2014 Bocce Season

         

Bocce, an ancient sport little known in the United States, has finally begun to take root in the American sports culture. Bocce is a word stemming from the vulgar Latin, "Bottica", a direct root of the Italian word "Bocce". Bocce was first documented in a 5200 B.C. painting of two boys playing, which was discovered by an English scientist, Sir Francis Petrial, in an Egyptian tomb.
Bocce spread throughout Palestine and into Asia Minor. In 600 B.C., Bocce was picked up by the Greeks and passed to the Romans. It was played everywhere, from the churches and castles to the city streets. People from all walks of life could play the game; young or old, man or woman.
In 1319 A.D., Bocce was actually prohibited to people of lesser nobility because it was felt that it diverted attention from more important tasks, such as archery and war training. In 1519, Bocce became a public game. It was played in Flanders, Holland and Belgium.

Greek colonists brought Bocce with them to what is now modern Italy. It became so popular that it was once again threatened with prohibition, as people who were playing Bocce in the streets were hitting the knees of passing noblemen with the Bocce balls. Although unfortunate for the humbler people who played Bocce, this problem brought widespread attention to the sport among Italian noblemen and Bocce immediately became a favorite pastime.

It was Giussepi Garibaldi, who, while unifying and nationalizing Italy, popularized the sport as it is known today. Bocce frequently lost and gained popularity throughout the ages. In 1896, during a resurgence of popularity, the first Bocce Olympiad was held in Athens, Greece. Bocce has been a part of international sports ever since.

Bocce has seen many changes throughout the ages. It has evolved from being a crude sport played with rounded rocks, or even coconuts, to the modern game with composite or metal balls. Bocce has been known under many names - lawn bowling, nine pins, skittles, pentanque, to name a few - and has seen many rule changes. The popularity of Bocce in America has been on the rise since it swept California in 1989. There are more than 25,000,000 Bocce enthusiasts that have heard of the sport, play recreationally, or play on structured courts in the United States today.