I Heart Bocce…more than anything

July 27, 2008 at 6:20 pm (Napa Valley)

So I just played bocce for 4.5 hours.  Yes, that might sound like insane amount of time, but what else do I have to do on a beautiful Sunday afternoon when the valley truly feels like the garden of Eden. 

And while I do love playing bocce almost more than anything…today’s highlight was finding an Eddie Bauer “Official Rule Book” of Bocce, Croquet, Badminton, Horseshoes, and Volleyball.  And so I thought I would share a little history of bocce for all of those who actually care:

“There are many differnet stories about the origins of bocce, but one thing is certain, it’s old.  Drawings dated as far back as 5200 BC show figures tossing a ball or stone.  Even the early Egyptians are believed to have played a version of the game.  Early Greek physicians advised patients to play bocce as a therapeutic exercise.

The popularity of the game grew throughout Europe to a point in time at which governments feared for the security of the state.  Many people were more interested in playing the game than in defending their nations.  Governments, Kings, and even the Catholic Church officially condemned the sport imposing fines and even imprisonment on those who disobeyed the law.

Despite the international appreciation for the game, bocce was still lacking any central organization thus it was excluded from the first modern Olumpics held in 1896.  France was the first to establish organized leagues followed by Italy.  These two countries together help to garner interest in the sport through the rest of Europe.  The United States first organized competitively during the turn of last century.  The Olumpic Committee is currently considering adding Bocce as a competitive sport.  Possibly with the first demo trial being held during the 2002 Olympic Games.  (Obviously this didn’t happen?)

The object of the game is simply to try and get your ball closest to the Pallino or target ball.  It can be played by individuals of all ages and physical ability, on a court, on the beach or in your backyard.  It is fast becoming one of the most popular games in the United States.  World wide it ranks second as the most participated sport, preceded by soccer and followed by golf.”

Who would have known bocce was such a historical sport that was loved the world over?  I just thought it was us Napa Vallians that loved the game so much because it was a good way to eat, drink, and enjoy the fabulous Napa lifestyle.  Obviously, I had no idea!


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