Two-time defending champions Brett Venito, Steven Baker and Chris Doody will try to make it three bocce tournament championships in a row.
“When I moved here from the East Coast three years ago, I bought my own bocce set and played at the beach after work, but not many people here knew what bocce was,” Venito said, describing the game as a very “portable” type of game.
Bocce ball is an ancient game, whose modern adaptation most closely resembles bowling. It re-quires skill, strategy and a little luck. Bocce is highly popular among seniors, but today’s youth have begun catching on to the craze.
Venito has played in the tournament the last three years and will be participating in his fourth on Saturday. He said he is confident that the defending champion Venito-Baker-Doody team can three-peat this year.
Exactly what is the secret behind the success of Venito-Baker-Doody in the last two bocce tournaments?
“It is all about knowing the weight of the ball, being good at judging distance and being able to get the ball to stop by using a good backspin on it,“ Venito added.
Most of Venito’s time playing bocce has been spent playing at the beach in the sand, which is a different animal from playing on the grass at Vacation Isle.
“It is much harder to play on grass than on sand because grass is a faster surface and very uneven,” he said.
In the past tournaments each team has a unique team name including the “Law-De-Dawes.” the 2012 Bocce Tournament winner for best team name.
The game of bocce originated as far as back as the Roman Empire and involves rolling a white ball while each player tries to roll their balls as close as possible to the white ball. The winner is the player or team that gets closest to the white ball. For those unfamiliar with the game, a bocce tutorial will be held at Vacation Isle a half hour before the tournament.
The event takes place from noon to 5 p.m. The cost of registration is $45 per player, and each team consists of four players. Registration for a team is $160. Registration includes “Best of Beach” fish tacos from The Sandbar, located at 718 Ventura Place in Mission Beach and a hosted beer garden sponsored by Miller Lite.
The Sandbar will also host the after-party, featuring drink specials following the tournament.
For more information about the tournament, contact Discover Pacific Beach at (858) 273-3303, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.pacificbeach.org.