At the behest of some friends in my DC neighborhood, I recently signed up to play bocce this fall. While I’ve played numerous times on lawns across America, I’d never set foot on one of those courts that seems to be springing up around this city and, as I found out, in neighborhoods in South Philadelphia as well. So, over the holiday weekend, I gave the sport a try.
I didn’t realize how popular bocce is, or is becoming. The combination of Gen Xers who are now parents, as well as GenYers who anecdotally seem to love bars games and leisure sports, means leagues for kickball, skeeball, shuffle board, and now bocce make perfect sense. Drinking and fooding are basic human organizing principles, adding a low-exertion sport is a natural companion. DC Bocce League, now with an actual paid staff, has expansion plans into Philly for this fall, which I know from my former trivia night co-host, a board member who just relocated up 95 to the Delaware Valley. The fact that there is something called Human Foosball surprises me and doesn’t.
The setup was nice, in a small park in the Belle Vista neighborhood, near the Italian Market. Bardascino Park has a few volunteers who look after the court and the equipment. The brackets drawn up on posterboard for that March Madness feel are always a winning touch. As for the game itself, having been a fairly serious bowler as a kid, I didn’t experience too much of a learning curve. Until you get good at reading surface conditions, there’s a high degree of chance involved in most rolls. The lofty backspin throws don’t work as well as you might first expect. As if this weren’t a full day, late in the night as the tournament was winding down two guys from the neighborhood showed up with quoit boards. A Pennsylvania institution similar to horseshoes, especially in my native Lehigh Valley, I wonder of they could be the next great beer league game in the District or if they’re simply too indigenous. I played probably seven fast-paced games long after enough light necessary to make good throws was gone.
While I’m still using crappy Windows Live Movie Maker to edit my footage (am in the evaluation stages with a few other programs), I did figure out that I had a mono input for my handheld mic, so this video features the stereo chord I bought last week, so that annoying problem of only having handheld audio on one side is thankfully gone. I also tried the captions function this time around and I think that will continue as well.