Bocce ball league carries on tradition

Liz Pyles
Jeff Lee aims takes aim during bocce ball league play at Bel Air Park in Weed.

The Weed Bocce League is in its first year and going strong.

On Tuesday evenings, 12 teams get together for friendly competition on the Bocce courts at Bel Air Park.

League organizer Kim Greene said, “It’s competitive, but we’re just having fun.”

Bocce is an “older Italian tradition in the city of Weed,” said Greene. Her grandfather’s brother, Ray Acquistapace, nicknamed “The Godfather of Bocce” was a big player. Greene’s father, Richard Acquistapace, remembers how “Everyone just played for a drink.

There were no teams.” He said it was a time for friends to get together.

The league, whose players’ ages range from 14 to over 80, has that friendly feel. It seems to be less about winning and more about carrying on the tradition of getting together with family and friends.

“We’re having a lot of fun.  We haven’t won yet, but we look forward to Tuesday nights,” said Mike Ristuccia who plays on the Oregon St. Gang.  

Most of the players have not played before but are interested in learning said Greene. Before starting the league, she researched the rules and decided to use the “Dozen steps to The Joy of Bocce” from, because “they were the easiest for everyone to understand.”

The rules used during the Carnevale tournament are different than the rules the league is using.

Teams are coed with four to six players, but only four compete in a game. Extra players or spectators substitute for teams that are short players. Games are played to 15.

Teams have creative names, such as RALI, which  stands for Retired And Loving It. Another team, the Descendents, are the descendents of Weed’s Godfather of Bocce, Ray Acquistapace.

League games started June 22 and will finish Sept. 7.

An initial informational meeting attracted 12 people. Greene said she wasn’t sure how much interest there would be, but she was “pleasantly surprised” by how many teams they have.  

For more information call Kim Greene at 340-2954 or Greene said, “Just show up to play” at 7 p.m. at Bel Air Park on Tuesday nights.

Lloyd Beam, Ronda Gubetta, Ross Greene and Richard Acquistapace during bocce ball league play at Bel Air Park in Weed.