bocce ball sets and rules
 If you can say it, you can play it! "Bah - chee"

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Bocce Ball Testimonial #2: Italian Style Bocce at Sunday Picnics

by Paola Fanutti
August 2008

As someone of Italian origin, it always excites me when I see people outside the Italian community playing and showing enthusiasm for the sport of bocce.

Bocce has a long history of play, and its origin is outside of Italy, as the sport began in the Middle East. Played since about 5000 BCE in Ancient Egypt, bocce, a form of lawn bowling, was popularized and introduced to North America through the Italian immigrant community.

Growing up in an Italian immigrant household, I thankfully had many chances to play bocce. Playing bocce in an open court style in my backyard was, and sometimes still is, a part of social and family gatherings. After a delicious Sunday afternoon lunch with my extended family who would picnic at my place, we would haul out my parents' bocce ball set and split up into teams and turn my backyard lawn into an open bocce court, without lines and markers.

In fact, during restless Sunday afternoons, old and young, my relatives and I still sometimes head outside to the backyard after lunch for a few bocce ball matches.

My Sunday afternoon bocce ball blasts briefly led me to join a small community bocce league held at a local public school, with a couple of childhood friends. My friend's father was the league's organizer. We eventually stopped going because, regrettably, there was not enough interest in the sport to carry on the matches.

There are different bocce ball colors and even sizes. The ones I used and continue to use are standard 2 pound 107mm bocce balls, red and green in color.

Playing bocce for me is a cultural experience that unites the entire family. Although the game is an aspect of my heritage, it is open to all ethnicities and skill levels.

Bocce is fun to play with friends and it's a great alternative to other popular social games, like billiards or bowling. It's a game based on strategy, competition and teamwork. Its rules are relatively simple to learn and an amateur bocce ball set is fairly inexpensive to purchase. Affordable bocce sets can start as low as $17 - $23.

Amateurs can play open court bocce in their own backyard, like I did, and work on their skills before competing on professional bocce courts.

The most common misconceptions about bocce? That is a game reserved for old, Italian men. On the contrary, it is the youth who dabble into bocce who have the most fun. Young players usually make the game amusing by splitting teams by splitting up friends and partners into different teams and holding tournaments within their social circle.

And even though I am, you don't have to be Italian to enjoy a good game of bocce. I should know, because lots of my non-Italian friends beat me at the game.

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