To Bocce Players, Potential Bocce Players and people who might be interested in learning to play bocce:

To Bocce Players, Potential Bocce Players and people who might be interested in learning to play bocce:

The following is a letter from the Town of Hudson:

 Some of you know, some don't, that there is a new bocce court at Redwood Park in Hudson.  10 of us played there on the 4th of July and around 12-16 at the "Cotton Patch Gospel" Cast Party back in April, the week the court was built.  The court needs some work, filling in a few holes and eroded spots washed away by water.  There is a bit of weedery at one end of the court and the fine gravel needs pressing and sweeping.  We need to put the lines on the rails to know the parameters of where to keep one's back foot when rolling, and the square in which the target ball must be rolled to be in play.  But the court is playable right now and will get better!

 Chuck Raby, the Recreation and Parks Manager, is always open minded and looking to expand upon sports ideas.  I mentioned bocce to him several years ago and said then, that it would be nice to have a court in town at some point.  Chuck was thinking along the same lines and called me to say that they had built one back in April!  (I'm also glad he built a Frisbee Golf Course.)

 I then suggested to Chuck that we would be happy to teach rules to potential new players who were interested.  The Rec Dept does not own a set of bocce balls, Chuck thinking, and rightfully so, that someone might abscond with them.  I told him if there was a deposit to sign them out, that might work.  

 Yesterday, I suggested to Chuck that we might hold a tournament after the Kiddie Car Parade next 4th of July.  Chuck mentioned the hot weather and went one step farther and suggested that we have a fall league.  He and I discussed a tournament in late September, if I could find enough people.  There would be some sort of reasonable entry fee, which would cover the cost of t-shirts for everyone involved and trophies for tournament winners.  Also if this is organized, Chuck is willing for the rec to provide a set of bocce balls.  My proposal is that if we find enough interest, we could hold a tournament of 8 teams, 4 players per team.  There is only one court, so it would take up several hours, but we would start early to avoid heat, certainly by 9 AM, perhaps on Saturday, September 24th.  All of this needs to go by Chuck first for his approval, but he and I have opened dialogue.  Generally, a game is played to 12 points.  But there are rule differences everywhere one plays, often determined by circumstances and logistics.  The first round could be played to 8 points, 4 games taking it down to 4 teams.  Then there could be 2 semi-final games, playing to 10 points.  Then the championship game could be to the full 12 points.  Sometimes games go fast, sometimes slow, but it would only be a total of 7 games and we should be out by early to mid-afternoon at the latest.  We should make it an event, bringing lawn chairs, food and drink, etc.  

 I was trying to roughly guess the number of tournaments I've played in since I began in 1978 and I come up with at least over 70 in at least 12 different locations, from the mountains to Kitty Hawk, and many points in between.  I've played on hard-packed red clay, small gravel, similar to the Hudson Court, sand, grass and ground up shells at the beach.  All tourneys on all courts are handled in different ways with different rules, but with several consistent things across the board.  I've played in tournaments where people are seeded by perceived expertise.  I've also played in tournaments where people are seeded by luck of the draw and that is usually the case and is certainly the case here, with no prior history upon which to place any rankings.  

 A lot of you will be involved in our fall play, and everyone has a busy schedule, so having regular practice nights in the late summer/early fall might be a stretch.  But if people want to go practice on their own, until the rec acquires a set of bocce balls, I am willing to make mine available upon request and I should not speak for him, but I assume Tim Boone would do the same.  We have access to three sets of bocce balls, one smaller than regulation size - those belong to Ken Thwing, one regulation set belonging to Tim Boone and my set which are larger than regulation size.  Mine were a gift from the cast of the outdoor drama, "From This Day Forward," when I directed it in 2001.

 Valdese has the ultimate set-up for bocce in the area, probably in the entire state.  It is where I began, with the interest there being brought about by the Italian Waldensian Community.  We'll of course start on a much smaller scale, but I have no doubt that bocce can grow in Hudson.  Perhaps the best thing is that bocce is universal and accessible, and learning and playing the game expands cultural awareness.  It can be played on sand at the beach, on grass, in parks, with or without court parameters.  Once you have access to a set of bocce balls, there is no expense or cost involved.  You don't have to be an athlete.  You can be young, old, male, female, from any background.  I no longer have a competitive interest or edge, but just want to have fun and be an ambassador for the game and bring people together for fellowship.

 Some of you might not have much of a clue what bocce even is, though I venture that at least most of you have heard of it!  It incorporates elements of pool, shuffleboard, golf, curling, bowling and much more! 

So if you are interested, please let me know, and how many people you have who want to get involved.  If not interested, thanks for taking the time to read this.  This is not going to become some huge, time-consuming endeavor.  The Lord above knows I am not in a position to add a lot of time consuming things to my schedule.  And anyone can go and take advantage of the court at any time, again remembering the one prerequisite is that you have access to a set of bocce balls.  The only real commitment to this organized approach would be to a one day tournament, and for now, that would only be one time a year.  Or you might want to try it for fun, and not participate in a tournament; but please, at least check it out!  Let me hear from you. 


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