Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Backyard Bocce

Recently an Ancient Roman game called Bocce has entered my life again.

The first time I was introduced to Bocce was back in the summer of 1992 at my mom and dad's first lawn party. For ten years my parents held an annual lawn party at their house. They would rent a large white tent (like those at weddings) and have it set up in their back yard (their house sits on a few acres). The tent was filled with tables and chairs and the guests dined on delicious, homemade foods and lemonade. There was always music too.

My mom did not want the lawn parties to become family reunions, so none of her nor my dad's brothers and their families were invited. Each year my mom would have a finite number of invitations printed. She would give each of us kids (8 of us) a couple of invitations so that we could invite some of our friends. You were special if you received an invitation.

There was a dress code for the lawn parties. Men and women had to wear whites or pastels. Some years there was a theme to the lawn party and one could dress according to the theme instead of the whites or pastels.

The theme for 1997 was a Celtic one. The Colonel, Darling-Sister-In-Law, Yam, Spud and I were in town for the festivities (all of us had some form of plaid on). The Colonel and I were "dressed to the nines" Celtic style and won the best dressed male and female awards (can't remember what the prizes were).

At every lawn party a Bocce competition was held. Teams would be drawn for and then single eliminations began until two teams remained to squared off. The winning team was awarded a trophy, one per player on the team. The Colonel and my youngest brother were on a team together. Love those kilts!

The winners of the Bocce competition were my Darling-Sister-In-Law and her team partner, Dan (the husband of one of my sisters). Their names would be added to the annual cup's brass plate (the award in the middle of the picture).

Here is a close-up of Darling-Sister-In-Law's trophy (I asked her to email me a picture of it so I could use it in this blog post...Thanks DSIL!).

My youngest brother played the pipes for us during the lawn party.

Here is a picture of Yam (she was six years old) with her cousin Sean enjoying the lawn party.

As stated at the start of this blog entry, Bocce has come back into my life recently. The Colonel and I were at Wal-Mart one day and spied a Bocce set for sale. We had been toying with the idea of getting a set and the price was unbelievably low so we bought it.

The Colonel and I introduced his parents to Bocce in our backyard and they loved it! They came over to play when Yam and Spud were home for their spring breaks.

The Colonel and I discovered two Bocce courts in one of the parks near our home. They were full of "Snowbirds" and we stayed to watch the games for a while. We decided to take away a few pointers for our own backyard court. For instance, the first game we played in our yard we wrote the score on a piece of paper. This is the scoreboard we saw in the park.

Here is our new scoreboard (a handheld version).

Sometimes measurements have to be made in order to determine whose ball is closest to the pallino (the little ball a player aims for in hopes of getting their balls closest to) and we were using a regular tape measure for this. When The Colonel and I saw what they were using at the park's Bocce court we knew we needed something like it too. The man who was measuring placed an item on the pallino and then stretched a string from it to the nearest ball(s) to determine which was closest. The Colonel made an oak measuring device and his parents were impressed by it (as well as by our new scoreboard).



The Bocce court in the park vs. our backyard court.

Playing Bocce on the grass in our backyard presents a few challenges. The uneven surface can make the best tossed ball go awry, causing the player to use "sentence enhancers" as they verbally display their disgust.

One day I would like to play Bocce on one of the courts in the park but first I will have to wait until all of the "Snowbirds" have gone.


  1. I believe the venue for the "annual" lawn party has just been changed. Thanks for bringing to the forefront memories of those special times.

  2. I second that nomination.