The Joy of Bocce Weekly
In This Issue: Vol. VIII, Issue 37 - November 9, 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 #37 - November 9, 2009
Publisher: Mario Pagnoni Copyright 2009
76 Emsley Terrace, Methuen, MA 01844 (vm 800-211-1202 ext 4949)

Hi bocce gang,

Sorry I missed last week's deadline. I spent most of the week trying to solve computer/Internet problems and finally squared things away on Thursday. I figured I could launch on Thursday, but then I'd need to hustle to get another issue out in a couple days... so, I "bailed" and made my weekend a lot less stressful. I hope you will understand and forgive.

Although I currently live near Boston, I grew up in Springfield, Mass. and have been a New York Yankee fan all my life. My parents were Yankee fans as were all my uncles and aunts and other relatives. And former Yankee pitcher Art Ditmar (from Pittsfield, Mass.) was my college baseball coach.

The closer you get to Boston, the more Red Sox fans you find. I never really understood the concept of rooting for a team just because you live near them. Anyway, I think that now that the Yankees are world champs again the natural order of things will be restored. The economy will come around, the housing market, global warming, everything will fall into place again. The planet was just confused when the Red Sox got to be so good and won a couple titles. Things will be OK now. Just wait and see.

I've decided to play in this month's Pallino D'Oro at Michigan's Palazzo di Bocce. If you live anywhere near there and can come by to say hello, please do so. And if you have photos that might be appropriate for the new edition of The Joy of Bocce, bring those too. Now that I have a little more experience with the international style of play, I hope to make a better showing at the Pallino D'Oro.

If you reside closer to my neck of the woods, our indoor bocce season is about to start. If you want to join us, please REPLY or just show up any Monday morning at the PhanZone in Hampstead, NH. Coffee and pastry served at 9:00 AM. Bocce play begins at 9:30 AM. Come on down. The more the merrier!

Note: Please add to your whitelist or address book in your e-mail program, so that you have no trouble receiving future issues!

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

Charles G. Apuan's court in Las Cruces, NM...

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

Some readers expressed interest in the Joy of Bocce flag idea mentioned last week...


Size:: 60cm x 90cm (2' x 3')
Colors: 5
Orientation: Landscape
Prints: Single Side Reverse 1 Layer
Material:: 100D polyester

View the 2' by 3' sample here:

I would have to order 50 to get a decent price and reasonable resale price. REPLY to let me know that you MIGHT, if the price is right, want one.}


Fran Carrozza, Senior Activities Coordinator for the City of Altamonte Springs asks for help...

"The president of our bocce league sent me your newsletter and I recognized your name from my days attending Methuen High School when I was 'very young'.

{Yes, yes, I was very young then too!}

The City of Altamonte Springs is looking at hosting a bocce tournament for our seniors and I was wondering if you could send me some information on what’s involved with running a tournament?"

{A lot depends on how many players, how many courts, etc. Here is some info from a chapter of The Joy of Bocce titled "Organizing A League/Promoting The Game."}

"Consider promoting your group and the game by putting on a modest tournament. If you start with a small number of teams, do a good job, and offer the event the same time each year, it will grow. If you do a really good job, it can even be a money-maker for your group.

Tournaments can be Single Elimination, Double Elimination or Round Robin events. The number of teams entered and the number of courts available will determine which style to use. If you have a lot of teams and only a few courts, single elimination is the way to go. With a handful of teams, a round robin is the answer.

Most tournaments are 4-player events, but sometimes we see 2- or 3-player competitions, since organizers feel it is easier for people to round up two or three players per team rather than four. Tournaments can offer Open, Mixed or Co-Ed, or Novice Divisions.

If you want to attract top flight teams, you will have to offer large cash prizes and seek out sponsors to cover that expense. I prefer to run more low-key events that encourage beginners to give bocce a try. For this you have to require a reasonably small entry fee, and provide modest awards like sweatshirts or jackets for the winners and runners-up.

Single elimination is often used when tournament organizers don’t have enough courts available to run a double elimination event. One loss and you are out. Single elimination makes it difficult to draw a lot of teams because people may not want to travel for what might turn out to be just one match. Also, single elimination is a tough sell as far as value for your entry dollar goes.

Double elimination is a more common tourney format. If you lose a game you drop into the losers’ bracket, and will then play against others teams who have lost. A second loss will send you packing.

Round robins are particularly suited to small numbers of entrants. Teams will get more games than with the 'two and out' formula.

Your event could include a picnic, family events, or other activities. You could join forces with a charity, and raise money for a worthy cause. Hosting a tournament will raise consciousness about your group and about bocce."

{That's all the space I can allot to this question. For more, get my book - the eBook is the least expensive way to go - $4.95 downloaded to your computer - no shipping charge. Visit }



I made a tactical error in last week’s match at the Sons of Italy in Lawrence, Massachusetts and want to share what I learned from it so you might benefit by my stupidity (once a coach, always a coach).

As near as I can recall, here is what happened - Open Rules game - 6 players per team, 12 balls in play - 3 teammates stationed at each end of the court.

My team had one point and the other team had one more ball to roll. The player with that last ball made a great shot, moving the pallino back a couple feet toward his team's previously played balls. Now it stood that his team had 4 points – a five-point swing.

I had the last two balls for our team. Three of our balls were in front and blocking the path to the target. I decided to roll to the right of these three balls, trying to close in. I probably couldn’t score the point, but maybe I could cut their score down to one or two points. I came up short. They were still “holding” four points as some players say.

This time I decided to roll my last ball off the side board, figuring it should be pretty easy to tap one of my teammates three balls up far enough to cut the damage to one or two points for the other team. My bad! I hit the board in the wrong spot. My ball caromed off the side board and right by my team’s balls and past the other balls too. They scored four points because of my inability to execute (later my teammates threatened to execute me).

Here’s what I learned: in that situation I think you have to make the same shot twice, not two different shots. Play it off the board or play it straight, but not one of each. If you decide to close in for point and the first roll is short or long you can adjust with the second. If you decide to carom off the sideboard and the first attempt hits the wrong spot on the board you can adjust with the second. Hey, we play and we learn…sometimes.


Guy De Santis sends this...

"Hello to all bocce maniacs.

Sophia's Pizza & Pasta in conjunction with the Yonkers/Mount Vernon Bocce Cub in Mount Vernon N.Y. is holding a Thanksgiving weekend tournament Saturday November 28th.

The tournament is a double elimination format, 4 players per team, $35.00 per person with a maximum of 12 teams. Anyone interested must register as a team or as an individual with Guy De Santis by e-mail @ or by phone @ 914-310-8814 no later than Sunday, November 22nd. We are expecting a big turnout but unfortunately we can only accommodate the 1st 12 teams to register."


Mike Grasser's Pallino D'Oro... {I've decided to attend. If you are nearby, drop in and say hello. If you promised photos, please bring them.}

Location: Palazzo Di Bocce, Lake Orion, Michigan, U.S.A.

United States Pallino D’Oro
Friday, Nov. 20, 2009 – 9:00 AM-5:00 PM
Saturday, Nov. 21, 2009 – 9:00 AM-12:00 PM

North American Pallino D’Oro
Saturday, Nov. 21, 2009 - 1:00-5:00 PM
Sunday, Nov. 22, 2009 – 9:00 AM-12:00 PM

Entry Fees: United States Pallino D’Oro - $100,
North American Pallino D’Oro - $75

Prizes: United States Pallino D’Oro – 1st $1,250, 2nd $750, 3rd $500, 4th $250

North American Pallino D’Oro 1st $1,000, 2nd $600, 3rd &400, 4th $200

Rules: Singles Play, Punto, Raffa, Volo. International Rules.

Top 16 U.S. and top 16 Canadian players from U.S. Pallino D’Oro will qualify for play in N.A. Pallino D’Oro.

Hotel: The Crowne Plaza, 1500 North Opdyke Rd., Auburn Hills. MI. Call 248-373-4550 and ask for Anne Marie.

Contact: Michael B. Grasser, Owner Da Vinci Bocce LLC
248-505-4744 or


Benji Tosi, the volo player extraordinaire from the west coast makes good sense with his ideas culled from playing widely all over the planet…

”I disagree about your stance on bocce diameter. First of all, I notice that you like to often compare basketball to bocce. There is no comparison. I know that you played college ball and you have first hand experience and that you have great coordination and ability, but that doesn't mean you should keep comparing the two sports.

{Hey Ben, the comparison is important for people who are not so familiar with bocce. It makes for a frame of reference. Anyway, the main point I always make is that I had great coaching in baseball and basketball and became a pretty good player. I’ve had almost no coaching in bocce and remain a mediocre player.}

Secondly, in the original bocce that we still play with bronze balls, there is a range of diameters. This is fair to accommodate different players’ physical abilities. Balls of different diameter help level the playing field. If all balls are required to be the same diameter and weight than it gives an advantage to bigger people with bigger hands. Someone with smaller hands has a lower chance at shooting well if they can't use a ball that does not properly fit in the hand. Raffa, which came way after the original bocce, uses plastic balls of the same diameter. So the idea of all balls being the same size in bocce is a relatively new one.

Sure a ball with a larger diameter will inhabit more physical space while shooting and pointing, but they are also bigger targets to hit when they are the intended target. Conversely, smaller balls react to nooks and crannies differently while pointing (for better or for worse). Also smaller balls present smaller targets for opposing shooters. The point is that there are advantages and disadvantages for varying diameters; but they help people of all shapes and sizes to enjoy the sport at the same level. We don't want to hold people with small hands at a disadvantage.

