Friday Five (Reasons to Play Bocce)

We storm the field in our finest neon orange, equipment draped from our shoulders. We get our assignment—notice of our competition, who must be brought to justice. We share a battle cry (usually a half-hearted chant). And then, we rock-paper-scissors.

THIS…IS…BOCCE.

For the past couple of springs, Abby, I and a group of friends have battled it out weekly on the court, playing a very spirited and not so skillful game of bocce. As team captain and head sidelines dancer, I feel it is my job—nay, my duty—to share the good word of this “sport” with our readers.

Honestly, if you’ve never played social sports, you’re missing out. Bocce is a prime example of what happens when a well-oiled machine of a team converges to stand, chat and occasionally toss a ball. (And when you fumble, blame it on an errant twig.)

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Bocce, a dog’s perspective.

 

Here’s why it’s worthwhile:

  1. Mandatory inappropriate jokes. The sport is pretty much begging for the humor of a 9-year-old. I mean, our team name is, “Here, hold my balls.” When the other team edges you out, there’s inevitably a mention of them sneaking just inside (“that’s what she said”). If you’ve been longing to lower the maturity of your punchlines, this is the game for you.
  2. The Chance to Pretend to be Competitive. I sometimes tell people about the year I pretended to be vegetarian in gym class just to get out of playing any sport that involved a leather ball. I more rarely tell the scarring story of the time my gym teacher wouldn’t dismiss the entire class until I made contact with my bat to a softball. Yeah, sports aren’t my thing. My hand-eye coordination is shameful. But bocce is my opportunity to shout things like, “TAKE ‘EM DOWN” and “YOU’VE GOT THIS.” Strangely empowering.
  3. A Reason to Get Outdoors. After working that 9 to 5, bocce is an excuse to get off the couch and enjoy the warm weather. Our spring bocce season runs from mid-April through mid-June: the sun’s starting to go down later, you won’t be sweating through your bra and there are no mosquitoes. Ahhh.
  4. A Way to Mix & Mingle. I’m not single, but I do know people who have met through the magic of forced social sports interaction. If you’re lookin’, be it for friends or a sig O, social sports are a great way to meet other fun young professionals. Just avoid the guy who’s six beers in, habitually accusing the other team of cheating.
  5. Weekly Play Date with your Friends. Saving the best for last, the No. 1 reason to play bocce—or any social sport—is a regular play date with your BFFs. (Who’s bringing the Capri Suns and orange slices?!) After four days of work, Thursday bocce is the perfect way to get a head start on the weekend and catch up on each other’s latest gossip.

Want in? And I swear I’m not being paid… I highly recommend Baltimore Social for all your social sport needs. If you want a taste of what they’re all about, the league is hosting an end-of-season party that’s open to the public on June 23 at the Baltimore Museum of Industry . $10 gets you free beer, a DJ, access to food trucks and even a mini sailing lesson. The party’s limited to 500 guests, so RSVP soon.

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