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If you build it, they will come: Bocce ball court beckons new players at Seeland Park

September 21, 2021

In a year where outdoors is the best place to be, we wanted to spotlight our fabulous bocce ball court located just east of the Hawn Center. We talked with Jolene Jones, Seeland Park resident and bocce ball fan, to discuss the game.

Doing our research, bocce (BOTCH-EE) dates back to the Roman Empire and through the years has primarily been a yard game played by Italians however, there are many different versions throughout Europe. Brought to the USA from Italian immigrants, it has grown to be an adult yard game that is the perfect group event for any beautiful day.

“Bocce is a game using 4 green and 4 red balls weighing about 2 pounds each. There are two members of two teams on both ends of the court. The target is a pallino (resembles a ping pong ball) which the teams throw their balls toward.  The team with the same color of ball closest to the pallino scores the point or points.  The balls are rolled down the court in a fashion like bowling,” said Jolene.  Simply put, you try to get your ball as close to the pallino as possible, the closest gets the most points!

In 2012, Seeland Park residents held a campaign to get a court built on campus. This campaign received donations from Seeland Park residents and the Seeland Park reserve fund of almost $10,000. With that Bushong Construction Company of Montezuma built a hard dirt surface court in 2013.

Slightly smaller than the regulation size at 10’ x 70’, the court surface is 28” below grade with an 18” thick layer of course base rock and a 6” thick layer of fine rock for top layer so balls will not roll out but are level for rolling (knocking your opponent’s balls away from the pallino is fair play)!

“We are playing bocce ball on Wednesday evenings at 6:00 PM and on Saturday mornings at 10:00 AM,”   comments Jolene, who would love to see more Seeland Park residents take part. “If you want to join the    normally scheduled bocce games, just show up (weather permitting of course)!”

Seeland Park residents enjoyed a special bocce ball meet and greet events on September 11th at 10 AM and September 15th at 6 PM to watch, enjoy refreshments and learn how to play.

“We had a great time at the two tournaments held in 2013 and 2015. We don’t have enough participants at this time to have a tournament but hopefully, we can get others at Seeland Park interested in playing,” said Jolene.

The sport is by its nature a social game that not only keeps everyone on a very competitive level regardless of age or gender, but it’s also conveniently located in your backyard. Make bocce ball your new autumn activity and join us this month! 

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