Wednesday, January 28, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Bocce keeps its players young

Camillo "Smilie" Ferrari, 91, gets ready to make a throw during competitive league play Tuesday at the John Magnetti Bocce Ball courts. (Robinson Kuntz/Daily Republic)

Camillo "Smilie" Ferrari, 91, gets ready to make a throw during competitive league play Tuesday at the John Magnetti Bocce Ball courts. (Robinson Kuntz/Daily Republic)

By
August 6, 2011 |

FAIRFIELD — Along with several of his bocce-playing friends, Camillo “Smilie” Ferrari is a practical joker.

“Most of the guys on my team wear hearing aids,” he said, with a glint reminiscent of Dennis the Menace.

Once, the 91-year-old bocce player told all his teammates to turn off their hearing aids as a joke to their team captain, Toni Todd. At the memory, Todd flatlines her lips in a mock look of anger, but the smile is there.

And she gives as good as she gets — Ferrari doesn’t wear suspenders anymore because of Todd.

Most of Todd’s team with the Fairfield Bocce Federation have been together for a long time and most members are at least in their 80s, said member Virgie Trammell. Ferrari refers jokingly to the team as the “old age” team.

“They’re a good team and sometimes they beat the pants off of us,” Trammell said.

And they did just that recently during Tuesday morning league play at the bocce court.

“They won all three games,” Trammell said. “When they’re on, they’re on. It was an off day for us. Most of the time we take turns winning. That last game was like 12-1. It was awful.”

But it’s all in good fun — Ferrari, Trammell and Todd are three of the 107 members who belong to the Fairfield Bocce Federation. At the bocce courts across from the senior center on Civic Center Drive, they compete in league play Tuesday and Thursday mornings, with a more informal introduction and play Thursday evening. That’s the night new players can learn the game.

On this recent Tuesday morning, the games and the jokes were on once again, as eight teams, about 40 or so team members, tried their best to out-do the other team.

As the opening ball — the little pallino — was tossed and the games began, so did the laughter — and the ever-present arm gesturing and conversations with the balls as they rolled down the court, hopefully, toward the target, the pallino. The idea is to roll the bocce balls — bigger than the pallino with the standard size 4.2 inches in diameter and 2 pounds — the closest to the pallino.

“Don’t go out,” Trammell said, yelling at her ball as it headed quickly to the backboard. Ferrari and Todd peered over the edge, watching with smiles as the ball thunked against the edge.

“Virgie talks to the ball and sometimes it listens,” Todd said, laughing.

If the ball hits the backboard, it’s out. And the good-natured ribbing starts once again.

“I’ve got a hearing aid and I heard that,” Ferrari said, joking, as Trammell’s ball hit the end of the approximately 90-foot court another time.

Bocce originated in Italy and it still attracts many players of Italian descent in Fairfield. The roster of past and present players is filled with Italian surnames such as Ferrari, Ragusa, Colombano, Magnetti and Scocci. Todd is Italian and so is Gina Parchamowicz.

“I’m Italian and married a Polish (man),” Parchamowicz said in accented English. “I grew up in Italy and near my house they played.

“They didn’t allow the girls to play bocce so we’d go up to the balcony and watch them.”

Parchamowicz joked that she had to come to the U.S. in order to play. Ferrari’s dad used to play but the younger Ferrari had little interest until his later years. Bill Colombano said he was encouraged to play by a neighbor.

“I didn’t play bocce until my neighbor, who is Chinese, introduced me to the game,” Colombano said, laughing. “He comes to me and said, ‘You’re Italian, how would you like to play bocce?’ ”

He said that this was the same neighbor who got him to join the Sons of Italy group.

“Sometimes you run out of Italians and you have to beat the bush,” he said, laughing once again, as to how his Chinese neighbor became a member of Sons of Italy.

The majority of the players are in their 60s and 70s with many in their 80s, Trammell said. Ferrari is the oldest on the team and Nick Martens, a newbie to the group, is just 16.

Martens, a Vacaville Christian Schools student, said he got started after his mother, who works at the senior center, asked him if he wanted to play. He figured it was something new that he hadn’t tried before. In fact, he didn’t even know what it was.

“Not a clue,” he said.

He began on Thursday evenings and said he was initially intimidated by the age difference between him and most of the other players. He’s played about seven times so far and sticks to Thursday evenings, which he said is less pressure but it’s a game he plans to continue with. He said the game is easy to learn but “getting the throws where you want them” is the most difficult part.

The low-impact sport, which incorporates strategy in its play, allows seniors and the disabled to stay active.

“It’s relaxing and it’s fun,” said Mike Kimmel.

But he added, laughing, “The best thing about bocce is it keeps the old people off the streets.”

Reach Susan Winlow at 427-6955 or swinlow@dailyrepublic.net.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Recent Articles

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .

