Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Bocce

You know bocce, right? The old Italian game where you toss a small round stone to one end of a court, then try to get larger stone balls as close to it as possible, while knocking your opponents' balls away? Well, it was an important part of T-day this year.

But we don't play that polite bocce, where you just toss the pallino from one end of a pleasant smooth sand area to the other. Ours is more of an extreme bocce...
Also known as all-terrain bocce, it involves using the whole beach - the smooth sand, the rocky parts, the shells and the driftwood, the lawn above, even - at one ill-advised point - the water. That's Kevin hurling a bocce ball in one or our 'long bocc' rounds.
And now I'm having some trouble with uploading images - more later...

Alright - more bocce madness.

Here we are prepping for bocce among the beach chair obstacles:

And this is us getting ready for Extreme Bocce Action (can't you tell?)

The characters in this boccerific image are, from left to right, Crispy, Kevin, Rudy and myself. That bottle in the sand is, um, probably caffeine-free diet coke.

Finally, we have a shot of Water Bocce. The pallino rolled down the slope of the shore and ended up right at the edge of the water. We hemmed and hawed and thought it might not be such a good idea to play that lie. But then we were like: they're rocks, right? They're not going anywhere...

So we played the round. Sure enough, the balls stayed in plain sight at water's edge. We had serious control issues trying to work the slanting sand, but this was All-Terrain Bocce, after all. And when all the stones were rolled, two were almost tied for closest to the jack:

That would be Pike, Kev, Chris and I closely inspecting the situation to determine the victor of the round. We paced it off, allowing for waves, then gathered the rocks and got ready for the next round. But as we did, Rudy said "Um, guys...? Do you have all the balls?"

Ummm... nope. While we were engrossed in the competition aspect of the game, Neptune claimed two of the Bocce balls for himself.

This was followed by about 15 minutes of us all wading up and down the shallows in a vain hope of finding those rocks in the ocean. Which was itself followed by another 10 or so minutes of the four of us just staring out at the surf, muted, scanning for glimpses of red-paint and wondering what we were going to tell Jen (who brought the bocce set in the first place). Gulp :-)

It didn't spoil the party. Fortunately, this was not an heirloom set from Jen's Italian Grandfather or anything. Her attitude was the best - "they couldn't have gone in a better way, or to a better place." And we adjusted the game for the remainder of the weekend.

But if anyone knows where I can find some good Bocce balls cheap, lemme know...


syb said...

Loving the beach posts and pics.

Gotta love the opening paragraph of the Wiki article on Petanque:

Pétanque (pronounced [pe.tɑ̃k] in French) is a form of boules where the goal is to throw metal balls as close as possible to a small wooden ball called a cochonnet (jack). The game is normally played on hard dirt or gravel, but can also be played on grass or other surfaces. Sandy beaches are not suitable. Similar games are bocce and bowls.

(emphasis mine)

mick said...

Ah, but what do those Froggish Petanqueurs know about good Italian Bocce? Much less extreme Bocce - extreme to the max!