Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Bocce Ball - Play an Ancient Game @ WIN

Bocce's origins can be traced back to 5200 B.C. with ancient Egyptian artwork that depicts boys playing a game that resembles bocce. As bocce's popularity grew, it spread through Asia Minor and was adopted by the Greeks and passed on to the Roman Empire.  Bocce can be played by anyone, young and old alike, and because of its ease and versatility, it spread throughout the world. Bocce has even made it to Norfolk, Connecticut! At this summer's Weekend in Norfolk, visitors can try their hand at this ancient game at Norfolk's Bocce Court located at 10 Station Place. The court will be open all three days of WIN, August 4, 5, and 6, and equipment will be supplied at no cost. The ball is in your court, so to speak, so don't miss this fun-filled opportunity to play this time-treasured game!

Family Fun @ WIN's Bocce Court!

Fun Facts About Bocce
Bocce (pronounced baa-chee) is the third most popular sport in the world, after soccer and golf.  Notable bocce players include astronomer Galileo, DaVinci, Queen Victoria, and George Washington, who built a bocce court at Mount Vernon.

The name bocce is thought to derive from the Italian word for bowl. In the beginning, bocce was played using rounded rocks, the oldest rocks were found in Turkey dating to 9000 B.C. Today, bocce is played with composite or metal balls that resemble croquet balls but are larger and heavier.

Bocce is extremely popular in Italy, and was played so often that in 1319, Bocce Ball was actually forbidden to people of lower nobility because it took too much time away from training for war! Even the Catholic Church, in Italy, officially prohibited any clergy from playing bocce declaring it a gambling vice.  Yet, the popularity of the game grew and flourished, and by 1519, it became a public game enjoyed by everyone.

Ruggero Focardi, 1882, Gioco delle Bocce

Giuseppe Garibaldi, Italy's George Washington, was an Italian general, politician, and nationalist who was also an excellent bocce player! He helped to unify Italy in the 1860s and is responsible for the way bocce is played today. 

In 1896, the first Bocce Olympiad was held in Athens, Greece and the game has been part of the international sports scene ever since with leagues and clubs forming throughout Europe. Bocce is now part of the World Corporate Games and, in 1991 it became part of the Special Olympics. With millions of people around the world playing bocce as a competitive sport, bocce was included in the Olympic Games in 1996.

Bocce, one of the oldest lawn games in the world, was brought to America by Italian immigrants at the turn of the last century. Soon U.S. leagues were formed throughout the country. Bocce wasn't enjoyed just by men, the oldest women's bocce league was formed in 1944 in Minnesota! It has also evolved into a popular tournament sport offering large cash awards for its winners.  As of 2023, the United States Bocce Federation estimates that there are more than 1,300,000 players in the United States.

Norfolk's Classic Bocce Court - Fun for All

How to Play Bocce
There maybe be two to four to eight players on each bocce team. Traditionally, before a game starts, both teams have a coin toss to determine the first choice of ball color, which team gets to go first, and who will throw the target ball, which must cross the middle of the court. Bocce is played on a flat surface and requires one target ball called the pallina, and eight larger balls made of hard resin weighing about two pounds. A regulation court is 91 feet long, with two teams facing each other at each end. The object of the game is to toss the ball and get it closest to the small target ball until all eight balls are thrown. At that point, a player scores a point for every ball thrown closer to the pallino.  Balls that hit the back wall are "morte," or dead, and balls of equal distance cancel each other out. The team or player that reaches the agreed-upon number of points wins the game.

Many fans of bocce, young and old alike, enjoy the social mood of the game. There are even health benefits to playing this low-impact game! Playing bocce ball improves coordination and provides a light cardio workout while having loads of fun. 

For a complete calendar of events taking place @ WIN visit http://weekendinnorfolk.org.

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