Throwing balls toward a target is literally the oldest game known to mankind. Back around 5000 B.C. the ancient Egyptians were doing it using polished rocks. Around 800 B.C. this simple-but-fun ball sport also took place in Greece. From there, the Romans brought it to Italy. The name “bocce” actually comes from the Latin word meaning boss. However, it also is the plural form of the Italian word boccia, which means bowl in the sporting sense (like bowling).
If someone asks you what bocce is, you can tell them it’s the best pizza in Western New York. You can also say it’s lawn bowling!
So how does bocce, the sport, work? It’s traditionally played on natural soil and asphalt courts. Bocce balls are spherical and made of plastic or metal. There’s a smaller ball, known as the jack, that gets thrown first, to the far end of the court. Then players compete to see who can underhandedly toss/roll their ball(s) closest to the jack to score points. Generally, a point is awarded when a player’s ball is closest to the jack, compared to other balls in the vicinity, such that games are played until a person or team gets 7 to 13 points, depending on the agreed upon “winning” amount of points.
Did you know there are public bocce courts not too far from Bocce Club Pizza? If you visit Bassett Park in Amherst (at the corner of Klein and Youngs), you’ll often find gripss playing games on the bocce courts there. Why not get a slice of Bocce Club Pizza (or a whole pizza) and take it to the park to eat while the weather’s nice? There you can watch a bocce game while eating Bocce’s.