Beach Bocce

Two years ago when Dad, Jeb, Grant, and I visited Tybee we were stuck inside due to a hurricane and re-invented Bocce (botchee) where we would roll a small ball (which we called a “pith,” though I have no idea why since it isn’t called that; there is a pith ball that is used to measure static electricity in physics) and then see who could roll a larger ball closest to the pith. When it finally stopped raining, we moved this game out to the beach. That was more interesting than indoors since you had more room, terrain, and different textures of sand (hard wet sand, soft dry sand). We would go all up and down the beach throwing the pith and then trying to land balls closest to it (sometimes the pith gets knocked around, which changes everything). This year the sea gulls seemed very interested in the egg-sized white pith ball.


Before we went down this year, Grant and Jeb looked around for bocce sets, but couldn’t find anything. Dad bought some lacrosse balls which turned out to be good for juggling. Jugglers Grant and I practiced juggling where the person juggling would toss a ball out and the other person would toss a ball back in without missing a beat. The objective was for both of us to be able to juggle and toss balls back and forth. We never got nearly that far.

Sunday morning Grant drove in to Savannah and found a nice bocce set at Walmart. That afternoon we started playing. At low tide parts of the beach are soft, parts are hard, and parts are very wet. So this made for good varying conditions as we moved threw the pith from one place to another. Sometimes the ball would roll way down the beach towards the water, sometimes into the water. Because the winner of the previous round gets to throw the pith, the game wanders all over the beach, incorporating dips in the sand, abandoned sand castles, etc. I was pretty good at some of the more random shots and won the first match, but everyone was pretty evenly matched at first, so much so that Jeb said it was all random.

The next day Dad must have started using his golf skills or something because he was unstoppable. While sometimes it is best to roll the ball towards the target, he was good at using backspin to make the ball stay put. We were on the south end of the island near the geocache and the sand was pretty soft, the bocce balls leaving deep impressions when they would land. Grant and Jeb threw the pith near a tidal channel which made for some tough shots. Even with flies biting his ankles, Dad was able to beat everyone, and in the final match he won 7 rounds to 1 for each of the sons.

When I got back I looked up bocce on the internet and it appears to be a far less interesting game in real life than it is on the beach.

One thought on “Beach Bocce

  1. re: “When I got back I looked up bocce on the internet and it appears to be a far less interesting game in real life than it is on the beach.”

    Or maybe this has something to do with Dad who is always making sure there is some adventure or game in the works when we go on vacation. Ironic, huh? Or is that just a coincidence…

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