EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - Becoming part of a growing trend in community sports and social entertainment, East Brunswick (with the help of the East Brunswick Public Library and Boy Scout Troop 223) is helping to "bring bocce back" and has organized a bocce event on Saturday, Aug. 29 at the newly refurbished bocce court next to the EB Senior Center.
The EBPL provided a training at the library, introducing some new pals to the pallino, on July 25, which was attended by about 20 interested community members.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, "At its core, bocce is a simple game: Roll a small ball - a pallino - down an alley of clay, turf, or grass, then try to roll a set of larger balls closer to it than your opponent can. The game dates back 7,000-plus years to ancient Egypt, from which it spread to Greece, then Rome, and then America, where Italian immigrants kept it going for much of the 20th century." Bocce has been long associated with both Italian immigrants and middle-aged men, but now the demographics of those interested in this sport are changing.
Popular bars like the Union Hall in Manhattan offer bocce indoors, along with the socialization the game brings. The Panevino Restaurant in Livingston also serves "bocce on the side" in its two outdoor courts. East Brunswick joins Bradley Beach and several other towns that offer bocce to the community, reviving interest both in Italian culture and driving new interest in the graceful sport.
The East Brunswick bocce court has been recently resurfaced as a n Eagle Scout project by Tom Berzok of BSA Troop 223. The project involved removing the old surface, digging up roots, refurbishing and repainting the grounds, and applying a new clay/gravel dust mix surface. Along with other projects that include building shaded areas at the EB dog park, constructing trails to EB's vernal pools, providing opportunities to recycle fishing line, and beautifying the surroundings of Playhouse 22, the Boy Scouts have joined other community groups in serving East Brunswick and making our town more vibrant and contemporary.