If you are a food lover, you also have to be pretty active and work out regularly. I do. It’s the only way I can allow my love affair with cheese to continue and not start to look like a wheel of aged gouda. I also have been into sports throughout my life, from basketball with my dad, to street hockey in high school, and I like playing games that don’t involve a computer.
But I have a special place in my heart for a sport that can be played with a glass of wine or beer in my hand. And being annexed into an Italian family has introduced me to bocce. After a meal, there’s nothing like carrying a few bolas around the lawn while leisurely sipping a chilled adult beverage, and calling that a sport.
This is not the kind of bocce you see the serious old guys playing in the park on the long courses. This is hippie bocce, a meandering version of the game that allows for trash-talking, breaks to refill glasses, and all manner of random tangents.
It’s pretty simple. You toss the jack (the small white ball) somewhere on the lawn, and then take turns tossing or rolling your own bolas to get as close to it as possible. Knocking other people’s balls out of the way, or even knocking the jack somewhere else, is allowed and even encouraged. The point goes to the person who got the closest to the jack (two points if both of their balls were closer than any others). And the winner tosses the jack next.
You keep playing until it’s too dark to see, a majority of players need a drinks refill at the same time, or you’ve done measurably damage to a nearby house, car or other valuable property.
As you generally play this only in nice weather, I highly recommend a chilled white wine, a Belgian beer, or a snazzy sangria. It’s a good idea to stick to something that’s not going to get people to snozzled after an hour of walking and drinking, because (see above) once you do damage to valuable property and you hide all evidence of your bocce set, it will appear suspicious that you are all sitting in the kitchen desperately looking innocent.
Let’s assume you drink slow and have a nice game, you can tell people you played ball all afternoon and they’ll think you’re in shape and a total jock under that foodie exterior. I think that’s a win!