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Bocce ball tourney back and bigger this year at Louie Bossi's Las Olas

The Italian bowling game bocce ball is enjoying an expanded tournament at the popular Las Olas Boulevard eatery Louie Bossi’s Ristorante, Bar and Pizzeria.

The “Bossi Ball Tournament” began July 3 at the Fort Lauderdale restaurant and is continuing each week on Tuesday nights until Aug. 25. The inaugural tournament last year was just one night.

“We were very happy with the amount of bocce enthusiasts that came to support us last year,” explains Ervin Machado, Bossi’s sommelier and the organizer of the tournament, in an email. “This year we did not only go bigger, but better. We are introducing a tournament like event, all games are tied to a bracket system. Although participants will get prizes each week they win, the goal is to win the monthly grand prize, a $750 gift certificate to Louie Bossi's. We want teams to come each week and always have a different experience.”

The teams can be made up of two people. Each week up to eight teams can compete. The weekly winners get a $25 gift certificate and a bottle of Oak & Cane Rum (the sponsor), 12 packs of Peroni, logo glasses and bottle opener, as well as a bottle of Aperol. Each winning team gets their name engraved on a trophy that will be displayed at the restaurant.

Louie Bossi’s is at 1032 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. For more information, call 954-356-6699 or go to LouieBossi.com.

Here is more about the tournament in a Q&A with Machado.

Why bocce ball? Why does Louis Bossi’s love the game?

Bocce is part of our Italian heritage here at Louie's. Even though Greeks invented some of the mechanics of the game, Romans were the shapers of what we know today as ‘bocce,’ by integrating the pallino [jack ball] and defining the main rules of the game. All we do at Louie's strives for perfection and it has to be authentic. That also applies to our entertainment.

Is there such a thing as a bocce ball season? Is it summer?

There’s really no season for it. We feel bocce is a game for the people. They play in professional courts or on the streets. [It] really is about having a great time. What we do seem to agree with the CBI [Confederazione Boccistica Internazionale] is that summer is perfect for it. It is part of the Summer Olympics and played [throughout] Provence also in that time of year.

Have you heard of any ringers out there, top bocce ball athletes who can roll with the best of them and swipe the trophies from amateurs?

No. It’s simply impossible. However I do agree some players are more skilled than others. There is no way to predict the behavior of the court and the other team. That's the beauty of bocce, the other team’s decisions and style, affect your own.

Any advice for training?

Absolutely! Come to Louie Bossi's and have a go. Our court is open for anyone to play Monday through Wednesday during business hours. It excludes days with parties in the piazza, so please call ahead.

Can participants bring their own balls?

No. It is instrumental that all sizes and weights are identical. However we do have four sets the participants can choose from.

rhagwood@southflorida.com

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