Let's Play Bocce

March 9, 2010 10:10:58 AM PST
It's "TV Tune Out Week" and children across the country are promising to get up off the couch, put away the video games and get active. Why not use the time to learn a new sport? How about Bocce Ball? It's a family-friendly game that's fun and easy to learn, says Chris Soukup of Pinstripes. The Italian-American bistros in suburban Northbrook and South Barrington house several Bocce courts alongside their bowling alleys. Children, who show their "TV Tune Out" buttons, will get a free game at Pinstripes through Saturday.

While Bocce Ball is often considered the game of choice for retirees, Pinstripes is introducing the traditional Italian sport to a new generation. Pinstripes team members have taught over 7,000 elementary school students how to play bocce ball. They partner with local schools a few times each month to teach bocce during gym glass. Pinstripes has portable courts, which makes it very easy to teach on different surfaces. After each class, the students receive "Masters in Bocce" diplomas.

Pinstripes has also partnered with over 100 local teachers to encourage students to read. Pinstripes Reading Coupons are given out to each student who reads a designated number of pages (ranging by student grade level), which is then redeemable for a complimentary bowling or bocce game. The program has caught on quickly, with the participation of some entire schools.

Basic Bocce Rules:

The object of bocce ball is to get your team's balls closest to the pallino (small target ball). This can be accomplished by throwing/rolling your team's bocce balls to stop near the pallino, knocking opponent's balls away from the pallino with your team's balls, knocking your team's balls that are closer to the pallino, or knocking the pallino closer to balls that are already in play. If a ball hits the back wall, it is a "dead ball" and is out of play.

Generally, bocce is played to 7 points, with one point earned by the team closest to the pallino for each ball that is closer to the pallino than the next closest opponent ball. When playing with four balls, a maximum of 4 points can be earned on one frame, and a minimum of 1 point will be earned. Two competing teams will be comprised of 1, 2, or 4 players each.

Bocce History:

Who knew that throwing balls towards something else could be so much fun? Even back in the day (as in WAY back), people in Egypt drew pictures of people throwing polished rocks. It's from this early objective that the rules of Bocce were born. From Egypt, the game made its way to Greece who then introduced it to the Romans, and it eventually spread throughout the empire.

The Romans were the ones who played a game resembling what we know as Bocce today. At first, they used coconuts brought back from Africa, but then figured it was easier to throw hard olive wood carved out than inconsistently sized coconuts. This new game spread rapidly throughout Europe to people of all classes, from peasants to even nobility.

The game's popularity spread so fast that it took too much time away from archery practice and other military exercises. It got so out of hand that both the Roman emperor Charles IV and King Carlos of Spain outlawed the game in their countries. Yet the game was preserved and still managed to thrive in Great Britain, and spread again throughout the European countries.

Notably the first Italian league was formed by fifteen teams in and around the town of Torino. Thanks to many Italian immigrants at the turn of the century, Bocce has come to flourish in the United States.


Pinstripes invites guests to enjoy a variety of special events throughout March. From March Madness brackets to St. Patrick's Day specials, Pinstripes offers something for everyone. Guests can also enjoy one of Pinstripes numerous bowling lanes (18 lanes at Northbrook location and 20 lanes at South Barrington) or challenge their opponents to a friendly game of bocce on any of the available courts (6 courts at Northbrook location and 10 courts at South Barrington).

TV Tune Out Week
Through Saturday, March 13
Pinstripes encourages kids to get off the couch and get active during TV Tune Out Week. Kids who present their TV Tune Out button will receive a complimentary game of bowling or bocce.

Party Planning Showcase Open House
Thursday, March 11 from 6 PM to 9 PM
Northbrook Location ONLY ? 1150 N. Willow Rd., Northbrook.
Guests are invited for an evening of bowling, bocce, games, dancing, food and more at Pinstripes Party Planning Showcase. Over 40 of Chicagoland's top party vendors will be exhibiting their services at this open house event. DJs, emcees and dancers of the Keith Christopher Entertainment Group will provide the entertainment.
For more information or to RSVP, contact 847.480.2323

Pinstripes March Madness
Tuesday, March 16 ? Monday, April 5
Throughout the duration of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, guests who wear apparel displaying any college team logo will enjoy a free game of bowling of bocce. Draft beers will be available for $3 every game day. Guests are also encouraged to pick their favorite teams and fill out a Pinstripes bracket. The winning bracket will walk away with one year of free bowling or bocce.

St. Patrick's Day Celebration
Wednesday, March 17
In celebration of St. Patrick's Day, Pinstripes will offer a free game of bowling or bocce to guests dressed in green. Diners will enjoy $3 draft beer and Corned Beef Sliders.

Spring Break Special
Monday, March 1 ? Wednesday, March 31
Children who visit sporting with the signature Pinstripes bracelet will receive a complimentary Ice Cream Sundae or Root Beer Float during the month of March. Those who do not already have a bracelet can ask for one at the front desk.

About Pinstripes
Pinstripes features a distinctive entertainment and dining venue at a 45,000 square foot indoor/outdoor facility complete with bowling lanes, bocce courts, Italian-American bistro and wine cellar, outdoor patio and fireplace along with party rooms that can accommodate groups from 20-600.

Pinstripes, Inc.
1150 Willow Rd
Northbrook, IL 60062

100 West Higgins Rd
South Barrington, IL 60010