Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Page 2 [Print without images]

Thursday, August 14, 2008
Updated: August 15, 5:32 PM ET
Game on! Bocce should be an Olympic sport

By Mary Buckheit
Page 2

Editor's note: Throughout the Olympics, Page 2 writers will argue the merits of including various sports in the Games.

Bocce is the perfect sport for a fiery Olympic competition mainly because of its plucky scoring system that allows teams to earn points as well as knock points out of the opponent's grasp. The drama!

Here are a few other reasons bocce should be an Olympic sport …

Everybody Loves an Italian Girl
I realize that not everybody grew up slinging the pallino around the backyard while sneaking Frangelico from Uncle Tony, but the sport is so simple it's never too late to uncover your inner Son of Italy. Prego!

Keep It Simple (and Exciting), Stupid
When you have a whole bunch of people representing a whole bunch of countries, it helps when a sport is inexpensive and easy to play. It also helps when that inexpensive and easy sport is not played in 45-minute, painfully scoreless halves.

Sinatra, George and Pharaoh Can't be Wrong
In an age when BMX biking is running amok, let's get back to basics. Egyptians played a form of bocce using polished rocks in 5000 B.C. From there, it is believed that the Greeks brought bocce to Italy -- Instant Classico! The sport's adoptive parent spread the love liberally and before long, even George Washington was building a bocce court at his Mount Vernon estate. These days, Venezuela hearts bocce, but there it's called bolas criollas.

Safety First!
Bocce is a precision sport of strategy and exactitude where players must take aim at a target (the jack, aka beebee) and also shoot the opponent's balls away from the target. So it's really just like those shooting sports already in the Olympics, only without the trigger. And face it, in times of vast international unrest and security concerns, nobody should be packin'. Trade in your rifles for a set of ceramic balls.

Bocce Ball -- Ain't Nothin' Soft About It
Softball won't be back in 2012 because it was voted out by the International Olympic Committee three years ago. There's a grassroots rally to get it back on the roster but, until then, this is the sport's last year. So why not fill the void with softball-sized ceramic balls thrown underhand on a dirt court. It's a no-brainer.