Tuesday, October 21, 2014
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

.

Solano News

Crime key topic again at Fairfield candidates night

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1, 33 Comments | Gallery

 
 
Dixon corn maze breaks own world record

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A2, 1 Comment | Gallery

PAL center seeks volunteers

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
.

US / World

Police say they might have spotted ambush suspect

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Fashion designer Oscar de la Renta dies at 82

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Yosemite proposes raising entrance, camping fees

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 3 Comments

 
CDC releases revised Ebola gear guidelines

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Clinton: Midterm elections should motivate women

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 6 Comments | Gallery

 
Surfer fends off shark attack with fist, board

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

WWII airman to be buried in Oakland

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 1 Comment

 
Brown: California needs long-term vision on water

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 4 Comments

Colorado proposes edible pot ban, then retreats

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 2 Comments

 
Submarine hunt sends Cold War chill across Baltic

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Oscar Pistorius to finally learn his sentence

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Youths, tech workers duel over San Francisco field

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Suspect in Va. abduction charged in DC area rape

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Warming Earth heading for hottest year on record

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 4 Comments

Lacking a plan, Abbas opts for rhetoric

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Police: Indiana suspect hints at more killings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Turkey says it helps Kurdish fighters enter Syria

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Nigeria declared Ebola-free; ‘spectacular success’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Urgent-care clinics ill-equipped to treat Ebola

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
British royal couples’ 2nd child due in April

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
.

Opinion

Spering kept youth league going

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 10 Comments

 
Day, Blankenchip good for respective cities

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 2 Comments

‘Misleading’ mailer sent to residents

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Oct. 21, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page:

 
.

Entertainment

Yearwood, Santana to perform at World Series

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Standing ovation at Met Opera despite protest

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

Still the Same: Bob Seger launching tour, album

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

 
San Francisco radio stations ban hit song ‘Royals’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Pitbull to host American Music Awards on Nov. 23

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ actor arrested in Idaho

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

NBC’s Snyderman faces credibility issues

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

 
Not so fast cordcutters – cable’s not going anywhere

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5 | Gallery

TVGrid Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
.

Sports

Local Report: Armijo boys soccer team falls to Vintage

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

 
Steelers rally past stunned Texans 30-23

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Bumgarner against Shields in World Series opener

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

 
Raiders plagued by 3rd-down defensive woes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Champion drag racer Raymond Beadle dies at 70

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Stiviano lawsuit against Shelly Sterling dismissed

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

With TD mark in bag, Manning can set more records

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
49ers lose center Daniel Kilgore, needs surgery

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Giants-Royals: A capsule look at World Series

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Belichick, Brady praise Manning on TD record

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Penn State board to meet on disputed Freeh Report

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
McIlroy to skip 2 events to focus on lawsuit

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Column: Keselowski marches to his own beat

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Wanted: Cities interested in hosting 2024 Olympics

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Giants rely on core of 4 relievers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Royals, fans bond over improbable postseason run

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Voynov suspended on domestic violence suspicion

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
.

Business

Facebook sues law firms, claims fraud

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Apple reports record 39.3 million iPhone sales

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5, 1 Comment

US regulator: Fannie, Freddie in deal with banks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Sears plans to raise more cash via rights offering

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Survey: Pay raises rarer despite strong US hiring

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5 | Gallery

 
US agency warns car owners to get air bags fixed

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Pickles Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Bridge Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Sudoku Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Baby Blues Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sally Forth Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Wizard of Id Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Dilbert Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
B.C. Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Crossword Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Frank and Ernest Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Blondie Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Word Sleuth Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Garfield Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Get Fuzzy Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Baldo Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Rose is Rose Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

For Better or Worse Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Zits Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Peanuts Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Cryptoquote Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Beetle Bailey Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6