Do You Bocce?

September 21, 2010Katie

Do you know what Bocce ball is?

When Elena from The Wedge needed help for a 3-man team on Sunday to play in Deep Fork’s Bocce Ball Tourney, I said “OK”, partly out of  craziness, partly out of having an aventurous spirit, and partly because I didn’t know what in tarnation “Bocce Ball” was.

And then she started describing it to me and I said, “Oh, you mean that game old men play in Italy?”

Yes that’s exactly the game.  I thought surely I can do this…no sweat.

Except, upon arrival,  all I saw were young, tanned fit people and they took this seriously!

How do you say “Where are all the old Italian men” in Italian?

Here’s how it goes.  Or at least the part I comprehended.

You can play on concrete, grass, gravel, sand or really any surface that is fairly flat.  The courts are 76 feet long by 10 feet wide.  You can play with individuals or teams. We played with 3-man teams, and each of us got to throw three of the larger balls each. Luckily Deep Fork Grill has about 15 or 20 of these nicely boxed-in sand pits behind their restaurant.

Oh yes, and there are walkways in between each court so that if you want to get really cut-throat, you can walk down and measure (we mostly measured with a removed flip-flop) to see whose ball is the closest to the jack ball.

Somehow you determine who the starting player is (toss a coin, etc.) and then the first player gets to throw out the pallina or jack ball, which is a ping-pong size ball (but heavier) toward the opposite end of the court.  Then the player throws one of his/her larger balls and tries to aim for the jack ball.

Then the next team throws one ball, and whichever one is closest stops throwing and lets the other team throw.

Things can get highly competitive when you get ten or twelve of the balls all grouped around the jack ball.

And then you strategize.

You can hit the other team’s balls out of the way, or you can try to hit the bocce ball and move it and change the whole game.

But be warned.  If the other team is closest, they will also get a point for each ball that is closer to the jack than your balls are. This keeps you from just throwing your balls away when you have the last throws and have already won.

I think.

Or something…

I tried to strategize.  I whacked the jack ball away and lost us 8 points by doing so as all their balls all became closer.


We finally got put out after these guys (who never put their bottles down), whuped us in about 30 seconds.

I decided I want a bocce ball court in our backyard.

Mr. Wonderful?

You reading this?

It’s time to get that roto-tiller fixed!

What is your favorite game to play outside?


  • Beth Zimmerman

    September 21, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    I haven't played outdoor games in years! But growing up we played badmitten, volleyball, horse shoes, tetherball, etc. I can't recall EVER playing Bocce! :)

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