The Joy of Bocce Weekly
In This Issue: Vol. VIII, Issue 24 - August 3, 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 #24 - August 3, 2009
Publisher: Mario Pagnoni Copyright 2009
76 Emsley Terrace, Methuen, MA 01844 (vm 800-211-1202 ext 4949)

Hello again bocce posse,

Received a lot of positive feedback from readers who say they'd love to come to Massachusetts for a $ tournament and to see Boston and its sites. Some were concerned about an August event being too close to other events like The World Series of Bocce and the Cleveland tourneys. See Bocce news below for more...

This week we held our annual Bocce in the Park tourney for kids at Methuen's Nevins Memorial Library. Many of our "regular" participants have graduated to middle and high school and are no longer eligible (target audience is 3rd thru 6th graders with a smattering of parents and grandparents), but the event was a success nonetheless. Click "Bocce in the Park" link below to see more...and please feel free to copy the model and run a similar event in your neck of the woods.

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

Bocce in the Park...

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

Joy of Bocce - Third Edition Update

The current plan is to keep the 2nd edition in print, while updating and tightening the new edition to make it more helpful to the average player and the person interested in learning the game. Of paramount importance for the new edition are an attractive, high impact cover, high quality images throughout, and simple, easy-to-read chapters for beginners and devotees.

The more detailed and comprehensive 2nd edition will still be available in bookstores and on-line as both a soft cover and e-book (many of the 2nd edition’s low resolution photos are very acceptable in the e-book version…and they are in color).

The new cover has to be high resolution and eye-catching. Click the image to the right or the link below to get a better look at a working draft:

Your comments welcome!

Still need a foreword from someone with a pretty high profile – am attempting to contact John Madden and Steve Mariucci regarding this. They are not only high profile, but they love bocce.

What I'm thinking...please feel free to comment and help shape the new edition.

Chapter 1 – A Brief History Lesson (3465 words) most is just lore (albeit interesting), so tighten to about 1500 words and maybe move to end of book. Also re-do photos.

Chapter 2 – The Game (4203 words). Tighten to 2500 words. Re-do the photos.

Chapter 3 – The Terminology (3460 words). Tighten and re-do photos.

Chapter 4 – The Game, A Closer Look (7000 words). Tighten to 4000 words and re-do photos.

Chapter 5 – The Game As Played On Courts (4788 words). Tighten to 3500 words & re-do photos.

Chapter 6 – The Equipment (5060 words). Tighten to 3500 words and re-do photos.

Chapter 7 – Strategy & Tactics (5960 words). Tighten to 4000 words and re-do photos.

Chapter 8 – Building A Backyard Court (8116 words). Tighten to 4000 words and re-do photos.

Chapter 9 – Bocce Courts We’ve Known And Loved – A Pictorial (1799 words). Re-do photos.

Chapter 10 – Organizing A League/Promoting The Game (4918 words). Eliminate from 3rd edition. Keep in 2nd edition.

Chapter 11 – Tournament Play & Rules (4537 words). Tighten to 3000 words, re-do photos, and print USBF OPEN RULES (revised 2009).

Chapter 12 – International Play (6662 words). Tighten to 3500 words and re-do photos.

Chapter 13 – Bocce & The Special Olympics (2932 words). Eliminate from 3rd edition. Keep in 2nd edition.

Chapter 14 – The Best Of The Joy Of Bocce Weekly (4559 words). Tighten to 3500 words and re-do photos.

New edition would then be a little more than half the size and be full of high quality photos.

Whatyathink? Please REPLY.

Still looking for "advance praise" - you know, those little blurbs you see on the back cover. They have to be positive, of course, and could be from anyone. If you have an impressive title, like president of this or that bocce association, all the better. Please send to . By the way, if you are concerned that you haven't seen it yet - it will be a much tighter, more streamlined version of the previous edition and it will have high resolution images. Whatever you can say about the last edition should hold true for the next.

{Please REPLY if you can help shape the next edition of the book that may have an impact on the growth of the game we love.}


Sean Krezenski comments intelligently on the Nationals and bocce on TV...

"I noticed that many of the participants played what I refer to as 'bump and run' bocce with amazing precision. Generally when I play PRV, I look to avoid contact with another bocce while lagging to prevent the dreaded primary or secondary infraction. I found many of the players at nationals did not fear making contact. In fact, many of the players used a soft bump with deadly accuracy. I agree that this is not as flashy as a raffa or volo, but it is extremely difficult to play against.

