should the referee make an error in assigning one or more points, all balls played after the erroneous assignment by the referee must be thrown again.'

In the spirit of preventive officiating which you endorse in the Joy of Bocce, the referee in this case should have allowed red to replay the ball that was thrown away."

{Very a correctable error in basketball - under certain conditions the referee can correct things like permitting a wrong player to attempt a free throw or attempting a free throw at the wrong basket, etc..

The preventive part would have been if the referee prevented the problem by getting the call right in the first place. We use preventive officiating in softball.
"Hey, where are you going with that illegal bat?"

Don't let the batter into the batter's box, because he is out if he enters the box with an illegal bat - better yet - check all bats before the game begins.

We use preventive officiating in bocce. "Hey, that's a red ball in your hand, you're playing green."

Back to the bocce ruling - seems to me the referee should just measure without being asked.

"Hey ref - who's in?"
"I'm not sure, let me check."

This one we call "common sense in officiating". However, once there are rules and interpretations in place, it's not up to the referee to disagree - just enforce what has been set down in the rules. Finally, there are three things officials in all sports strive for...

1 - a quick game (keep things moving)

2 - a game that is free of controversy

3 - a game where both teams have an equal chance to win}


Frequent contributor Don Augustine sends this link...

"Here is an article that you might be interested in. I am down here in Punta Gorda, Florida and I play with a group of guys at the Elks. One of them handed me a news clipping about Bocce and I looked it up on the internet and figured I would send it to you..."

Don also chimes in on the question of burning a ball that doesn't reach the mid-court line.

{I understand that there is a faction that plays this way, but it makes no sense to me.}

Says Don...

"I often refer to this rule where they burn the ball as the stupid rule. I ran into this many times in Pennsylvania and down here in Florida, I run into this at the Elks in Punta Gorda where I play. About a year ago I wrote to the USBF and posed this same question and the reply I received was that it is a stupid rule...LOL, the logic being that if the center line of the palllino has to cross the centerline of the court. Now if the centerline of the pallino just crosses the centerline of the court and the aft end of the pallino is still not over the centerline of the court but all that is required is the centerline. Now the follow up shot to the pallino comes right up and touches the pallino and the pallino does not move. In essence you have the pallino and the bocce ball touching, and the centerline of the pallino has crossed the centerline but the bocce ball has not, how you could justifiably burn that ball?

I have seen qualifying lines fore and aft of the centerline of the court, and if the ball is in this area it is good as long as the pallino crosses the centerline of the court. On a 90 ft court that I am familiar with the qualifying lines were 5 ft from the centerline of the court.

But then you play by home rules and what happens someone always has the official rules in their pocket (the rules they got when they purchased the balls) and I always ask them to show me where it says you burn the ball and no one has as of yet.

What we need with your help is a link in the Joy of Bocce with a set of open rules as a proposed and recommended standard set of rules. There are a lot more people playing bocce every day and are confused as to what the rules are and follow the bad habits of others, eliminate the crap shoot 45 degree corners and live backboards.

Ok I just fell off the soap box....Later."

{Hey, here's a man with a passion for the sport. We can't fault him for that! A revision of the USBF Open Rules is in the works even as we speak.}


Alvaro Bettucchi of the South San Francisco Italian American Citizens Club sends news of a schedule change...

"The April 4th tournament (3 persons Open) in South San Francisco has been canceled. New courts are under construction and could not be finished in time, due to the heavy rains."


Tournament news from Ben Musolf and the Campo di Bocce...

The events this year for the United States Bocce Federation Championships are as follows:

1. Men's Singles
2. Women's Singles
3. Under 21 Singles (As long as the entrant turns 21 in 2009 he is eligible)
4. Precision Shooting and Lagging Competition

There will also be an Open Invitational hosted by Campo di Bocce prior to the National Championships. There will be an A and B division, some rules and stipulations will apply, please see entry form for details.

Contact - 408-857-0074



A message from USBF President Danny Passaglia...

"As the governing body for Bocce in America, the USBF is responsible for promoting, teaching, and also sending players to represent the USA in International and World events. Founded more than 30 years ago by an Italian tailor in Colorado, Mr. Chris Gerrardo, the Federation has established a solid support group throughout the USA.

