As the first official day of summer approaches we thought it was the perfect time to profile one of our favourite activities for the season: bocce. An Italian sport with its roots in ancient Egypt, here is a brief look at how to play the sport, where it came from, and how its popularity among residents of Predator Ridge has grown at warp speed.
A NEW TRADITION FOR AN OLD SPORT
During summer here in Predator Ridge you will find homeowners and club members taking to the first fairway of the course each Monday night, prepared to flex their competitive muscles. This free league takes full advantage of the season’s warm weather to indulge in one of our most popular activities: bocce!
Also known as Italian lawn bowling, boccehas been around in one form or another since before the days of the Roman Empire. Pronounced BOH-chay, the word is derived from the Italian bocce or Venetian bale, meaning ‘balls,’ although it is thought to have originated as far back as 5000 B.C. with the Egyptians. How’s that for a game with staying power?
Played on a long, level length of ground between two single players or two teams of two to four people, to begin you will need a bocce ball set, good aim, and (depending on whether you win or lose) a sense of humour.
Eachbocce ball set contains eight coloured balls (four of one colour and four of another), and a smaller target ball called the jack or pallina. Tradition states that once you’ve chosen teams you should flip a coin to see who will have the honor of tossing the pallina from one end of the court to the other. From there your goal is simple: throw your bocce ballas close to the pallina as possible from behind the court’s fault line.
A BACI FOR THE BOCCE
After the second team takes a shot at the pallina,it’s time to decide who will be allowed to bowl their three remaining balls one after another. Usually, this is the team whose bocce ball is farthest from the pallina.Should your ball touch the pallina in the process, this is known as a “kiss” or “baci” (BAH-chee) in Italian. Many residents of Predator Ridge have been known to participate in our Monday night games for the sole purpose of yelling out “Baci the bocce!” when this happens.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “This bocce stuff doesn’t sound that interesting.” Trust me; first attend one of our Monday night Bocce games and then we’ll talk. But if you still don’t believe me, just ask the people over at the Kelowna Canadian Italian Club (KCIC).
PRESERVING CULTURAL HERITAGE IN KELOWNA
With a mandate like “Preserving Our Italian Culture & Heritage,” the KCIC does a great job of preserving Italian culture through its events and activities. The club is currently involved in “exploring the Italian community in Kelowna and the impact they had on the development of [the] city.” And of course, last but not least on their mission list, is bocce.
With tournaments ongoing through the summer months, attending one of the KCIC’s bocce games is a great way to learn about the game while supporting the local Italian community.
THE GAME, THE LEGEND
If you’ve never played bocce before, we encourage you to come out and join us this summer. But a word of warning before you join; even the most reluctant player has been known to fall under the game’s spell. After all, with a name like bocce, who can resist?