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The exact origin of this popular game has been traced to three possible cultures. Some feel that a form of bocce dates back to the Egyptians, some feel it was the Greeks who developed this game, and others credit the Italians. The origin might not be clear, but one thing that is clear is that the popularity of this game is as a result of the Italians. It was the Italians who popularized the game throughout Europe. As each culture played it they derived their own form of this popular sport. The French refer to it as Pétanque, the English call it "bowls", and it is even referred to by other cultures as lawn bowling. No matter what the name is it is still a great game to participate in. The only equipment needed is eight large balls and one smaller ball called a pallino. Four of the eight balls will have some sort of marking or color variation to distinguish it from the remaining balls. The rules are simple. A team can consist of one, two, or four players. It is best to play on a flat surface. I was in a tournament over the summer that was played on asphalt that tilted from right to left. Let me tell you it was not fun. The objective is to get your four bocce balls as close to the pallino as possible. You are allowed to knock the opponents ball out of the vicinity with your own bocce ball. The team that gains the points for that round would start the next round by throwing the pallino and then tossing the bocce ball. The game continues until one team reaches a set total. Usually, it is 11, 12, or 16 points. Bocce is an extremely popular and fun sport. It is played almost everywhere in the world and tournaments are held in many countries and cities.
The game of bocce is not a difficult game to understand, but it can be a difficult one to master. Leagues can be very intense and challenging. I have participated in a few leagues while on my father's team and experienced first hand the intensity that exists. Thankfully bocce is not a full contact sport because, it could get ugly.
Bocce is a game that will always hold a place in my heart, because it will always remind me of my father. I often look back and cherish the times I had with my father while playing or helping him construct our own court. It will never be the same playing bocce without him but I will never take back the times we shared or forget the many memories I had.
I hope you enjoyed my feature on bocce. If you have any questions, comments, and/or suggestions please send me an email. If this brought back some memories and you would like to share them please take a few minutes to post them on our forum.
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