As a not for profit organization, the USBF is recognized by the AAU, FIB, CBI and several Special Olympic organizations. Membership accounts for almost 60% of our funds and each year the USBF sanctions a National Tournament which is often used to select the players or Teams that will represent the USA abroad. It is through participation in the USBF that we are able to continue to support local area youth groups, senior citizen facilities and almost anywhere Bocce is played. One of our Honorary Directors is Mr. Steve Mariucci 'Coach'. Mr. Mariucci has been extremely helpful in promoting Bocce and even conducts an Annual Charity Tournament along with Mr. John Madden.

Membership is tax deductible and the USBF is currently working on many additional benefits for the card members in the immediate future. I hope that you will consider being part of our organization and fill out the application by clicking the link below."

{We should all be card carrying members. Every club should be affiliated. For the sport to gain the attention it needs we need to boast of many thousands of members. Download a USBF Membership Application here: . }


We need to get Open Rules bocce into the Senior Olympics. This would go a long way to get increased exposure nationwide.

If you want to help lobby for this, send an email supporting bocce as an event at the National Senior Games.

Send it to:

Philip Godfrey, President and CEO

Send a cc to Mark Zeug, NSGA Chairman

2010 is a qualifying year for the National Games which are scheduled for Houston, TX in 2011 (you qualify one year and represent your state the following year). This from the Senior Games 2011 web site:

"Competitive events will include: archery, badminton, basketball, bowling, cycling, golf, horseshoes, race walk, racquetball, road race, shuffleboard, softball, swimming, table tennis, tennis, track and field, triathlon and volleyball. In addition, there is the possibility of adding additional sports for 2011."


Don't forget Frank Valanzola's 3rd Annual New Jersey Bocce Invitational benefiting Operation Shoebox New Jersey and Boys & Girls Clubs.

To offer support, contact Frank Valanzola at, 908.400.0851 or visit .

Click here to view a pdf file.


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 2009. Please help.

Imported bocce balls (from Italy, where else?) by Perfetta...

Photos of the week
This week's photos come courtesy of Vince Vaccaro...

"My wife Charlotte and I reside in a small southwestern Pennsylvania community called Carroll Township located outside the city of Monongahela.

Our backyard bocce court has been a few years in discussion and finally put in motion last spring with the court being completed in August. The court was dedicated the 'Dixie Jean Memorial Bocce Court' because our kids jokingly gave us for Christmas in 2006 a bocce ball set with a printed certificate naming the court after our deceased dog 'Dixie Jean'. Little did they know how far their mother and father would go with the humorous present.

We did get to use the court briefly last fall and we are looking forward to the spring and summer for many days and nights of bocce fun and bocce fellowship. The pictures are of the backyard area where we had the court constructed, before and after, as well as the finished court and our adult children posing with the bocce scoreboard made by Tom McNutt from .

We already have plans for Monday night 'guys nite out' on the bocce court. Also, when the evenings are warmer we are planning a 'wingoff bocce night' with friends and relatives who all say they cook the best wings. All and all, this year will hopefully be one of many playing bocce and having summer fun with friends and family.

The court was built on a wasted hillside in our back. The dimensions are 62' by 11 1/2'. There is 85 ton of stone in the wall including about 15 ton of 1A-modified (crushed limestone) for the surface. With the gutters the playing area is 64' inside wall to inside wall.

The gutters make for a somewhat challenging game when throwing the initial pallino to start each round and more challenging when shooting at an opponent's point ball. Any ball going in the gutter is considered out of play, even the pallino. We drove a nail half way between the side boards in the court board which holds the surface playing area back to form the gutter... if the pallino goes in the gutter then points are determined by whose ball(s) lay closer to the nail. If any ball, including the pallino ball, bounces off the back wall returning to the court surface, the ball is physically lifted and set in the gutter. It becomes a 'no play' ball. And it has become somewhat humorous to hear my wife mutter under her breath, 'gutter', when an opponent's ball is thrown a little too hard.

