SRA Bocce Concludes its 30th Season; Group Begins to Use Analytics During Play
Swarthmore Recreation Association Bocce held its 30th season in June at our home bocce court on Wellesley Road. The season culminated with the traditional tournament and BBQ on June 25. Thirty players participated during the season, including two first time players. The bocce was, as usual, quite spirited and congenial though, as will be described later in this article, some disputes developed this year among the players regarding the use of analytics during play.
Tournament play was particularly energetic. Finalists in the tournament were veteran Howard Garfinkel and rookie Betty Dowling facing off against Sondra Mervine and Catherine King. Sondra and Catherine prevailed 11-7 and claimed the coveted Winners’ Cup. Betty Dowling and Kathy Messerman were honored as co-Rookies of the Year. The Berger Award for good sportsmanship, named in honor of the longtime players Bobby and Dianne Berger, was presented to veterans Beth and Pat McErlean.
During the bocce season, many players took a page from major league baseball and started using analytics during play. Using a bocce analytics app on their cell phones, this group started to plot various measurements and details before tossing their balls. Details plotted included DTP (distance to pallino, the target ball), AONB (angle of opponent’s nearest ball), WS (wind speed) and DCRF (daily court resistance factor).
According to Mike Letts, tournament director and longtime spokesperson for SRA Bocce, “Not everyone in our group is in favor of this development. It slows down play as these analytic players fumble around with their cell phones before tossing their balls. I will admit, though, some success has been achieved using their system. Personally, though, I and many of our players prefer what you might call the Charlie Manuel methodology — relying on their ‘cuore’ (heart) and ‘stomaco’ (gut), like the old time bocce players, before tossing their balls.”
Future seasons will determine whether analytics will take over SRA’s bocce world.
Finally, it should be noted that in addition to the players already mentioned, this year’s bocce group included, Judy Politzer, Jim and Bere Saxon, Maresa and Sean Mahoney, Beth Jones, Mary Lou Parker, Sundai and Rob Valcich , Betsy and Randy Larsen, Gary King, Brian and Mary Deppen, Delma Broussard and Ray Johnson, Heather Gray, Grady Harrington, Pat Donato, Lee Seaman, Lyn Podolski, Mary Lou Parker, Susan Lathrop, Sally Paynter and Susan Wendt.