As for PRV on TV, I think it has potential. I have watched curling and I don't think it moves at a much faster pace. However, the one roadblock is the rules. I don't believe PRV is that complicated once you have played a few times, but have you ever watched someone's face the first time you try to explain the rules. Now, imagine changing channels and coming across a PRV tournament on ESPN 8 The Ocho with no knowledge of the game.

'Wow, what a nice roll. Wait! Why are they taking that ball out and putting the others back?'

'Ok, now this inning they put one ball back and left everything else alone. What is going on here?'

Many will argue that it is the job of the announcers to keep spectators informed, but speaking as a casual spectator of most sports, if I can't make sense out the action in the first few minutes, I am changing the channel. This is the reason why many people feel that open rules has more TV appeal. The rules are simple. Add to that the fact that even the worst raffa can achieve the most amazing looking shots and you have a game that anyone can watch while laying on the couch and channel surfing on a Saturday afternoon."


The Bocce Guy on Video

I'm struggling a bit with my video efforts, but posted the previous attempts on the Joy of Bocce web site on a new page called Bocce Video.

If you haven't yet seen them, click here:

One is of Margaret Shindellis’ outstanding performance in the Raffa Shoot-out at Campo di Bocce.

A second, short video shows Michigan’s Michael Constantini hitting a raffa in the USBF shoot-out and a nifty volo in the trick shoot-out run by World Bocce Association’s Phil Ferrari.

A third shows young Josh Wenson making a remarkable shot in the trick shooting competition.


Big Money Tourney in Massachusetts?

Recently I met with a very interesting gentleman whose job is to bring events into the city of Worcester, Massachusetts. He'd like me to run a $ tourney in August of 2010.

Worcester is located in central Mass. within driving distance of Boston, Springfield (site of the Basketball Hall of Fame), and Providence, RI. The venue would be the DCU Center which has a massive carpeted ballroom which could easily house 10 or more bocce courts.

I thought I'd run this by the readers to see what kind of initial response it generates. To my knowledge there has never been a large prize money bocce tourney in New England. Players could fly into Logan. Worcester is about a 50 minute car ride from Boston.

We could have a reception for the players on Thursday night followed by bocce action on Friday and Saturday and perhaps a closing banquet on Saturday evening. The entry fee would include hotel and other amenities. Hotel check out could be Sunday morning for those who need to get back to work on Monday.

We'd line up other activities for friends and family (trip to Boston, perhaps a bus to one of the Connecticut casinos, etc.).

What do you think? If the prize money was large enough, do you think we could draw enough 4-player teams to make this work? Please REPLY with comments, suggestions, or questions. This is just in the talking/planning stage right now.

Dr. Cordano responded with...

"A first in Mass. with BIG MONEY may attract a lot of participants, depending on how big ($$ ) this may be.

Rome in July and 2 big ones a week apart in August in Cleveland may create some interference and the purses for first place are 5K minimum…..

My main concern is the organizer 'Liability' in games played over rug, since the balls tend to easily jump and if there is no protection between courts the raffa hitting could be dangerous… say the least.

I will be glad to discuss further if you need additional comments. In Reno there is very restricted limit on the lobbing of the ball and by that, minimizes bouncing in those 60-65 foot long courts in the large ballroom at the Peppermill Casino."

{What would be a good time to have a tourney like this in Massachusetts? Please REPLY. Also, I'm interested in the restrictions imposed on lobbing at the Peppermill. Can anyone provide info?}

Peter Rabito writes...

"I think this is a fantastic idea and would certainly be interested in attending, however there is something to consider. As you know, there are quite a few large tournaments from June thru September which may have an impact on attendance: US Nationals, Rome NY, 2 large Cleveland events, NY Citywide Bocce Championships etc.

That being said, although August might be a little tough for people to do a lot of traveling, I know there are plenty of individuals who play competitively on the east coast (including Canada) who would be interested in attending as well as many other high caliber players from all over the country.

I definitely think an event like this is worth pursuing. I say go for it!"

{Is there an "ideal" time of year to offer such an event? Please REPLY.}

George Farruggio offers...

"The Big Money Tourney in Mass. is a great idea. If I could make one suggestion why don't you ask if triples would be a better game. You get to walk up and down - good exercise and a much better game. I would be very interested in coming up."

{Triples is a great game - it's something to consider.}


Jeff Thompson, President, OSIA, Mia Maria Chapter# 2813, Cheyenne, WY says...