When growing up I watched the men playing bocce on the courts of the Italian club my father and grandfather belonged to. These courts always had gutters. Truthfully, I thought the gutter was a part of bocce until I signed for your newsletter. I have not seen one guttered court in your photos but, as you say in so many words, the fun is the game whether on a lawn, a backyard court or a professionally built venue."

{The gutters Vince alludes to are sometimes referred to as "ditches" and I do have photos posted of such a court - coincidentally it is also in Pennsylvania. See those photos here... .

Please follow Vince's lead and send photos of bocce in your area.}

View this week's photos

Bocce product of the week
Bocce Court Maintenance Tools

I’ve seen all kinds of home-made court maintenance brushes and scrapers. Two things have always struck me about them. 1 – they look like they are home-made and 2 – they tend to be HEAVY.

7' Drag Brush

Manufactured by Lee Tennis (makers of the Har-Tru surface material), this court maintenance tool created for tennis courts works exceptionally well for bocce courts. The 7-foot drag brush is light-weight and, even if you have a 13- or 14-foot wide court, you can smooth it over with just two passes. This is quick enough to do between games without keeping players waiting very long.

Bristles are 4 ½ inches of synthetic fibers and the strong but light-weight frame is aluminum. Retails for $169.95 plus shipping.


This strangely named 30” wide device is actually two implements in one. It is an all-aluminum combination tool for scarifying, leveling, and removing loose court material.

Strong and sturdy, the tool is light enough to handle with ease and is excellent for spreading new material during top-dressing. The concave shape of the 30” wide blade allows the tool to “float” along the surface without digging in. Use the serrated edge to scrape material from high spots, then flip the tool over to rake and smooth that spot and drag the loose material to fill in a lower point. Retails for $63.95 plus shipping.

Besides a heavy roller, the lute/scarifier and 7-foot drag brush should be all the maintenance tools a bocce court owner needs.

Click to go to merchandise order...then scroll to bottom of page.

Non bocce product of the week


Free comfort springs on orders over $250 with code CQ-9675


$10 off and FREE Adhesive on the Universal Glazed Bird Bath! - Use Code VN-7875


Save 50% on Garden Stepping Stones!

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 28, 2009 - California - Stockton. I.A.C. RAFFA - 3 Players. At least 1 woman player. Contact Romano Lotti @ 209-951-8256.


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


April 4, 2009 - California - Stockton, Waterloo. OPEN - 4 Players. At least two women players. Contact David Canclini @ 209-957-3314.


April 18, 2009 - California - Los Gatos. OPEN - 4 Players. Contact Bill Schlaefer @ 408-379-9409.


April 25, 2009 - Washington - Bellingham. The 7th Annual Bellingham Bay Bocce Tournament. Proceeds benefit the Bellingham Food Bank. Contact Tom McNutt @ .


May 2, 2009 - California - San Mateo (P.I.A.S.C.). RAFFA - 3 players. Contact Adriano Undorte @ 650-591-3318.


May 2, 2009 - California - San Mateo (P.I.A.S.C.). OPEN -4 women players. Contact Rose Viscuso @ 650-349-7732.


May 9, 2009 - California - Sacramento (East Portal). RAFFA - 3 players. Contact Vern Cooper @ 916-961-2404.


May 16, 2009 - New Hampshire - Hampstead. Massachusetts Senior Games. Triples - 3 players per team, men, women, or mixed play in one division. All participants must be at least 50 years of age. Contact or 978-686-8679.


May 16, 2009 - California - Fairfield. OPEN - 4 women players. Contact Vergie Trammell @ 707-425-5301.


May 22, 2009 - Illinois - Herrin. HerrinFesta Italiana Corporate Bocce Tournament. More info at & .


May 23, 2009 - California - Carmel Valley A. C. OPEN - 4 players. Contact Giovanni Napoli @ 831-521-5092.


May 23, 2009 - Illinois - Herrin. HerrinFesta Italiana Adult/Child Tournament. More info at & .


May 24, 2009 - Illinois - Herrin. HerrinFesta Italiana International Tournament. More info at .


May 30, 2009 - California - I.A.C.C. - South City. RAFFA -2 women players. Contact Alvaro Bettucchi @ 650-871-9278.


