Enjoy the Italian-inspired game of bocce at your next Travisso barbecue
For hours of backyard fun at your next Travisso barbecue try the Italian-inspired game of bocce. Also known as lawn bowling, the game can be played outdoors or indoors on your lawn or on a court. However, spending the day outdoors in the sunshine with family and friends playing a friendly game of bocce is priceless. Look out though, the game can be addicting. It is loads of fun for everyone!
Bocce sets can be bought at major retailers throughout the area with varying price ranges. The rules are simple and no skills are necessary. However, if you have a competitive streak, you probably want to have a strategy. After all, in the end, the team or player with the most points wins.
A bocce ball history lesson
The ancient game of bocce is the oldest known sport in the world. It originated around 5000 B.C. when the Egyptians played a simple form of it with rocks. After making its way to the Greeks it eventually ended up in the Roman Empire.
The Roman influence still rooted in the game’s history today is in the name. The word “bocce” derives from the Latin translation of the Bible word for bottia, meaning boss. The Romans were the first to play a game very similar to what we know as bocce today. However, the game’s quick popularity in the Roman Empire hit a few bumps. Long hours of playing bocce was condemned because more pressing matters such as military obligations were being ignored. Eventually, bocce was banned in Venice in 1563 imprisoning or fining those that did not comply.
However, other European countries, primarily Great Britain embraced the game. The British were the first to bring the game to American soil. The English version “bowls” originated from the French word boule meaning ball. Throughout the centuries, bocce’s popularity has been up and down. But, because of the flux of Italian immigrants to the U.S. at the turn of the 20th century, the game has been able to thrive and flourish even today.
The ABCs of bocce
In its simplest form the game of bocce consists of throwing a ball at a target called the jack or pallino. The objective is to get your ball as close to the jack as possible. Points are awarded for the number of balls that are closest to the jack.
The game can be played on any large open space in your yard or on an official-sized court measuring 13 feet wide by 90 feet long. To start the game determine which team goes first. The winning team begins the game by throwing out the jack. The same team is also responsible for throwing the first bocce ball. A player on the other team then takes a turn. The goal for each player is to get as close to the jack as possible. The team whose ball is farthest from the jack now throws its remaining three balls with each player taking their turn. The other team now takes their turn and bowls out.
After throwing all of the balls, the team with the ball closest to the jack collects points. The number of points collected is based on the number of balls that are closer than the closest ball of the other team. One point per ball. Switch to the other end of the court and play another frame. The team that reaches 12 points first wins.
Other places to play bocce
You can always play a game of bocce on any lawn. But, if you decide you want a more challenging atmosphere there are places in Austin with courts to play on. The Triangle on Guadalupe has two official-size AstroTurf courts accessible to everyone. And, Brushy Creek Lake Park in Cedar Park also has two courts near picnic tables and shade trees. Play for free. Reservations are not necessary. You can also join a league. Check out Major League Bocce in Austin’s website for a league schedule. The good news is that the league plays year-round. You can jump in anytime.
The opportunities for bocce bliss are endless and year-round in your Travisso backyard. Ya’ll enjoy.