Saturday, August 30, 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

Clarksburg family rolls with times

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1, 3 Comments | Gallery

 
Fresh, fruity, summer and fall Delta pitstops

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1

Saving the Gakuen: A bit of history tucked away in Clarksburg

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Old, new collide in Freeport

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1

Vacaville honors top crossing guards

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A2

 
State lifts Solano moth quarantine

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

 
 
 
Gallo subsidiary wins bid for Winterhawk Winery

By Barry Eberling | From Page: B10, 3 Comments | Gallery

No plea as suspect in Suisun slaying appears in court

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A12, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Fairfield police log: Aug. 28, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: Aug. 28, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
The Leaven helps reach at-risk kids

By Murray Bass | From Page: B12

 
Weather for Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B13

.

US / World

Man is guilty of murder after his dogs kill woman

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 3 Comments

 
California teacher reprimanded for sending tweets

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

N. California officer accused of beating woman

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
California appeals teacher tenure ruling

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Feds critical of California twin tunnel project

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 3 Comments

 
California mentally ill inmates get special units

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Lawmakers pass first California groundwater rules

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 6 Comments

 
Lawmakers send gun restraining order bill to Brown

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

California marijuana grow stole reservation water

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

 
1K-pound alligator caught in Alabama sets record

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Manatees may lose endangered species status

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Marathon bombing suspect: Delay trial until 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Border Patrol agent fires at armed militia member

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

 
Rescuers locate 20 of 24 trapped in Nicaragua mine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

At heart of Syria fears, extremists returning home

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

 
Experimental Ebola drug heals all monkeys in study

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

Westerners linked to extremist groups in Syria

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

 
.

Opinion

Editorial Cartoons: Aug. 30, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
 
Zombies are not for fun

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 11 Comments

Cheers, jeers for the week of Aug. 24-30, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: A11

 
.

Living

Today in History: Aug. 30, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Aug. 30, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Aug. 30, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

 
Our irresponsible sister is getting the house and mistreats Mom

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B7

.

Entertainment

Ex-Myanmar beauty queen accused of stealing crown

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

 
Chris Brown due back in DC court for plea hearing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Fire destroys house on late author Clancy’s estate

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Chelsea Clinton quits as NBC News reporter

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9, 1 Comment

Daughter: Joan Rivers is in ‘serious condition

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Hip-hop moves as strong force for Michael Brown

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Cee Lo Green enters no contest plea in drug case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9, 1 Comment

 
.

Sports

 
No. 11 Stanford set to open season vs. UC Davis

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

After eventful offseason, Northwestern meets Cal Bears in opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
49ers linebacker Aldon Smith suspended by NFL

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Prep volleyball: Vacaville Christian falls to D-I power Davis

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

 
JC women’s soccer: Solano kicks off season with 0-0 draw

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

 
Raiders face decisions at QB heading into opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Pernice, Bryant share Champions Tour lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
I.K. Kim increases Portland Classic lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

A’s fall back in AL West, blanked by Angels

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

 
Posey goes 5 for 5 in 6 innings, Giants rout Brewers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

Errani’s ‘cottage cheese’ serve tops Venus at Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

 
Palmer opens with a 63 to lead in Boston

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
This date in sports history for Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Tony Stewart back at the track, looking to heal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B13

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

Florence Virginia Boes

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Darrell D. Stevens

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

.

Comics

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
.

Home Seller 08/30/14

Real estate transactions for Aug. 30, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR2