Newport Beach Team Makes Own Rules for Its Brand of Boccie Ball

You don't want to challenge Kenneth L. Kelley, 57, and Craig Rose, 29, both of Newport Beach, in their brand of team boccie ball. Especially for money. Matter of fact, for anything. For instance, they make all the rules. And play on their own court, which may be the nearest street, beach, golf course or parking lot. Or behind a palm tree. It's like having a fun shoot-out with professional hit men.

Their game is called bocce ball. The only similarity to traditional Italian boccie ball is the type of wooden balls used in both. The main idea in both is to roll the softball-sized balls close to a smaller ball called a jack.

"Our rules are different," Kelley said, "because we make them up. All of them. Whatever makes us happy." The duo also might play some matches on sand, concrete, grass or weeded lots. Next it might be on water. Maybe in a storm drain.

(Boccie ball is played on a manicured grass court.)

Kelley said he once played a match on the street in front of his house. Of course he won.

"I find it's more fun playing on different surfaces," Kelley said. "For instance, when we play on a street you have to worry the ball doesn't run down a sewer. That makes it interesting."

Most games are pickup matches for fun but some are serious--well, almost serious--such as the recent World's Championship Bocce Ball tournament held in San Diego where the Kelley-Rose team took fifth place, a serious setback to their egos. They're used to winning.

Kelley said it got so serious, some players didn't drink beer until the match was over. That's serious.

"It was the host's turf, so they made the rules to satisfy them, and they won," Kelley said. "We at least took fifth place out of the 100 teams entered."

He said his team would have won if the tournament had been held in Newport Beach.

"We once held an invitational bocce tournament at the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station and charged everyone $50 to enter," Kelley said. "It was winner-take-all, and of course we won. We made the rules."

Sometimes he comes up with a dazzler. For instance, Kelley held a match where he placed the target ball on the other side of a palm tree. The other team had to figure out how to get close. Draining Newport Bay would have been easier.

"We try to make it a game of finesse and skill rather than blind luck," he snickered. "Besides, I think our team is the best. We work at it." Sort of like mercenaries, no doubt.

The team is named "A Full Set." You figure it out.

It was nice when brothers Jon and Mike Pinckney both became All-Americans at the same time. It was especially gratifying to the family.

"They enjoy competing against each other," said their mother, Betty Pinckney of Newport Beach "but winning isn't a do-or-die proposition for them."

Jon Pinckney, 20,) a UC Irvine sophomore, and brother Mike, 23, of College of Charleston, S.C., won the All-American selections on the Intercollegiate Yacht Racing Assn.

But older brothers have a way of showing the way. Mike's school won the national championship, while Jon's Irvine sailing team finished sixth.

At least Jon can say he was the only West Coast school representative on the 20-member All-American team.

An audition is scheduled Aug. 9 at Huntington Center Mall in Huntington Beach for amateur male and female fashion models ages 7 through 23. The center said they can be "any size and any shape."

Except for rare instances, said Susan M. Coleman, 44, of Irvine, most young people really can't prepare a meal and what's worse, they don't know proper nutrition.

But the young can't claim all the blame, said Cameron, just named acting dean of Orange Coast College's consumer and health sciences division. "Funds have been cut on the college and high school levels for home economics courses," she said, "and 70% of women are working. They aren't home to teach their children how to cook." Besides that, she noted, there's not much in the way of extended family life, such as having grandmothers in the home who cooked and taught those skills.

"The easy way today is for working parents and children to eat out."

Acknowledgments--Boy Scout Aaron Orullian, 15, of Placentia, honored by the American Red Cross for recruiting 47 blood donors through advertisements and personal solicitation in front of supermarkets as part of his Eagle Scout project.

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