Life Lessons Can Be Learned From Bocce
On April 14th, I celebrated living here in Frisco for one year. I can hardly believe it’s already been a year and I’ve grown to love my community. I’m so busy with my church and ministry activities, my traveling and my children and grandchildren that I haven’t met that many people here. That’s changing as I joined yet another really enjoyable team sport, Bocce. It’s a sport played between two teams with from 1 to 4 players on each team. A set of bocce balls is composed of 8 large bocce balls (4 of one color and 4 of another color) and one smaller ball called the ”pallino” (Italian word for ‘cue ball’). One point is given for each bocce ball that is closer to the pallino than the opposing team’s bocce balls. While bocce can be played on lawns, we have 12 courts here at Frisco Lakes.
Throwing balls toward a target is the oldest game known to mankind. As early as 5000 B.C. the Egyptians played a form of bocce with polished rocks. From Egypt, the game made its way to Greece around 800 B.C. The Romans learned the game from the Greeks, and then introduced it throughout the empire. From the early Greek physician Hippocrates to the Italian Renaissance man Galileo, the early participants of Bocce noted that the game’s athleticism and spirit of competition rejuvenates the body. Thanks to many Italian immigrants at the turn of the century, Bocce has flourished in the U.S. — now more than 25 million Bocce enthusiasts here. Next to Soccer and Golf, Bocce is the third most participated sport in the world and is considered the oldest known sport in world history. So, you’re welcome – now you know about Bocce.
This photo is of my league team “The Lady Rollers” and we are all about friendship, celebrating each other – win or lose (like yesterday’s game when we cheered for our opposing team when they won the match as it was the birthday of one of their players. The score was tied — 1 game to 1 game and the 3rd game was neck and neck. The birthday girl’s team, the Bocce Angels, won. If we’re going to lose, it’s worth it to help make someone’s birthday extra special.
I’ve learned some valuable lessons from the game:
1) Never give up. We’ve been down and it looked like a shoo-in for the other team to win, and lo and behold we would win because all four of our balls were the closest to the pallino and we won the game. We check each other, if at any point, we start speaking negatively about our playing, because – whiners never win, and winners who think like winners, never lose — well sometime that do, but not because they were whiners.
2) Never say “SORRY”! I love that about the game. We’re all doing our best and if we make an inadvertent mistake, you don’t say “SORRY”. And, if you do, you’ll quickly be corrected. The definition of SORRY is feeling distress, feeling upset, downcast, in a poor or pitiful state or condition and we are none of those. Yesterday, we said, “Why say “sorry” – it’s just a game and in the light of eternity, does it really matter? We hold our heads high and think “I’ll do better next time!”
3) Cheer and congratulate when someone does well – even if it’s an opposing team member. I love it when I make a really good play to save the game and those gals make me feel like a rock star – rather, a bocce star.
4) Those who are the best…..mentor those of us who are still learning. And they do it with such a sense of TLC. I’m already mentoring the new gals because, after all, I’m a veteran now – having played last year and now this year.
5) No name calling or trash talk allowed. I know that’s common in many sports, but I love the genuine sportsmanship and comradery in this game. Even if we call ourselves names or trash talk ourselves because of a dumb error, others are quick to steer us the other direction.
6) Making friends – Bocce is a great social sport and it gives us a chance to make new friends or bond more closely with old ones. It doesn’t take too much motivation for us to want to play, but just in case we were in a little lazy mode, our friends motivate us to “get our game on”. And that we do.
6) And, here is the best part — bocce has great health benefits:
— It helps lower our blood pressure — our bodies get rejuvenated and our heart gets strengthened
— It improves balance — navigating the bocce balls down a court provides helps with our balance.
As I’ve said many times before, I don’t plan on giving up until I’m taken up…..and if that day comes while I’m playing bocce, I just hope and pray my roll was the winning roll that rolls me straight on through the pearly gates! In the meantime, how about a game of BOCCE?!!
Hebrews 12:11-13 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.”