Promoting Bocce


This photos are courtesy of Tom McNutt of Bellingham, Washington who built a bocce court in his parking strip. Here, in his own words, is a description excerpted from his excellent e-mail…

“I bought a badly overgrown property in the middle of town that has taken some 8 1/2 years to tame. The process was getting long and I needed some fun to help numb the pains. I was exposed to bocce in Italy some 35 plus odd years ago, later petanque in France as an adult, and felt that I needed something “community” oriented after 9-11. Half of the public right of way in front of my home was parking and the rest was lawn. Perfect location for a 60 x 12 foot court.

543445_176361392552314_349145145_n“I tried to pay the city planning department several times for a permit but they refused my money saying I didn’t need one for this application since I owned all of the affected adjacent property.” — Tom McNutt

One planner suggested it was a great use of public access. I border a commercial district and across my alley is a deli which draws quite a crowd. I would guess 150 to 200 people drive by daily and 5 to 10 car loads stop and ask about the game every week. Pedestrians stop frequently. Because of the proximity to the street we cannot afford many volo shots but still enjoy most aspects of the game. A street light at one end of the court and my work lights at the other allow us to play all night so long as we don’t argue loudly about the game. Occasionally I am out and a car will drive up and people will ask to play. I figure I have taught several hundred people the principles of the game in the few months the court has been in. Now people drive by daily and yell, ‘Bocce, Bocce Anyone?’

I am taking my family through the wine country, bay area, and then over to Los Gatos to see their new courts. We look forward to seeing how other folks on the west coast are handling the climatic changes. Also Bellingham has recently purchased land to build multiple and various sports fields and I am trying to rally the local seniors to help me pressure the Parks Dept. to build a few year round covered courts.

“The one thing I have come to learn about Bocce is that it is all about community… At a time when we know fewer of our neighbors because we tend to go inside and close our blinds, I decided to stand out front of my home and say, ‘hello neighbors’.” — Tom McNutt

I hope to sponsor Bellingham’s first public tournament next summer. Could you ask your readers about movable courts? I want to examine building court kits so we could take tournament play to communities that may not otherwise have enough adjacent courts to sponsor such events…What do you think?”

Bocce is Good!
Tom

{Wow! This is as good a condensed argument for promoting bocce as I have ever heard. Tom’s eloquent comments about bocce and community should be brought to the attention of city planners and community developers everywhere. And his “curb-side bocce” is just about the neatest thing I’ve heard about since I started this ezine. If you are anywhere near him out there on the “Left Coast” I’d suggest dropping by to see his court and to congratulate him on his good work. People who do good things and run beneficial programs should get patted on the back by those who recognize the excellent contribution they are making.

Game On!
The Bocce Guy

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