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2000 NYC Bocce Championship
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Winners of the NYC 2000 Bocce Championship.
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Winners of the NYC 2000 Bocce Championship, came representing Juniper Park in Queens.

Second place in the NYC 2000 Bocce Championship.
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Juniper Park also produced the second place team. Congratulations to Angelo Visone, Viato Mirollo, Sal Dorsa and John Pistone

Rambo Ibric demonstrating Bocce Style
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At 40, "Rambo" Ibric is one of the kids in the sport

NYC Parks

Sports and Events
Bocce 2000

A game for many milleniums
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Year 2000 - Big deal! Here's a game that has already gone through several millenniums.
The Olympics are great to watch, but for those of us past our teenage years, its nice to know there are still sports and recreational activities that don't require quite that level of youthful exuberance and speed. Patience, finesse and a soft touch are the skills you need to succeed on the Bocce court. This weekend, spectators at several NYC parks got a chance to witness these traits in action.

Over 200 players competed in the 6th annual NYC Bocce Championship. Borough-wide competitions were held on Saturday September 16th and on Sunday, the top teams assembled in Brooklyn's Marine Park to see who would take the $500 prize. Two teams from Queens' Juniper Park entered the finals. After a see-saw battle, decided in the last round, Juniper Park II composed of Mario Leone, Mate Croatia, Ramanda "Rambo" Ibric and Richie Ingardia came out on top.

The Bocce championship is clearly an event appreciated by the Park's commissioner Henry Stern and his staff as it services a constituency not often reached by other park sports activities. Most players are well into their middle aged years, with a healthy dose of senior's in the mix. Juniper II is actually one of the younger teams with players ranging from 40 to 61 years old.

Bocce is an ancient game, with an interesting history. Based on graphic representations, historians believe that its origin can be traced to Egypt sometime around 5000 B.C. The game made its way to Greece about 800 B.C. and later, became a popular sport throughout the Roman Empire. The Roman influence in bocce is preserved in the game's name; bocce, also spelled boccie or bocci, derives from the Vulgate Latin bottia, meaning boss.

During the middle ages, Bocce was popular throughout Europe. It was banned in several countries where the king saw it as a threat to security (distraction of soldiers away from archery training and war exercises) or by the church which disapproved of the gambling that accompanied it.

Bocce was introduced to America by the British and Bowling Green was one of the first Bocce courts in New York. Bocce remains popular within the city, particularly in Italian other Southeastern European communities. According to the NYC Parks Department, the City currently has 63 courts: 15 in the Bronx, 16 in Brooklyn, 3 in Manhattan, 27 in Queens and 2 in Staten Island.

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