Bocce ball takes court at Italian Fest |

Bocce ball takes court at Italian Fest

Marilyn Chrisman
and Lloyd "Guido" Young
Special to The Union

Do you Bocce? Come and enjoy the Bocce Ball Tournament at the Italian Fest.

Practice, get in on the action or cheer on your favorite team! There will be over 30 teams participating at the Festa. Registration starts at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 18. The first 12 teams will start at 8:30 a.m. Saturday and will continue on Sunday.

The Bocce Ball Committee of the Festa is building six 80-foot by 12-foot courts which is within the regulation size for the United States Bocce Federation. The Festa and the Bocce courts are located under the Ponderosas at the upper end of the Gate 4 parking area of the Nevada County Fairgrounds. Court judges will be volunteers from the Lake Wildwood Bocce Ball Players who will follow standard Bocce Ball regulations.

There will be bleachers, straw bales and picnic tables for players and spectators. Some of the teams include: Guido’s Crew from Colorado, the Pensacola Mojo, Zen Bocce, One Ball Short, the Odd Balls, Ynots, Los Borra Cheros and the infamous Kanco Wino’s. We’re all looking forward to a lot of fun with the first county-wide Bocce Ball Tournament in Nevada County.

Bocce is an ancient sport, one that challenges both physical and mental skills. Perhaps the earliest form of bocce (pronounced ” baachi” ) came from the ancient Egyptians 5,000 years BC. It is among the oldest sports in world history. The game traveled to Greece and gained a permanent home in the Roman Empire where it assumed most closely the game as we know it today.

In fact, next to soccer and golf, bocce is the third most participated sport in the world. And while it is played around the world, it has a long history in the United States. Even George Washington played Bocce! He built a Bocce Ball court at Mount Vernon in the 1780s.

All you need is a few balls and a clear field, right?

Well, yes and no. Everyone can play Bocce and can have fun doing it. Then you can get as serious as your skills and patience will permit. The object of the individual or team players is to roll a Bocce ball ( about the size of a soft-ball ) close to a small target ball called a “pallino.” The person who rolls the bocce closest wins.

Get out the measuring tape! Seriously!

Some tips from the US Bocce Federation: concentrate on control of direction, distance and accuracy.

1. Plan where you are going to roll the bocce. Aim for the center of the pallino.

2. Relax.

3. Reach out when releasing your shot, keeping your arm in line with your target.

4. Follow through. Take 1-2 steps after you release. Never turn immediately away.

Enjoy and have fun! See you at the Italian Fest on the Bocce Ball courts!

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