8:45 a.m. First Saturday of the Month: Best Place to Aim at the Jack

Waterfront Park Bocce Courts

If your bones ache too much for Feng’s version of tai chi, head out to Martinez instead. Practically every morning, a group of a dozen or so retired fellas gather here at Waterfront Park to play bocce. The park has an astounding fourteen courts, and a spokesman for the Martinez Bocce Federation says the regulars are friendly and always willing to show a newcomer how to play. (Show up by 9 a.m. the first Saturday of each month for a free lesson.) Martinez, in fact, is the unofficial American bocce capital, home to the United States Bocce Federation and the largest bocce club in the States. The game was imported by Italian fishermen who settled in this California fishing town in the early 20th century. Similar to lawn bowling, the goal is to get your bocce, a four-and-a-half-inch ball weighing about three pounds, closest to the “Jack” or “Pallino,” a smaller ball that’s rolled first. It can be played by anyone, though the mellow game tends to attract a more seasoned crowd that doesn’t have to worry about being carded when buying the beer.

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