The rest of the bocce world agrees with the traditional rules of varying bocce diameters. I just returned from the world bocce championships (where I finished 9th out of 33) and all 33 countries there have been playing the game with varying diameters for quite a while. It seems that it is only in the U.S. where we are mired by people who are trying legitimize ‘Open’, where these questions arise. ‘Open’ is only sanctioned by the US Federation and nowhere else. This is the main reason why our federation is moving in reverse of its original goals and also why the other international federations don't take us seriously. When I explain to the leaders of the other federations about how much time and effort our federation spends in trying to legitimize ‘Open’ they just shake their heads in wonder.

{My take on this is a little different. I like the PRV game. I’m not very good at it but I can see why players love it. Still, I have a hard time thinking the average American player will gravitate to that game. They want to play Open Rules, partly because that’s all they know. So, I think it behooves the USBF to try to, as you say “legitimize Open.” I’m sure that those other federations you speak of could not understand this because they have the PRV and Volo games standardized to the nth degree and have no experience with the “mongrel” games played here in the states.}

Out of curiosity, since you think the balls should be the same size for everyone, do you also believe that the balls should be the same for everyone in bowling or petanque? Should all snow skiers have to use the same size skies while on the slopes? Should javelin throwers have to use the same size and weight javelin? Should golfers have to use the same size and weight clubs? Clearly your rational can be applied to those sports as well.

{I guess a range makes sense if it’s a relatively narrow range.

In bowling, if your bowling ball is larger or smaller than mine, it only affects your score. But in bocce the different sizes might affect my score too.

In petanque with the shorter distance to the target, if my ball is twice the size of yours I have a distinct advantage.

It seems to me a javelin thrower should throw the same standardized javelin. Is it fair if you throw a lighter javelin farther than I throw a heavy one? I don’t know much about snow skies, and with most of the golfers I see, it wouldn’t matter what clubs they used.}


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."


Here's the flier for Elizabeth Wong Fontana's Ruby Raffa Classic:



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: . }



Playaboule's Perfetta Bocce Sets were backordered and the shipment has arrived from Italy and ready to ship. Click the link below to learn more...

Perfetta is back in stock at Playaboule!

Photos of the week
This week's photos were submitted by Pete Chimento of Millstone Township, NJ.

"A past issue requested some colorful Bocce terminology. Well, here in Millstone Twp, NJ, we call it a 'Bocce Grand Slam' when one team scores all four points around the pallino and a 'Bocce Hat Trick'when a team scores three of its four possible points around the pallino.

I would like to also include two pictures of my low cost measuring device that I made for those often debatable situations when one team feels it has the closest shot to the pallino. It is just a soup can that fits over the pallino with a tape measure affixed to the top. This simple device looks good and settles the majority of disputes. Best part, it swivels on the pallino, without moving it.

I also sent along a photo depicting the 'guys' who play Bocce in our neighborhood. We finished our neighborhood championship and decided to take a photo. It's a fun game that is certainly starting to take off on those warm summer nights under the lights here in Millstone.'

{I've added the photos to the previously posted pictures of Pete's fine looking home court - scroll down to the bottom for the added photos.}

View this week's photos

Bocce product of the week
A couple new products from Playaboule...

According to Playaboule's Bede Kortegast...

"We have two new products. One is a very inexpensive bocce set for the beach, based on our Glo sets. This set does not have plugs. They are 107mm in diameter but lighter weight so are perfect for the purely recreational player.

Another product is our new design Limited Edition Deluxe Glo Bocce set. This set has external sealed push button switches. So you don't have to unscrew and rescrew the plugs to turn off and on. An upgraded case with internal and external pockets, heavier weight zipper and fabric."

{Click the image top right to view the Deluxe Glo Bocce set and the link below to view the beach bocce set...}

Beach Bocce from 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}

$15 off With Coupon KC-6983 at

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.


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


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


November 20 - 22, 2009. Michigan - Palazzo di Bocce. USA Pallino D' Oro and the North American Pallino D'Oro. Contact Mike Grasser at 246-505-4744.

November 21, 2009 - California - South City I.A.C.C. – RAFFA-2 WOMEN PLAYERS. Contact Alvaro Bettucchi @ 650-871-9278.


November 28, 2009. New York - Mount Vernon. Sophia's Pizza & Pasta & the Yonkers/Mount Vernon Bocce Cub host a Thanksgiving weekend tourney. Double elimination, 4-players per team, $35.00 pp with a max. of 12 teams. Register as a team or as an individual with Guy De Santis @ or 914-310-8814 no later than November 22nd.


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


January 23, 2010 - Arizona - Phoenix. Arizona American Italian Club (AAIC) is hosting an 8 team tournament. For information and/or registration forms call Frank McCune at 602-957-8720.

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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