Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Bocce Courts

The Bocce courts at the corner of White and Atlantic were in the newspaper recently.Apparently the organized players are petitioning the city commission to spend some money on repairing the playing area. I stopped by to check it out but it didn't seem that dilapidated to my feeble eyes. Nevertheless the city seems ready to spend $25,000 to buy materials to redo the courts.The plan would be for the city to provide the materials for the refurbishment and members of the 400 players would lend their skill and muscle to get the job done.It struck me as quite surprising that the city would consider this a high enough priority to spend money on, especially as the place seems quite serviceable still. The article mentioned that supporters thought it was fair enough for the city to spend some money on a project for locals not just tourists.By my calculation if there were 400 players in the organized leagues they would have to spend about $65 each to pool sufficient money for repairs, but in Key West we seem to be living in a little cocoon of our own. I notice the Oakland California Police Department is now refusing to respond to certain crimes including vandalism and identity theft owing to a shortage of officers. Cities in New jersey, another near bankrupt state are losing personnel, but here in Key West employees got a raise this year and the bocce courts will get repaired. This really is a great place to live.
It's not surprising the bocce courts are a popular spot. The view is lovely, across Rest Beach to the ocean. The courts are illuminated so tournaments typically are played at night and when they aren't in use for that anyone with a set of balls can show up to play.These courts are a lot nicer than the village square in Italy where I learned to play bocce. In the US people tend to call the game bocce ball which is like calling baseball- baseball ball. Bocce in Key West is serious stuff, and Cowboy Bill's team are the current champions as attested by the board:My bocce equipment is not tournament grade as far as I know, in fact after some discussion I think they are rather smaller than Italian sized bocce but I am not going to the dark side by calling myself a boule player. The French obviously are a pale shadow of the real thing in the world of bocce.My wife and I have been known to carry our bocce in the trunk of the car and we are not above stopping for a game by the side of the road if traffic gets heavy on trips to the mainland.As pretty as it is bocce is not, in my opinion, the world's most exciting spectator sport.
It is however exciting news that the city is ready willing and able to fund this diversion even in the middle of the worst Depression since the big one 90 years ago.