"I wanted to drop a line to say thank you from all of us out here in Cheyenne for you work on The Joy of Bocce Weekly. We’re getting geared up for our Bocce Festival in August."

August 15, 2009 - Wyoming - Cheyenne. Mia Maria's 4th Annual Bocce Festival. 10 AM to 6 PM at Frontier Park's Indian Village. 2 player teams, food and beverages available. Contact Jeff or Nola Thompson at 307-638-6756.


Oregon's Lou Ures always makes me smile with his interesting emails...

"Recently, Dave Canclini, Vern Cooper and their wives spent three days here in Florence on their way to a tournament in Gresham, Oregon we all participated in. Dave had high praise for my court but he was not used to playing on a court with that much 'personality'. Mario, I began my serious bocce playing in Martinez, California and built my backyard court patterned after them. Now I realize that the majority of courts nowadays are either on asphalt, concrete or carpet and most of the bocce population (serious players) feel that is meant for skilled players.

Now this is where I can get into trouble. Tongue in cheek, I feel that bocce was meant to be played on natural surfaces to prevent all the Italians and Yugoslavs
from rolling over in their graves in the Old Country.

I feel there is just as much skill involved on a court with slight contours as those that are completely flat. I realize that 'touch' is the mainstay, along with accuracy in shooting but I contend strategy is as important, if not more so in courts with 'personality'.

I hand it over to you my bocce loving friend. You have been there and done that and I would like your opinion on these fancy or realized matters. Let me say in closing that if I were rich and famous I would have flown you up to Florence from Livermore to be a guest with me and play some serious bocce."

{Hey Lou, if you were rich and famous I would gladly have accepted your generous offer to fly me in for some serious bocce. It sounds like you bring personality to any game or venue.

I agree that strategy and court knowledge are paramount. Home court advantage is big in bocce as the locals know all the nooks and crannies on their Thomas' English muffins.

An interesting way to gain some court knowledge is to divide the court's width into thirds, then roll some balls in each of these arbitrary lanes and note any tendencies. Remember that the speed of a roll will affect how it reacts to any deviations in the court. After a little warm-up, it all comes down to how well players adjust to the playing surface and how well they adjust their tactics to fit the situation at hand.}


A newbie asks...

"I just recently saw some Bocce on tv and thought it looked like great fun and exercise as you know of anyone in the south Atlanta, GA area who teaches this sport?


{I've copied this email to Frank Knight who may be of help. Any reader know who Jeanie can contact in Atlanta?}


Paul E Cunningham - President, Bocce-at-Sea Club - sends this...

"Perhaps you could tell the players in your tournament about the event that my club is promoting. This will be a lot of fun for those who can take advantage of it."


Blast from the past...

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

Volume #4, Issue #30 - August 15, 2005

Jerry Russo says...

"Saw an article in the portable bocce court section where you substituted other items for the pallino. I have a lawn set and I use a cue ball from my pool table. It is larger to see in the grass and has the same texture as the pallino, unlike a baseball that can get wet and not as smooth to roll."

{Great idea...another thing you can do is lower the wheels on your lawn mower so that the object ball is not so easily obscured by the grass. We often substitute a field hockey ball for a traditional pallino when playing on the lawn.}



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: . }

Winter Bocce in PA..

Photos of the week
Debby Bussler sends this...

"After reading your article about the younger generation of Bocce.... I just have to respond with information regarding a newly formed league in Herrin, IL. whose popularity is increasing with each passing week.

Herrin Bocce Club member, Jon Maleski conceived the idea this past spring to form a 'Family Night' Bocce league on the Herrin courts which would be alcohol free and would welcome all family members....including young people and even some older children. He had hoped that it would attract some of the younger players as well as older players from the other Herrin leagues and from some of the surrounding towns.

Well, his hopes have been surpassed by the continuing influx of players each week.....just from 'word of mouth'... to the Monday evening event.

Here are a few stats on this new league. In its 7th week, it now boasts 11 teams (which will probably be 12 by the next play night) for a total of at least 44 regular players. Of those players, 21 are over 21 years of age and 23 are under 21 years of age. The league also has 20 other players listed as subs who can be called on to fill in for absentee members. Of those....over half are under the age of 21.

So....Bocce is not just a game for the aging population....but rather a game where old and young can come together to participate in a sport equally loved by all.

