New bocce ball club sport looking for student leadership

Simon Albaugh, Reporter

What’s recognized as one of the oldest games in the world may become a new part of Oakland University’s club sports program.

Stemming from as far back as 5000 B.C. in ancient Egypt, is a combination of skill and strategy that can challenge any person.

Palazzo di Bocce of Lake Orion, the largest bocce complex in the country, is looking for students on campus to lead the club sport at their Jan. 20 event.

Palazzo di Bocce features 10 bocce courts and will serve as the home court until interest in the sport makes an on-campus court a necessity.

“We have the mentors, we have the facility,” said Annette Battaglia, daughter of the founders of Palazzo di Bocce. “We’re making this happen in our community.”

Bocce is played with two teams, each fitted with one to four players. Each team has four 60-gram balls that they try to roll as close to the target ball, or pallino, as possible.

“The joy of the sport is in the finesse,” Battaglia said.

In the early development of the bocce club sport, the location of the home court may serve as one of the team’s greatest assets.

Palazzo di Bocce is the home of two elite bocce players, Jose Botto, who was second in the world in 2015, and Jason Wisniewski, who was fifth in the world in 2006.

“I like to compete,” Botto said. Botto started playing at the insistence of his father and has recently become a member of the world’s most elite players.

Botto said one of the best aspects of the sport is having the opportunity to travel, both throughout the U.S. and the world, for bocce competitions.

The sport is highly strategic.

“You almost have to be able to read your opponent’s mind,” Botto said. There’s an opportunity in every game to make unpredictable decisions that change the course of play immensely, he said.

The organizers at Palazzo di Bocce are looking for people with a strategic mindset to offer decisive leadership that could ensure the bocce club sport for years to come.

With good leadership, the bocce club sport may be able to cultivate contenders for the 2024 Summer Olympics, according to Devon Meadows, a representative from Palazzo di Bocce.

The goal of the potential club sport is to offer transferable skills and a deep appreciation for the sport in its participants, according to the club’s recruiting presentation.

Those in attendance of the Jan. 20 event would be considered for an officer position in the developing club sport.

For any questions, email [email protected].

Anyone interested in joining is encouraged to participate in the discussion page “Bocce Club Recruitment Day on Facebook.