Have a ball 

Confusing rules and complex strategies are never ideal while consuming alcohol, which is why bocce is popular among players wanting a relaxed activity to enjoy the sun without being inconvenienced by a heat stroke.

The Old World ancestor of horseshoes has inspired tournaments worldwide, an international governing body, and even won over some local fans at Deep Fork Grill, whose owners host their annual tournament Sunday.

With roots in ancient Rome, bocce is usually played on grass or gravel, according to restaurant partner Wade Starr, but Deep Fork has its own twist.

“We are going to be playing on sand, which is kind of an Okie way to do it,” Starr said. “Before the tournament, we will fill the parking lot with sand and build 12 custom bocce courts, and then let people start showing up to start practicing.”

The event is limited to 52 teams of three players each, and will be played in a double-elimination tournament style with losers’ and winners’ brackets. The first team to 11 with at least a twopoint advantage wins a cash prize.

As far as the skill set needed to separate the top-tier teams from the lawn scrubs, Starr said good handeye coordination is key, and practice
doesn’t hurt. Although Deep Fork has no regular court for honing skills,
The Wedge Pizzeria at 4709 N. Western has a grass court.

Complementing Sunday’s competition will be a dunk tank, outdoor grilling, a taco truck and a spiked-lemonade stand. Because bocce tournaments aren’t that common in this part of the country, Starr said some teams will be traveling into the state.

“We have a team from Canada that has been playing forever,” he said. “But Oklahoma City has a pretty awesome bocce league that has developed over the years. This particular tournament has spawned two leagues, and there are teams here that are just incredible.”

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Charles Martin

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