This summer, our friends over at the Beehive Sport and Social Club offered up a free bocce ball league, and since I can never turn down a sport that involves standing in yards and holding a beverage, I strong-armed a small group of City Weekly staffers to join my bocce squad.
Now, if you’ve never bocced, let me quickly explain how to play this ridiculously simple game. Think of bocce as a combination of shuffleboard, skee-ball and lawn darts. Basically, the gist is to throw your team’s balls as close as possible to a little yellow ball called the pallino. After both teams have emptied their balls on the field, whichever team’s balls are closer to the pallino gets the points. You do this till you reach 16. I know, I know, I hate learning, too, so here’s a video of Leann Rimes playing bocce ball that explains absolutely nothing.
Our team is called the City Weekly Society of Professional Drinkers and Enthusiasts of Encased Meats (I only chose this name because I wanted to see it on a T-shirt) and well, we're not very good. In fact, we’re probably the shittiest team in the league. I imagine this is how the other teams discuss our squad:
So far, we’re about five weeks deep and we’ve only won a single game. It was our first match-up, and I think the only reason we won is because it was raining and the other team wanted to leave. However, we’re getting better, and because of our colossal losing streak I believe that you, the readers, could and should learn from our mistakes. Here’s what we know so far:
1. Chicks with softball arms will destroy you. You know you’re gonna lose when the other team has this coveted specimen on their squad. It’s a proven fact that women with arms the size of your torso have at least the strength of a man that has the strength of two men. If you have the means of attaining one of these bocce warriors, I highly recommend it. If not, forget about it; you’re screwed.
2. It’s your health, so hydrate with beer. Remember, bocce ball isn’t an Olympic sport (even tough it should be), and my rule of thumb has always been “if it’s not in the Olympics, then you can do it drunk.” Since bocce is technically a drinking game, the more you drink the better you get. No one can explain this; it’s just one of those mysteries that scientists will never be able to explain, like why people think Tyler Perry is funny.
3.Confuse your opponents by not knowing the rules. Bocce is like any other game. It involves physical and mental strength, therefore, playing against someone who seemingly doesn’t know the rules will frustrate the shit out of anyone. For example, I played tennis in high school and I wasn’t very good at it. However, my doubles partner and I won a lot of games because I was always asking questions like, “So, is that a point if the ball lands inside the lines?” “Is whistling allowed?” “Isn’t tennis a funny word?” When the other team eventually tells you to shut the hell up, you know you've won.
4. Wash your balls every time. A typical bocce ball weighs about 2 lbs. and you may to have to hurl one as far as 60 ft. Since more often than not you’ll have to put a lot of mustard on it, the last thing you want is balmy, slippery hands. Just like your mother used to tell you, always bring a towel -- that way you can rub that ball down real good before each throw.
5. Stick to your ball-tossin’ routine. Like shooting free throws in basketball, it’s beneficial to throw the same way every time, even if you look like an idiot. My routine consists of eyeing down the pallino, whispering a motivational chant and hammering the ball as hard as I can with a thundering overhand throw. This method may seem unnatural, but so is wearing Toms shoes with no socks. Damn it, it feels good.