Sunday, August 01, 2021

Parks and Rec host bocce ball lessons

Staff Writer | July 13, 2021 4:00 PM

Bocce ball has been around for thousands of years. The first recorded instance of the game dates back to a 5200 B.C. painting of two boys playing a version of the game, discovered by English scientist Sir Francis Petrial in an Egyptian tomb.

From there, the game spread to Palestine and Asia Minor before it was picked up by the Greeks and passed to the Romans. It became an international sport in the late 1800s and is even now part of the Paralympics set to compete this August in Tokyo.

Now the game has found its way to Bonners Ferry and a series of classes hosted by Boundary County Parks and Rec.

Originally played with rounded stones or even coconuts, the game often known by names such as lawn bowling, nine pins or skittles, it is now played with composite or metal balls.

Anywhere from two to eight players receive a set of colored balls and attempt to get them closest to the pallina, the target or object ball, thus scoring points. Players can also attempt to displace the pallina or their competitors' balls.

It’s “fun, not high impact,” said instructor John Beck. Officially played on a court 91 by 13 feet, he said it can be played “anywhere you have a green space to play” and you can easily “modify the rules to suit your backyard situation.”

This is the first year Beck will be teaching the classes, which start Monday, July 26. Classes will be in the evening so people can get off work, have dinner and then come join in for the lessons and a game. “They might make some friends” in the process, he said.

It’s a “fun, social activity,” said Beck.

He’s hoping to have a big enough turnout to organize a charity tournament sometime in August. All proceeds from the tournament would go to Hope House which offers “no strings attached” free clothing, food, baby items and more to Boundary County residents.

For more information, call John Beck at 208-610-0157. Registration is open to adults and tennagers accompanied by adults.