Friday, November 2, 2007

EKA Chapter Championship

The 2007 Regular Season has come to an end, with the top eight players qualifying for the Chapter Championship, currently scheduled for Sunday, November 11th. Here are the contenders for this year's title:

1. Jeff Gates - 18 Tournament Pts.
2. Stephen Priest - 15 Tournament Pts.
3. Frank Schultz - 12 Tournament Pts.
4. Angus Guberman - 8 Tournament Pts.
5. Dave Altherr - 7.5 Tournament Pts.
6. Lee Wilkins - 5.5 Tournament Pts.
7. Tom Pittard - 3.0 Tournament Pts. (37.2 Scoring Avg.)
8. Todd Leopold - 3.0 Tournament Pts. (31.5 Scoring Avg.)

The Championship is a single-elimination event, so the first round matches would be Guberman v. Altherr, Schultz v. Wilkins, Priest v. Pittard, and Gates v. Leopold.

In the event that any of the top eight seeds withdraw, alternates will be invited to fill out the bracket, with the seeding adjusted accordingly. The alternate list is as follows:

A1. Conner Allred
A2. Gus Glaw
A3. Rex Batson
A4. Chris Rijo
A5. Missy Pollack
A6. Shelly Curson
A7. Guillermo Palermo
A8. Tass Harper
A9. Tom Durrett
A10. Brady

Alternates may not "reserve" a bracket slot if early withdrawals are announced, but must be present and ready to toss at case time.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Come Out For Field Day

The 3rd Annual Creative Loafing Field Day on Saturday, October 6th at Piedmont Park will feature two Exhibition Courts of Boccelism, open for first-come first-toss sign up. Expect lots of blasting fun.

BooHoo Ramblers CD Release Extravaganza

Come out for the fun Friday and Saturday night, September 28th and 29th, at The Last Great Watering Hole in Tucker. Live audio and video recording will be going on both nights for use in future CD and video releases. Saturday is designated the "Official" Release Night, with Friday as the "Warm Up", but Big Fun will be had both nights, so come when you can. Friday's show is slated to start at 9 PM, Saturday's at 10 PM.

The Watering Hole is on the right off of Lawrenceville Hwy. just as it hits Hugh Howell Rd. For more info and detailed directions head to

Friday, July 20, 2007

Upcoming BooHoo shows

The BooHoo Ramblers are all over the place the next few weeks, including:

Saturday, July 21st - James Joyce Pub, Avondale 8-10pm
Friday, July 27th - Front Page News, L5P 10:30pm-2am
Monday, July 30th - Blind Willie's, VA-Highlands, 10pm-1am

Also, maybe some shows in early August at the Last Great Watering Hole in Tucker.

Bastille Day Fireworks

Occasional rain-sprinkles did not prevent many a loud bang from being heard at the Montgomery Street Tossing Grounds this past Saturday. Brady and Señor Palermo made their season debuts and provided some moments of excitement, but the skills and experience of their opponents was too much to overcome with novice enthusiasm alone.

Mr. Jeff Gates won all three of his contests, impoving his season mark to 7-1, comfortably in first place in the EKA Chapter Standings. The other highlight of the day was a record-setting scoring performance from Mr. Stephen Priest; initial reports had the new mark at 48 points, but a review of the score sheet revealed that Mr. Priest had become the first player to reach 50 points in organized chapter play.

Summary of Results

Gates 34 Brady 21
Schultz 22 Palermo 21
Priest 50 Brady 21
Gates 33 Schultz 28
Guberman 20 Curson 13
Schultz 29 Wilkins 27
Gates 33 Schultz 23
Guberman 33 Palermo 15

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Frank Schultz Special Early Report

A boisterous crowd descended on the Ancient & Overgrown Tossing Grounds Saturday June 30th, featuring seven first-time tossers and a total of seven cases played. Among the several newcomers, Mr. Conner Allred made a smashing debut, and Mr. Gus Glaw showed some promise, not to denigrate entertaining performances from all the rookies.

A detailed report of case play will be posted at a later date, but readers are encouraged to check out the Edgewood-Kirkwood, Atlanta Chapter's current standings for some indication of the results. As we always strive to provide complete information, any details about the proper names of Saturday's female comptetitors would be most welcome.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Tanner Turns 40

And we lived to tell about it, despite a visit to the legendary Lamar's. The drink on the left side of the table supposedly contains grapefruit juice; one 6-oz. can probably lasts them a week.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

BooHoo Ramblers at James Joyce Saturday June 23rd

Clark and the fellas tee it up at 7:30 pm Saturday, playing until 9:30 pm. Clark encourages everyone to check out the New & Improved BooHoo Ramblers Website, conveniently accessible over in the Links section.

No River City at The EARL Thursday June 21st

Come out and see Drew de Man and company in action Thursday night. Word from Drew is they'll go on around 11pm. Big Fun to be had!

Open Invitational Results

Players converged on the Ancient & Overgrown Tossing Grounds Saturday June 16th, producing three highly entertaining cases. Rookie Jeff Gates demonstrated that his Opening Day win was no fluke, initiating the day's play with a solid 35-26 victory over Mr. Todd Leopold.

Mr. Gates broke open an even match with a 7-nil fourth dalrymple, then frustrated any comeback hopes for Mr. Leopold with back-to-back botflies to open the seventh. The 8-2 dalrymple effectively sealed the case, pending only the intervention of a benevolent Ganesha; none was forthcoming.

The second case of the day saw Mr. Stephen Priest make his first appearance on the pitch this season, and he overcame some early rustiness to rout Mr. Rex Batson 41-22. Mr. Batson aided Mr. Priest in the first end by getting but one hit in the sixteen quarries; the one thudding crunch failed to win the quarry point in a dubious decision by the judge, who perhaps awarded the quarry to Mr. Priest out of habit. The only remaining suspense was over who would win the second end point, as Mr. Batson rallied but fell just short in a 23-21 second end.

