While spring may have arrived a couple of months ago, the sunshine had been rather truant for the most part. This is finally appearing to change. With the warm and sun filled weather returning, my mind begins to drift to that great game that all true sports people yearn after during the summer months: bocce. It is once again time to focus on the spectacle that can turn any park, pit, beach, backyard, patch of grass, patch of land for that matter, into hallowed grounds. As the days grow longer you can hear the children out on the boulevards with their street bocce sets pretending they are the great masters of the game – idolizing their heroes. “I’ll knock you out!” they cheer, or “We’re closest” they’ll cry. When it is time to come in there are calls of “Next end takes it all!” before they have to retire to bed and dream of making that clutch hit and stick.
This game that captivates and enthralls may have its detractors. They claim there is little physical stamina necessary, that it is a game for the elderly or the inebriated. These naysayers have much to learn, and if they only took the time to try and understand the game they would be in awe of its grace and beauty. The hardened players can control the jack, play the short game as well as the long, focus when the game is close, shut out the cries of the children in the wading pool and the sizzle of the BBQ…. rather, the cries of the crowd and the sizzle of their opponents fury, and deliver a perfect shot.
So, I look to begin a new bocce season with anticipation of the great moments to come. It has been a winter of reflection, preparation, and close study of the game. Well, perhaps I threw the odd snowball at a target… however, that makes the opening to the season no less great, or anticipated. In fact, 2007 will mark a new era in my own bocce career. There is the pressure of being only the second “hold-over” champion from Hopkins Park. Also, there are those who doubt whether I can recover from what has become known as the Deep Cove Incident. To the committed, I say fear not, the game will live on, the jack will be thrown out!
The time is right, the summer nears… you have been called to Bocce!