Just a footnote...of the two teams who seem to be constantly battling it out, head to head each week for 1st and 2nd place, one is composed of the older members of the league and the other is composed of some of the younger members. The opposition is intense and the camaraderie is unsurpassed!

I have attached some photos taken during league play featuring players from the two teams mentioned above..... the Chittyville Tigers (youth) challenge Be Bocce Lu La in head to head competition. At the moment, Be Bocce Lu La holds the lead, but that could change in any given week!"

{Please follow Debby's lead and send photos and info of bocce in your neck of the woods.}

View this week's photos

Bocce product of the week
Bob and Barb Gross have introduced a new product to the bocce community. "BarbnBob Enterprise" is located in Fayetteville, PA and their new web site can be visited by clicking here

They've created a cleverly conceived and well constructed miniature bocce board for indoor play. The game uses large marbles for bocce balls and a smaller metal pallino. The board is expertly crafted and features a billiard table-like (felt) playing surface. The game includes...

1 - 50" x 13" Standard BocceBoard™
8 - 1 inch bocce balls - 4 red and 4 blue
1 - 9/16th inch chrome pallino
1 - Pocket measuring tape with level
1 - Velour Ball Bag
1 - Bag Hook

It looks like Bob and Barb have thought of everything. There's a bag to store the balls in, a leveling device that includes a tape measure, and even a hook in case you want to conveniently hang and display the game board on your rec room wall.

Note: on the bottom four corners of the board are adjustable knobs that you turn by hand to level the game board before playing.

This nifty product doesn't eliminate our need for indoor bocce venues in cold climes. But it is a pleasant diversion and the best constructed of these type miniature boards that I've yet seen.

Click for more info...

Non bocce product of the week

Shop Today!

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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.


August 7, 2009. Pennsylvania - Koppell. Co-ed tourney. Contact 724-847-4488.


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


August 14, 2009 - Pennsylvania - New Galilee. 4-player teams. Contact Jessie Pomerico @ 724-622-4792.


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


August 15, 2009 - Wyoming - Cheyenne. Mia Maria's 4th Annual Bocce Festival. 10 AM to 6 PM at Frontier Park's Indian Village. 2 player teams, food and beverages available. Contact Jeff or Nola Thompson at 307-638-6756.


August 15, 2009 - Wisconsin - Cedarburg. The 13th Annual Cedarburg Bocce Classic. 32 participants from across the country - single-player format (adapted rules that we made up 13 years ago as 17-year-old kids who didn't really know what bocce was) to decide the Grand Champion.

Photos and video:


August 21 - 23, 2009 - Ohio - Mayfield Heights. Club Molisani & the City of Mayfield Heights host the MARSHALL SUPERSTORE CLEVELAND INTERNATIONAL CHALLENGE CUP OF BOCCE. With 53 teams in our first year and 72 teams last year, Club Molisani is expecting over 90 teams in this year's tournament. $150 entry fee. Tournament t-shirts for all participants. 1st & 2nd place trophies for Men's Division, which pays 12 places with $4500 for first place (all guaranteed). 1st place trophies for Women's Division, which pays four places with $1000 for first place (based on 16 teams that participated last year). Four person teams - double elimination. Free pool passes for out of town teams, gambling casino, fireworks, rides for kids, several bands - all on our grounds. Contact Wayne Farinacci, tournament director, at 216-509-4353 or .


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


August 23, 2009 - California - Downey Open. Four Players - Contact Don Gaggiano @ 949-770-7313.


August 23, 2009 - Oregon - Gresham. Open – Four Players - Contact Larry Cereghino @ .


August 28 - 30, 2009 - Ohio - Wickliffe. WICKLIFFE ITALIAN-AMERICAN CLUB. 26th annual CLEVELAND CHALLENGE CUP OF BOCCE sponsored by Pat O'Brien Chevrolet. $5000 first prize, $15,000 in total prize money – GUARANTEED. $150 per team entry. Trophy’s and medals for Champion and second place finishers and tournament t-shirts for all participants. Four person teams (plus one sub) Contact Gino Latessa ( @ 216-789-6393 for more info. Applications and info online @


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.


October 24, 2009 - California - Stockton I.A.C. RAFFA - 3 players. Western Sector Championship. Contact Romano Lotti @ 209-951-8256.


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


November 14 - 15, 2009. Arizona - Phoenix. Arizona International Open. 4-player teams - double elimination. Contact Pasquale D'Aliesio @ 602-569-9149 or . More info:


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

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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