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Though today’s game would be familiar to the ancient Egyptians, it was the early Romans—using coconuts—who popularized bocce. And via the Romans it spread like wildfire all over Europe. In fact it became so popular that many—the king of Spain, the Republic of Venice, even the Pope—restricted its play because it was taking soldiers away from honing their much-needed archery (and other combat) skills.
“First we finish the game,” Sir Francis Drake is supposed to have said. “then we’ll deal with the Armada!”
Thanks to Italian immigrants (a major component of Brooklyn’s makeup) the game arrived on our shores. Now’s your chance to join the fun. NYC Bocce, “a sports and social club with the emphasis on social,” organizes games throughout the year. But hurry — the last day to register for summer session is July 1.
Everyone who signs up will play. Shirts, equipment, and refs are provided and games will be played in Williamsburg (Wednesday and Thursday in McCarren Park), Park Slope (Wednesday and Thursday in Greenwood Park Beer Garden), and Brooklyn Bridge Park Beer Garden (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday).
The games begin the week of July 13 and end eight weeks later in the Brooklyn vs. Manhattan vs. Queens New York City Bocce Championship tournament. There will be free beer for all members.
According to the U.S. Bocce Federation worldwide participation in Bocce is third only to soccer and golf—it’s that much fun. Register now and let the games (and the socializing) begin!