    Solano News

     
    Youngster battles brain cancer a 2nd time

    By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    2 Solano road projects get green light

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A1

     
     
    Rush Ranch seeks docents

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A2

    Health officials report 1st Solano flu death

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3, 5 Comments | Gallery

     
    Kroc Health Fair offers free screenings

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

     
    Vanden to host science fair

    By Bill Hicks | From Page: A4

    Woman with Solano ties caught up in tax fraud case

    By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A4

     
    Fairfield police to offer parenting class

    By Ian Thompson | From Page: A4

    Frazier schedules coffee in Suisun City

    By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4

     
    Vacaville police to offer law enforcement academy

    By Ian Thompson | From Page: A4

     
    Motorcyclist leads CHP on afternoon chase

    By Ian Thompson | From Page: A5

     
    Coalition members review tobacco control report card

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

     
     
    American Legion Post schedules head-shaving fundraiser

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A6

    Vacaville Toastmasters welcome guests

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A6

     
    Chipotle fundraiser to benefit Armijo newspaper

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A6, 2 Comments

     
    Dramas, thrillers lead week’s box office openings

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B8

     
    Suisun City police log: Jan. 24, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

    Fairfield police log: Jan. 26, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

     
    Fairfield police log: Jan. 25, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

    Fairfield police log: Jan. 24, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

     
    Suisun City police log: Jan. 26, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

    Suisun City police log: Jan. 25, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

     
    .

    US / World

    Gold nuggets stolen in smash and grab

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

     
    Officials lose track of billions in funding

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

    Bill would treat e-cigs the same as regular cigarettes

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

     
    CSU chancellor looks to increase graduation rates

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

    Police: Parents who killed selves, kids feared apocalypse

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

     
    NTSB: Systemic flaws in safety oversight of gas pipelines

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

    Catholic church in San Francisco to phase out altar girls

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

     
    Military has wide discretion on Bergdahl charges

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

    Gunmen storm Libya hotel, killing American, 9 others

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

     
    Famed civil rights protesters to have arrest records erased

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

    Secret talks in Jordan try to win release of hostages

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

     
    ‘Wicked storm': Blizzard drops 2 feet of snow on New England

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

    On Auschwitz anniversary, leader warns Jews again targets

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

     
    .

    Opinion

     
    Economic recovery, brought to you by technocrats

    By Jared Bernstein | From Page: A11

     
    .

    Living

    Community Calendar: Jan. 28, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

     
    Today in History: Jan. 28, 2015

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Horoscope Jan. 28, 2015

    By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B6

     
    We live close to my nephew but he chooses to remain distant

    By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B6

     
    10 Things: 10 fresh takes on Super Bowl guacamole

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

     
    .

    Entertainment

    Christina Aguilera to perform ahead of NBA All-Star Game

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    Common, John Legend to perform ‘Glory’ at Academy Awards

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    Katie Holmes to guest on ‘Ray Donovan’

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    .

    Sports

    Falcon boys drop 69-61 SCAC loss to Bethel

    By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Local Report: Armijo boys roll past Napa 69-41

    By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

    Nadal loses; Sharapova to play all-Russian semi in Australia

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    Belichick and The Beast talk but don’t say much at Media Day

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

    Deflated topic: air pressure in footballs

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1, 1 Comment

     
    Rose’s shot lifts Bulls over Warriors 113-111 in overtime

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Lynch at Media Day: ‘I’m here so I don’t get fined’

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    Christina Aguilera to perform ahead of NBA All-Star Game

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Super Bowl, Tiger make Phoenix center of sports universe

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Long after Twitter feud, Revis, Sherman pledge respect

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    The distinctive international flavor of Super Bowl Media Day

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Serena Williams advances, Venus out of Australian Open

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Getting fired from New England led to Carroll’s reinvention

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Sharks in ‘dogfight’ to secure playoff berth

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Jury convicts 2 ex-Vanderbilt players of raping woman

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Rio official says there’s ‘no plan B’ for Olympic sailing

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Golfer Allenby stands by story, says truth will come out

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Tony Stewart returns with a swagger not seen in 2 years

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Shooters find not every basketball is same in college game

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Patrick heads into 2015 in final season with team, sponsor

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Manfred hopeful of A’s getting new ballpark in Oakland

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    This date in sports history for Jan. 28, 2015

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

     
    .

    Business

    US home price gains slow in November on weaker sales

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

     
    FTC clears Albertsons’ purchase of Safeway

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

    .

    Obituaries

    Clarence E. Morgan

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    Don Johnson

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 9 Comments

    Dzhon Athanc

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    Julia P. Tan

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

    Woodrow Allen Oakley

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

     
    Donald Wesley Johnson

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

    Joseph Phillip Raiff

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Blondie

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    Dilbert

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

    Rose is Rose

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    Get Fuzzy

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

    Wizard of Id

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    Peanuts

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

    Zits

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    Garfield

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

    Sally Forth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    For Better or Worse

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

    Pickles

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    Beetle Bailey

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

    Baby Blues

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    Frank and Ernest

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

    B.C.

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    Baldo

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

    Sudoku

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

     
    Cryptoquote

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

    Bridge

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

     
    Word Sleuth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6