This is the outfit I wore playing bocce ball at one of my favorite wineries the other weekend with boyfriend's folks and little brother. My midwestern bf made the observation that bocce must be to California what horseshoes is in his home state. The objectives are similar. As in bocce, you have a ball, whereas in horseshoes, you have a stake in the ground. The team that has their ball or horseshoe closest to the stake or target ball wins the point. Multiple points also depend on the land of your throw and factor into scoring as well.
photography by Adam Knight

Bocce is a simple game, but I love it. And I prefer playing it on a traditional stone-dust court rather than some of the commercialized green ones... I like the feeling of the chalk across the palm of your hand and fingers when you pick up the ball... most likely the same (and only) reason I endured the years of gymnastics training among my other childhood sports involvements. Honestly, I went to class for the chalk bucket. It was so fun to powder up before frightfully gripping to the bars (I have a strange fear of heights — more like, nervousness being off-balance without solid low-grounded footing) and whirling around them like a bat out of hell. Let's not even talk about the balance beams...

But bocce is fun. If you are unaware of the rules of the game, I could teach you and beat you in about five minutes. The small ball — the pallino — (I always accidentally call it polenta) is tossed out onto the court, the further towards the back wall the more the challenge, and this becomes the two teams' target. Each team then tries to toss their bocci to land as close to the pallino as possible, without hitting the back wall. Hitting the back wall disqualifies your ball, but knocking the other team's ball does not. The first team to nine points wins the round.

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