A Birthday Party…An Introduction to Bocce Ball

A bunch of us descended this past weekend onto the town of Livermore, California to celebrate the birthday of our good friend, Rick. This was the 3rd birthday celebration I was attending for him this month. He is such a spoiled… Anyway…The party was held at Campo Di Bocce , an Italian restaurant, that all featured several playing lanes for Bocce Ball.

Alfredo makes his move

Alfredo makes his move

I never played Bocce ball before but used to hear about it from a former work colleague of mine named Arash who played in a league. I was skeptical about it at first. I mean rolling some larger balls down a lane to get them as close to a small metal ball for points seemed pointless at first.

I was a little tired after eating our dinner and having some wine. Gary and I were playing against our friends Robert and Alfredo. It was not until little Alfredo put on his competitive attitude that it awaken my game “tude” also. There was no way they were going to win us in this game of ball toss. Of course, they won.

Gary goes for it

Gary goes for it

In the end, I really enjoyed playing Bocce Ball. I just need to play it earlier and practice more. There is a lot more strategy to it. It is a great way to spend some time with family and friends. I added some history on the game from the Campo di Bocce website below.



What is Bocce?

Bocce: a sport for all.


The game and sport of bocce has survived the ages. Evolving from its earliest known origins in Egypt circa 5200 B.C. to its current place today among players spanning the globe, bocce truly is a sport for the masses. Although the play of the sport has changed, the basics have remained. It is a competitive game of skill, strategy and ability. Like many sports, it sharpens the reflexes and judgment while encouraging good fellowship among players. One of the best things about Bocce is that it can be played by young and old alike.

As empires expanded and cultures melded, bocce was passed from the Egyptians to the Greeks to the Romans who are responsible for the bocce style we play today and for its name. Italy takes claim of bocce in its current form with Italian migrants populating countries throughout Europe, North and South America and Australia sharing the game in their adopted countries.

The United States is no different. While bocce is growing in popularity across the nation, Italian Americans continue to be some of the best players and strongest advocates of the game. Bocce is currently the fastest growing ball sport in the world and the second most played ball sport behind soccer.

Bocce can be played virtually anywhere, from the backyard to the beach. Traditionally, bocce has been played on oyster shell courts. Now you see you can find bocce being played on anything from oyster shell to hard packed baseball infield dirt to the State-of-the-Art synthetic polyurethane courts at Campo di Bocce. Bocce balls are universally plastic, but in variations of the sport such as bowls or volo you will see wood or brass.

Campo di Bocce strives to be a leader in the promotion of bocce on all levels. With multiple league nights, local and regional tournaments and playing host to large scale National Championships and International competitions, Campo di Bocce hopes to see the sport of bocce continue to grow. Perhaps someday people from the United States and the world over will enjoy bocce on the Olympic stage. Until then places like Campo di Bocce and backyard games will keep the oldest game known to man, alive and well. Whether you are at Campo di Bocce or your backyard, bocce is beyond doubt, a sport for all.

How to play the game

Plainly put-you get the big ball closer to the little ball. Simplicity is fundamental to bocce as the object of the game is to get as many of your teams bocce balls as close to the target ball, the pallino, as possible. Teams can be comprised from one to six people. A toss of the coin determines who gets to throw out the pallino and the first bocce ball with the other team choosing the color of their balls. Play proceeds with the team that is furthest away rolling a ball to get closer and continues until that team either gets a ball closer or runs out of balls. At the end of the frame, the team with the most balls closest to the pallino scores. Only one team scores per frame with one point being awarded for every ball the scoring team has closer than the balls of the other team. The scoring team then puts the pallino in play the following frame. Play continues in this fashion until one team gets to 12 or 15 points depending on time constraints

2 thoughts on “A Birthday Party…An Introduction to Bocce Ball

  1. Hey JP!

    I had a good time and Alfredo mentioned out of the blue that he enjoyed at well!

    I do believe though, that it was a tie…11-11. We came from behind and tied it up but alas, we didn’t officially win!

    Let me know if maybe we can work out a smaller poker party for Alfredo to learn the basics one evening! Maybe just 6 people…higher blinds to keep it shorter and focused? I think once his competitive nature kicks in, he may enjoy it!

  2. So it was a tie! Well good at least….the battle between me and your better half is not over in the Bocce arena!!!

    Yes, that will be great to do a smaller poker game with higher blinds. I believe Alfredo will be fierce competitor. I never knew until Bocce Ball that he loves competition. He would be fun at poker.

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