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Bocce renaissance

A versatile, euro-style of bowling is experiencing a local revival By Virginia Betz

Claiming a pedigree that traces back to pharaonic

What you need to play on

Egypt, the game of bocce is most closely associated with Italy, where its practice among the ancient Romans is better documented. From its inception, the appeal of bocce has crossed the lines of class and geography. This has also ensured that there have always been very many variations of the basic game. Sure, there is an International Bocce Federation and an official rule book (the Collegium Cosmicum ad Buxeas), but the fundamental simplicity of bocce means that versions can be easily invented and modified to suit the skill level of the players, the number of players, the desired rapidity of play or complexity of scorekeeping. Master a minimum of terminology, learn a few basic rules, and you’re ready to give it a try.

Bocce is played on a long, flat, rectangular alley with banked sides. Regulation bocce courts are approximately 18.3 meters by 2.4 meters (60 feet by 8 feet), but recreational courts vary greatly in size and are often not so large. The surface of the court also varies; it can be raked sand, gravel, dirt or cropped grass. The balls, which are rather heavy, should not be able to roll around freely after they are thrown.“Foul areas” can be designated at each end within which the players can walk up to toss the bocce. Formally constructed courts are nice, but not necessary; a backyard facsimile would be easy to improvise.

What you need to play

If you want to make your head spin, you can check out bocce.org/rules.html to read the instructions for playing and scoring an array of codified games. In most versions, a game (or round) consists of a series of giros, in which the players take turns throwing their bocci with the goal of getting their ball closest to the pallino. The player who does

A bocce kit consists of a set of eight same-sized balls (bocci), half of one color and the other half a different color. The two colors distinguish the balls for each of two teams of one, two or four players per side. A smaller ball, the pallino (sometimes called a “jack”) serves as the game’s target. 58

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How to play “open bocce”

Latino Perspectives Magazine March 2013  

Magazine focused on the Arizona Latino Market

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