This past Monday, summer gently settled in on Madera. The day was uneventful, and the evening passed quietly. But, that was not the case in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. There, civilized people donned their team shirts and practiced flexing their elbows for two important reasons: First, it was the opening night of the DC Bocce League; and second, while the bowlers compete, they drink Peroni Beer, the league‘s sponsor.
I’ve never had the opportunity to play bocce (the Americanized version is usually spelled “bocci”), but I’ve had a lot of practice drinking Peroni beer while sitting at my favorite café and watching tourists stroll along the pathway that runs beside Lake Como in Northern Italy. Fortunately for my liver, Peroni makes a non-alcohol version of its splendid brew. In Italian, it’s “biera Peroni analcoholica.”
Because Madera was settled by so many Italian families and has such a vibrant Italian American community, I wonder why we don’t have a bocce league. Bocce is as much a part of Italian culture as is pinochle, spaghetti, and Isabella Rossellini (or, if you’re as old as I, Sophia Loren). It was played throughout the Roman Empire during the rule of the Caesars, although its origins go back to antiquity. But, it was developed in its present form in Italy.
According to United Social Sports (sponsored by Bud Lite, of all things!), bocce “is the perfect outdoor party game. Easy to learn, easy to play, and you don’t have to be in shape like the creepy Soviet boxer from Rocky IV. It’s like lawn bowling, but with scoring like shuffleboard.” ...