Summer Games: Bocce Ball

June 02, 2009 | Comments (0) | by The Hundley

Now that summer is here (almost), it's time to get that itchy shirt off and get outside. This is doubly true in times of Cub woe that we're currently experiencing - we need something to pass the time and dull the pain. Summer Games will examine some classic outside games, carefully choosing ones that lend themselves to shirtless participation and the coexistance of your favorite summer beverage.

Sometimes the "old man" games are the best. And really, why shouldn't they be? If the games have been around for more than 100 years, obviously something is working. This certainly applies to Bocce Ball. The game itself is easy. It can be one on one or you can play two-man teams. Initially, a small ball is thrown out onto the surface. This is called the jack (or the pallino, mark, or the pea). Each team has two or four balls to throw, the goal being to get your bocce balls closest to the jack. You can roll them, bowl them, or lob them. If the other team has a ball close or on the jack, you can bowl your ball and knock it away. The closest ball gets a point, and the team with the closest ball gets the opportunity to throw the jack to start the next round. Games can be set by time or by score. You can look at a more formal explanation of the rules here. The Hundley always plays to eleven - that's why God gave you 10 fingers and a penis.*

The surface on which you play is up for argument. Purists will claim that it must be played on crushed oyster shells on a court that measures a certain area, measured in meters. We here at Thunder Matt are much more forgiving. Mark the court out with anything handy (empty bottles or cans work great). As a guess, I'd say roughly 15' x 40'. After you throw a few balls, you'll get a feel for if the distance is too much or not enough. You can play it on grass, the beach, even a dirt lot (though this will be much harder).

Quick facts:

  • Shirtless play is easily accessible, and should in fact be encouraged. It's a well known fact that you look sexy playing shirtless Bocce Ball, and there is no better way to perfect your summer tan.
  • Athletic ability is not a must. Let's not kid ourselves, you're tossing, rolling, and bowling balls that weigh a few pounds. Hand eye coordination obviously helps, but as it becomes inebriated, a new level of fun/skill is added to the game.
  • A beverage is easily accessible. Christ, you could even have one in your hand the entire game.
  • It's a relatively cheap game. You can pick up a Bocce Ball set for about thirty bones. That's two trips to the plasma center and that baby's yours, AND you get drunk quicker and cheaper.
  • Ease of play errs to the simple end. So easy, even Chad Cordero could play.

Boom! There you go. Get a cooler and bocce ball set and you're good to go; you've got a mobile party. Watch Chaim Witz bowl with the grace of a swan.

* This obviously does not apply to Antonio Alfonseca and Koyie Hill