There are so many games to play with balls—baseball, football, soccer, golf are a few of the more popular, but except for golf, they are spectator sports for those of us of retirement age. There is one game, however, featuring balls, that can be enjoyed by almost anyone.
The name of the game is Bocce. Bocce traces its history back to Egypt, becoming popular with the Romans and Emperor Augustus. It was introduced into the popular culture of Italy in its present form in the 1800s, and reached our shores along with Italian immigrants at the turn of the 20th century. Not only is it among the earliest known outdoor pastimes, but it is played in more countries than any other ball game, with the exception of soccer. It is a cousin to the British sport of bowls and the French petanque.
On the two well-groomed courts of Carolina Meadows, as few as two and as many as sixteen players can participate at one time. A game can be conducted between two players, or two teams of two, three or four. A game of strategy, it has been described as combining the best of skee-ball, bowling and shuffleboard. Currently, men and women play together.
Bocce players enjoy this relaxing, social game throughout the year, alternating mornings in the warm weather months with afternoons when fall brings cooler temperatures.
No experience is necessary, and there is always some well versed person happy to instruct in the rules of this ancient game.