Bocce Ball in Truckee: Outdoor Fun in the Summer – by Nick Cisik

When wondering what to do in Lake Tahoe, one of the best outdoor activities in Truckee is bocce ball! When first asked to join my friends' bocce ball team to compete in an eight-week-long summer bocce ball league held at the Truckee River Winery, I was hesitant. For one, I dislike bowling sports in general and that is essentially what bocce ball is...bowling. However, after my friend, the would-be captain of our team, persisted in his acquisition of my talents, I agreed to play (begrudgingly). The thing about bowling/bocce/whatever is that I am not very good at it and that is most certainly why I am so abhorrently repelled by it. Why would I want to do something I am not going to excel at instantly and through the expulsion of a minimal amount of effort? I mean, come on. There I was though, at the start of week 3 (I managed to avoid playing in weeks 1 and 2) with a bocce ball in my right hand and a glass of beer in my left (I know it's a winery, but they have beer options and I like beer). In thinking about why I ought to participate, I figured it would be an opportunity to connect, not only with my friends (who the team would be comprised of), but also with my fellow Truckee community members. And what could be so bad about standing around with nice people, sipping on fine wine and/or beer, and rolling, fortunately, what are very light balls over sand in the evenings' cool mountain air? It sounded like a pleasant enough way to spend eight of my summer nights. What I noticed immediately upon stepping onto bocce court #3 at the Truckee River Winery was how competitive the environment was, but this should have come as no surprise. Truckee, after all, not to mention the entire basin that is Tahoe, is populated mostly by people that relish in the heat of competition. They are competitors: skiers, mountain climbers, runners, bikers, boarders–athletes. So, when the high fives started to abound as well as the cheering and jeering–"Nice roll! Let's go!!"–I felt my competitive edge being heated into a razor-like sharpness. This was no mere game to be had among friends nor neighbors. This was bocce ball...and it was bocce ball being played in the mountain town of Truckee. It was win or go home, do or die–and die you would–a long, arduous death at the hands of your merciless opponents. To save you the suspense, I'll have you know that our team lost that week to a formidable opponent. As my girlfriend drove us home (I was in no condition to drive after suffering such a heartbreaking loss) I sat dumbfounded, wondering what I could have done to lift my team up so that we might have been able to exult in the glory of victory. As I went over the match again in my mind, reliving each critical roll, I developed ideas surrounding how I would improve upon my form and focus to insure a more victorious outcome in week number four. Are you a competitor? Do you like wine? Do you like cheese? Do you often find yourself standing up at your kids' little league games, fist launching into the air after a winning play has been made, hoarse the following day from vocally assaulting the umpire? If so, come on out to the Truckee River Winery and join the Truckee locals for a little "friendly" competition on the long sandy courts. We promise we won't bite.    

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