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Vive le bocce

By AUBRIE GEORGE | The Voorhees Sun

In Siena, Italy, there is Il Palio — a centuries-old horse race which pits neighborhoods against each other.

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In Voorhees, New Jersey, there is BocceBrooke.

Rather than use a racecourse, as they do in Siena, the BocceBrooke competition takes place on a bocce ball court.

And rather than participate in a horse race, competitors from different Voorhees neighborhoods face off in a friendly, freestyle game of bocce ball.

Resident Bill Maffucci said the BocceBrooke tradition began about five years ago in his very own back yard in Carriagebrooke Farms.

Maffucci’s wife pointed out that there was plenty of space in their backyard to build a court and hold a bocce ball tournament.

“Immediately I agreed before she could change her mind,” Maffucci said. “My son and I spent several happy weekends constructing a very humble, but functional bocce court in our backyard.”

The inspiration for the competitive aspect of BocceBrooke comes from the famed Il Palio race, where competition occurs between contrades, the Italian word for neighborhood, and the number of competitors in each race is kept relatively small, Maffucci said.

And so a new tradition was born in Voorhees, and every year Carriagebrooke residents began gathering at the Maffuccis for a friendly bocce competition and a celebration amongst neighbors.

Originally, the tournament was only open to residents of the Carriagebrooke neighborhood, with each team representing a street within the neighborhood. However, due to popular demand, the competition now admits teams from any neighborhood that is able to field one.

See this week’s print edition of The Sun for the full story.

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