Friday, March 6, 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 [email protected]

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

 
Random thoughts on getting older by Annabelle . . . and Susan

By Susan Winlow | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Work progresses on freeway interchange project

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Solano College grad becomes Marvel superhero

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

Caltrans announces planned I-80 closures

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A1

 
French guitarist brings world music to The Palms

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

Bay Area Stage readies ‘Mockingbird’ production

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Let’s take a 2nd look at 1st cars

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

 
Bike to School Day poster contest begins

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3

 
Free 8-week Journey Through Grief class set

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4

 
Audubon Society to hold talk on blackbird decline

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A4

Youth talent, scholarship awards dinner set

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4

 
Fairfield police log: March 4, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: March 4, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

Covered California down overall but up among youth, minorities

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
SF hospital performs rare chain kidney swap

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

El niño might not be enough to help Ca drought

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
App developers take a swing at playgrounds

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Freight train carrying crude oil derails in Illinois

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Supreme Court allows for compassionate release

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Off-duty officer accidentally shoots relative

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Student protests block access to campus

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

GOP legislator enters race for Boxer’s seat

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Japanese tsunami debris washing ashore

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Device in ‘Superbug’ outbreak not approved by FDA

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
States on edge about the future of health insurance markets

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Air Force veteran who saved orphans in Korean War dies at 97

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Hillary Clinton email trove under review for release

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Homeowners group denies playhouse for cancer-stricken girl

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Report: Suicides by girls and young women continue to climb

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Jurors in Jodi Arias case: We were 11-1 for death penalty

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Experts: Ferguson must move quickly to rebuild public trust

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Plane skids off LaGuardia runway, slams into fence near bay

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
Father tells jury about boy’s death at Boston Marathon

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Floods kill 42 people in Tanzania, authorities say

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Death toll in east Ukraine mine blast reaches 33

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Syria says it killed military leader of al-Qaida group

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Iraq says Islamic State militants ‘bulldozed’ ancient site

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Attack on US envoy part of S.Korea’s violent protest history

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Last Ebola patient is released in Liberia

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Companies form coalition to conserve during drought

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
.

Living

Today in History: March 6, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: March 6, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: March 6, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
Should I tell my coworker that her romantic emails are being read at work?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

Week in preview March 6-12, 2015

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Jaime Camil shines as telenovela star on ‘Jane the Virgin’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Shania Twain to launch final tour in June

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Elizabeth McCracken wins $20,000 short story prize

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Dying wish comes true: Dutch woman with ALS sees Rembrandts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Announcer Craig Sager returns from leukemia to NBA sideline

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Comedy Central’s ‘Too Many Stars’ means plenty of laughs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Review: ‘Unfinished Business’ should never have started

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Review: ‘Second Best’ Marigold Hotel lives up to its title

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Entertainment calendar: March 6, 2015

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B4

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic | From Page: B6

.

Sports

 
Maddon makes debut with Cubs in spring tie with A’s

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Hunter Pence breaks arm in Giants’ 8-6 win over Cubs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
 
Jones-Drew retires, Woodley released by Raiders

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Veteran defensive tackle Dockett joins 49ers on 2-year deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Ashley, McConnell lead No. 5 Arizona to 99-60 rout of Cal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Holmes opens 4-shot PGA lead at Blue Monster

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Local Report: Labit pitches SCC to win over Folsom Lake

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B8

Prosecutors: No criminal charge for NASCAR driver Kurt Busch

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
As NFLPA election looms, Smith hopes to keep ‘boring job’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

This date in sports history for March 6, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
.

Business

Toyota rolls out first mass-market cars to run on hydrogen fuel cells

By The Washington Post | From Page: C1 | Gallery

 
Can Etsy keep its folksy brand and make shareholders money?

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Applications for US jobless aid inch up to a 10-month high

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
A robust US job market is expected to keep delivering

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Largest US banks all pass latest round of Fed ‘stress tests’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Ringling Bros. Circus to give up elephant acts in 3 years

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11 | Gallery

Google providing car insurance quotes in latest expansion

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
.

Obituaries

Thelma A. Roche

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Michele Jarvis

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Robert Charles Thierry

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9