May 31, 2009 - WESTERN SECTOR MEETING - I.A.C. - Stockton. Contact Vern Cooper @ 916-961-2404.


June 6, 2009 - California - Stockton I.A.C. RAFFA - 3 players. Western Sector Championship. Contact Romano Lotti @ 209-951-8256.


June 7, 2009 - California - Sutter Creek. I.B.S. OPEN - 4 players. At least one woman. Contact Rick Wagstaff @ 209-296-6151.


June 13, 2009 - California - Martinez. RAFFA - 2 players. Contact Jeremy Calhoun @ 510-450-2545.


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. View pdf here:


June 20, 2009. California - South City. I.A.C.C. OPEN - 2 men and 2 women players. Contact Rudy Bertolozzi @ 650-583-9936.


June 22 - 24, 2009 - California - Campo di Bocce Livermore. Open Invitational Tournament. Contact Ben Musolf @ or 408-857-0074.


June 22 - 27, 2009. California - Campo di Bocce Livermore. US NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP. Contact Ben Musolf @ 408-857-0074.


July 4, 2009 - California - Martinez. OPEN - 2 players. Contact Jeremy Calhoun @ 510-450-2545.


July 11, 2009 - California - San Rafael - Marin. OPEN - 2 men players. Contact Diana Pelligrini @ 415-485-5583.


July 11, 2009 - California - Auburn Bocce Club. OPEN - 4 players. Contact Salvatore Gascon @ 253-939-3502.


July 18, 2009 - California - Fairfield. OPEN - 4 players. John Magnetti Memorial Tourney. Contact Vergie Trammell @ 707-425-5301.


July 25, 2009 - California - Campo di Bocce Los Gatos. RAFFA - 1 man and 1 woman. Contact John Ross @ 408- 354-0625.


August 1, 2009 - California - San Rafael -Marin. OPEN - 4 players. Western Sector Championships. Contact Diana Pelligrini @ 415-485-5583.


August 8, 2009 - California - San Rafael - Marin. OPEN - 2 women players. Contact Diana Pelligrini @ 415-485-5583.


August 15, 2009 - California - I.A.C.C. South City OPEN - 4 womwn players. Contact Rose Viscuso @ 650-349-7732.


August 22, 2009 - California - Los Gatos - Campo di Bocce. RAFFA - 3 players. Contact Bill Schlaefer @ 408- 379-9409.


August 29, 2009 - California - Sacramento - East Portal. OPEN - 4 players. Contact Vern Cooper @ 916-961-2404.


September 12, 2009 - California - I.A.C.C. - South City. RAFFA - 3 PLAYERS. 24th Ital.-Amer. Games. Contact Alvaro Bettucchi @ 650-871-9278.


September 19, 2009 - California - I.A.C. - Stockton. RAFFA - 1 MAN AND 1 WOMAN. Contact Romano Lotti @ 209-951-8256.


September 20, 2009 - California - P.I.A.S.C. San Mateo
OPEN - 4 PLAYERS. At least one woman. Contact Rose Viscuso @ 650-349-7732.


September 26, 2009 - California - I.B.S. - Sutter Creek. OPEN - 4 PLAYERS. Gold Country Classic. Contact Rick Wagstaff @ 209-296-6151.


October 3, 2009 - California - Stockton - Waterloo. OPEN - 4 PLAYERS. Contact David Canclini @ 209-957-3314.


October 4, 2009 - California - South City I.A.C.C. VOLO - 2 PLAYERS. Contact Ale Bettucchi @ 650-697-7702.


October 10, 2009 - California - San Rafael - Marin. OPEN - 4 PLAYERS. Contact Diana Pelligrini @ 415-485-5583.


October 17, 2009 - California - Sacramento - East Portal. RAFFA - 3 PLAYERS. Contact Vern Cooper @ 916-961-2404.


November 12-14, 2009. Nevada - Reno. Peppermill Casino. OPEN - 4 players. Contact Dana Shores @ 800-648-6992.


December 5, 2009 - California - Stockton. I. A. C. OPEN – 4 PLAYERS. At least two women players. Contact Romano Lotti @ 209-951-8256.

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