Five Ways Bocce is Like Life Itself

By Scott Signore

A good game of Bocce – the Italian sport played for centuries – is a lot like life, and here’s how:

First, every bocce game is as competitive as you want it to be. If you are hungry for the trophy and want to go with gusto, then take lessons, practice and then perform on whatever court you play. If you care to take it easy, then do that. Like life itself, you control the competitive vibe.

Second, a typical bocce game has plenty of ups and downs. Some early game momentum may instantly be eliminated by an errant toss. Or, because of a botched toss by your competitor, you may find yourself in a good position. You need to roll with the ups and downs of each phase of the game, and move forward. (Does that sound familiar?)

Third, at its best, it’s collaborative. Sure, a game of bocce can be as enjoyable one on one, but it’s at its best with a big crowd of family and friends. The yard-based model of the ancient game is designed for players to gather as a group and have fun. It’s for talking strategy with teammates, and celebrating success (wins!) together. It’s social and fun while at the same time offering some healthy competition.

Fourth, it’s all about achieving objectives. Like a person’s life plan, a good game of bocce involves strategy and a clear objective: toss your bocce balls closest to the pallino. If you perform on plan, then reap the sought-after reward. If the plan changes, so may the result. Simply put, you have to have your eye on the prize and know what you need to do to get there!

And, finally, both have rules. Sometimes you bend the rules – ahem! – but in any case there are guidelines that dictate what you can and can’t do, and that evens the playing field.

On Saturday, nearly 300 tremendously supportive and generous people will gather at Cashman Park as registered participants in the 2015 Newburyport Bocce Bash, which a number of equally generous employees here at Matter volunteer their time to help host. The event is sponsored by a long list of generous entities, including the Newburyport Five Cents Savings Bank, Mechanica, Barefoot Wine and Anheuser Busch, to name only a few, and benefits the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center, the nationally recognized entity working to eliminate domestic violence. If your weekend plans haven’t yet been made, consider joining the gang for food, drink, live music, games for the kids, and, of course bocce!