Bocce is a lawn sport similar to bowling. Long enjoyed in countries like
Italy and Greece, bocce has found new fans in North America.
Played on a grassy court, the object is to roll your bocce (a four-pound
ball which is four inches in diameter) closest to the pallino (a small clay
ball). The pallino is also called the jack ball. Bocce requires little equipment,
but lots of skill. So get set for a bocce bonanza!
Bocce is thought to have been first played in ancient Egypt. It is similar
to English lawn bowling or the French game called boules. Traditionally, bocce
includes smoking cigars, drinking wine and moves that are more finesse than
power. According to the Best Bocce Links Anywhere Web site, bocce (and its
variations) is the third most-played sport in the world.
Bryan Mero is a bocce enthusiast from northern California. He says he sees
a few "typical" types of players.
"First is the young at heart, older ladies and gentlemen that have played
for decades and can teach you a thing or two," he says. "Newcomers are anyone
who has played the sport less than 10 years, and rookies are anyone who has
played less than two years."
People of all levels of physical ability can play bocce. Maxine Clarke
is the sports technical coordinator for a sports association for the disabled.
She has seen many disabled athletes play the game.
"As long as the athlete releases the ball somehow, the attendant may place
the athlete's hand on the ball. Some athletes release the ball from under
the chin. The accuracy is phenomenal. There are some athletes who use their
feet to propel the ball instead of their hands. To make an even playing ground,
athletes are classified into different categories according to their ability."
If you try bocce and find you like it, here are some related jobs:
Sports coordinator for the disabled: organize tournaments and teams
on a local, national or international level. This would be a good match for
someone who enjoys working with people and also enjoys bocce and other sports.
Activity director: Because bocce is a game that senior citizens
often enjoy, becoming an activity director at a retirement home might be an
option. You would be able to arrange tournaments in bocce, as well as plan
and deliver other recreational activities.
Salesperson: Selling sets of bocce balls, as well as other sports
equipment, could be something to consider if you like dealing with the public
and are knowledgeable about different products.
To play the game, you will need a set of bocce balls. You can buy the equipment
in large department stores, sports stores, by mail order or over the Internet.
An inexpensive set will sell for about $40 and a high-quality set will cost
you about $120. Shop around the classified section of your local paper or
visit some yard sales to maybe get an even better deal.
The game can be played on official courts. Or a game can spring up where
there are interested people and an open space. Family picnics or trips to
the cottage, beach or park can often trigger a game of bocce.
If you want to know the rules, you can always ask another player or read
up on them in a book or on the Internet.
Basically, the object is to get your team's balls closest to the pallino,
which is thrown before any other balls. When each team has thrown their four
balls, the play moves on to the next frame, in which the pallino has to be
tossed again. Teams normally consist of two to four players on a side, but
can be larger. Play continues until an agreed amount of points, usually 12,
Keep in mind, this is a very basic description. Don't worry though, players
will tell you that the rules are few and quite easy to learn.
Aside from the formal rules, each club or team will expect proper conduct
and courtesy from their players. Team captains are responsible for the actions
of their players. You are not to use profanity while playing. When played
on official courts, players wear white suits.
Mero suggests new players concentrate on rolling the ball, not throwing
it. He says that listening to more experienced players is the best way to
learn. If you think that you would like to watch bocce before you try it,
go right ahead! This is a great way to learn, and to introduce yourself to
some potential teammates.
World Bocce Association
Bocce Ball Rules
A good background on the sport
BAM's Bocce Page