Capri bocce season closes with huge celebratory banquet

Ann Hall

This year marks the 11th year of play that residents of Marco Towers, La Peninsula, Twin Dolphins, Tarpon Village, Driftwood Landing condos and all residential homes on the four isles that make up Capri have come together in an organized bocce league.

Taking first place in Isles of Capri 2016 Winter Bocce League in Division A is the Island Breeze, from left, Capt. Gene Brady and Kay Brady, Ann and Eddie Hall.

The games grow more exciting every year.

Five years ago, the number of teams and players had grown so large that the league had to be divided into two divisions, A and B. At the end of this year’s nine weeks of play, the Island Breeze earned first place in Division A, and the Bob Cats came in first in Division B.

To give the 17 teams a chance to play against one another, the March Madness Single Elimination Tournament was instituted five years ago. At the end of the regular season, all 17 teams were entered into the Tourney.

Team pairings were drawn from a hat, and the games extended over a four-day period. Because there were an odd number of teams this year, the two lowest-scoring teams played one another first to eliminate one.

Earning first place in Isles of Capri 2016 Winter Bocce League in Division B are the Bob Cats, from left, Donna and Bob Crum, Marsha Pankhurst and Capt. Sam Pankhurst.

The Beach Bums won the final single elimination playoff and walked away with crowns, movie tickets and a traveling trophy for their accomplishment. The teams winning for their division received gift certificates from the Island Gypsy Café and Marina Bar on the island.

Better next time

Back by popular demand, the lowest scoring teams in each division were awarded a “better next time” bag of props.

As Darla Goetzelman, league banquet chair, pulled out each item and explained its use, the crowd roared with laughter. She had sticks to “help the team learn how to throw the ball in a straight line,” Kleenex to “wipe away your tears,” Grinch masks “to hide your faces from embarrassment,” and lucky coins to “bring better luck next year.”

In addition, they were invited to be first in line at the banquet table. One humorous player said, “It is worth losing just to win the booby prize!”

Winning the traveling trophy and the title of champion in the Isles of Capri 2016 annual March Madness Bocce Tourney are the Beach Bums, from left, Mike Cox, Paul Rhoads, Capt. Connie Taylor and George Taylor.

At the closing ceremonies, league co-chair Eddie Hall paid tribute to the bocce board of directors, and all who had helped to make the season such a success. Hall recognized his co-chair and score statistician Gene Brady and his consultant, Kay Brady, treasurer Gary Goetzelman, Darla Goetzelman, and each of the 17 team captains, their players and substitute players.

After dining on steamed shrimp, smoked salmon (flown in from Wisconsin especially for the occasion), a variety of meats and cheeses, salads and garnishes, and of course, the traditional succulent special-ordered annual bocce cake, Hall shared some of the funny stories from the players that had been recorded throughout the season.

The room filled with laughter as he read them.

He invited Capt. Sam Pankhurst to tell what happened to his team during a practice game one Saturday.


“No one would believe this, but it is a true story,” said Pankhurst. “When we tossed the pallino, a crow swooped down and started to fly off with it. We scared it away, and when we threw it again from the other end of the court, down he swooped again. We were so afraid the league pallino was going to be lost forever.”

“I hear some of you tried to sync your balls and for whatever reason talk to them like voodoo as if you are giving them commands before each play,” said Hall.

The Beach Bums, who won the March Madness contest for 2016, admitted to this ploy.

Team captains report that barring any unusual circumstances, they will be back next year and ready to take on a new challenge.

Bocce has been a wonderful unifying recreational activity for the community, and is cited as being one of the most fun activities on Capri.

Currently there are about 90 participants in the league, and the league always welcomes new players.

“This season has been so much fun, I hate to see it end,” said Connie Taylor, captain of this year’s team-winning March Madness.

Contact Ann Hall at