Bocce ball is becoming the newest yuppie after-work sports craze to hit the District, reports The Hill this morning. The West End and Capitol Hill leagues alone have more than 1,000 members. Where are all these people hiding? They're hiding from you and your kickball-playing compadres, we'd say.
Players are billing bocce as the "un-sport," and the game you want to play when you're feeling to world-weary of the post-college kickball crowd. Not that it's NOT fun to hang out with 22-year-olds, but we'd imagine that at some point, that thrill does start to dissipate.
Reports The Hill:
Bocce culture is slowly permeating Capitol Hill. A recent job posting for Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite's (R-Fla.) office noted that “participation on the office bocce team is encouraged."
So, what, you want to know how it's played? Yeah, yeah, fine: Each team has up to four players and four small, heavy balls, like mini bowling balls. The first player tosses a smaller ball, called a pallina or pallino, down an imaginary lane. (Hey, this is being played on grass, after all). Other players throw the larger bocce balls as close to the pallina as possible. The team who gets the closet scores points for that round (one point for each ball that's closer to the opponents' balls). The teams play to 16 points.
If you're Italian, you probably played this game with your grandpa when he was supposed to be mowing the lawn, according to your grandmother. For the rest of you, imagine it's Rocket Bar-style shuffleboard (yes, with the beer-drinking and everything) but outside in the blinding light and heat of a steamy DC afternoon.
The first year started off with only 50 players. Now the league says teams continually split into multiple branches as players' friends join in.
The group’s organizers credit the growth to word of mouth. “I’ve hardly done any PR, and absolutely no advertising,” said Sarah DeLucas, one of D.C. Bocce’s founders.
She said people scoff at bocce at first, but once they play, they’re hooked.
“One team plays, and the next year they split into three teams because all those people have told their friends,” she said.
“It’s casual competition,” player Brian O’Donnell said. “You get to be outside, you don’t have to sweat, and you get sweet T-shirts.”
Brian, sweet T-shirts is why we've done most of the things we've done in life. Meanwhile, registration for the summer season begins next Monday, June 22.