In the third case, Edgewood-Kirkwood Chapter President Mr. Lee Wilkins battled to an 18-16 lead over Mr. Gates after the first end, but then went cold after switching sides of the field. Mr. Gates again used a strong seventh dalrymple to take charge of the case, with the 7-2 result giving him an eight-point margin heading to the eighth. A final-quarry boc by Mr. Wilkins would have tied or won the case, but he pulled his toss to the right. The ball fell harmlessly to the ground and trickled into the shrubbery, concluding competitive play for the day as Mr. Gates notched the 31-24 triumph.

The final tosses of the day, however, belonged to the young Durretts, who played a one-end exhibition of Under-12 Rules Half-Court Boccelism, with none other than the parental unit Mr. Tom Durrett presiding as judge. The girls delighted the spectators with a spirited contest as Allison out-dueled Rebecca 7-4.

Fantasy Boccelism players and stat junkies can download EKA's to get all the details on your favorite players.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

BooHoo Ramblers Monday June 4th at Blind Willie's

Maybe. . . I'll retract and correct if this turns out to be wrong. Otherwise, music starts at 9:30 on North Highland Ave.

Monday, May 28, 2007 Is Up And Running, the official site for all things boccelism, is now online!

Monday, May 21, 2007 is coming soon!

Work is continuing apace behind the scenes in preparation of the coming launch of The new site will be home to a host of boccelism information, links, and whatnot, and will include a major section dedicated to the American Boccelism Association. Watch this space for an announcement of an official Launch Date.

Opening Day Excitement

(crossposted at

The Edgewood-Kirkwood, Atlanta Chapter (ABA South Region) celebrated Opening Day of the 2007 Regular Season on April 21st at the Montgomery Street Tossing Grounds. The festivities included the introduction of an electronic scoreboard and a splashy debut by rookie tosser Mr. Jeff Gates.

Tossing began as Judge Durrett declared "Case On" from the chair, with Mr. Rex Batson challenging the newcomer Gates. Mr. Gates swung the momentum in his favor with a devastating boc in the fourth quarry of the first dalrymple, and never looked back while coasting to a 29-19 victory.

In other action, former South Region Governor Mr. Tom Pittard returned to the fray after a long absence from the grounds, but showed no sign of rust as he demolished Mr. Tom Durrett 36-16. Lopsided scores were the theme of the day as "Thunderball" Mr. Todd Leopold lowered the wood on Mr. Frank Schultz 36-19. Mr. Schultz licked his wounds and recovered in time to school the rookie while posting the high score of the day in a 37-17 dismantling of Mr. Gates.

After a hiatus in play, EKA Chapter President and South Region Governor Mr. Lee Wilkins took on Mr. Durrett; tossing under the lights and under the influence resulted in a lower-scoring, but closer duel, with Mr. Wilkins eeking out a 21-17 win and bringing Opening Day's competition to a close.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Opening Day Update

Opening Day 2007 will take place at the Montgomery Street Tossing Grounds, the park-like arena at 100 Montgomery St., Atlanta, GA. EKA chapter officials have announced that the Grounds will open to the public at 2 p.m., with case play expected to begin no later than 3 p.m., absent any unforeseen delays. See the previous post "A Challenge" for information about team play and reserving roster numbers.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Boo Hoo Ramblers at Blind Willie's Tuesday

The boys are scheduled to start at 9:30 PM. Patrons wearing black shoes and white socks will be eligible to enter a drawing for a free bottle of Old Spice. Ask Clark for more details.

ABA site down

Due to a pending change in webhosts, the ABA Home Page is currently unavailable. Check back here for updates on the site's status.

A Challenge (Updated below)

In previous seasons the Edgewood-Kirkwood, Atlanta chapter (ABA South Region) has featured case play with the individual players representing themselves (with the single exception of a direct challenge from the Chattanooga chapter (ABA South Region) in August 2002), with the goal of acheiving glory through personal victory. This year EKA is encouraging participants in chapter events to organize as "teams" to further stoke the fires of the competitive spirit. This is not intended to alter the custom of all Official Cases being singles matches, but rather to organize play in Tournament Style.

Should players embrace this suggestion, all Official Cases shall be between members of different teams. Standings for the day will be determined by Tournament Points; for a refresher on the awarding of Tournament Points here is an excerpt from Article IV, Section 8 of the ABA Code Of Laws:

"Section 8. For every case played, three Tournament (or Team) Points shall be awarded. The points shall be awarded as follows: One point shall go to the player or team that scores the most points in the first end; one point shall go to the player or team that scores the most points in the second end; and one point shall go to the player or team which scores the most points in the case.
In the event that the players or teams score an equal number of points in an end, then the point for that end shall be divided, with each player or team being awarded one half-point."

UPDATE: Reserve your roster number prior to Opening Day. The following numbers are "pre-reserved" until Opening Day. Failure by these players to make an active reservation or to appear on Opening Day to lay claim will result in these numbers reverting to available status:

64 - GALE

The following numbers are on permanent reserve by ABA and EKA Officers:


All remaining one- and two-digit numbers (including 0 and 00) are availble for reservation.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Opening Day At Hand

Saturday April 21st has been selected as Opening Day for the 2007 Regular Season of the Edgewood-Kirkwood, Atlanta chapter (ABA South Region). Starting time and location are To Be Announced at a later date. More details will be posted here as they become available.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Inman Park Exhibition

The 2007 Regular Season is just around the corner, so as a tune up the Edgewood-Kirkwood, Atlanta chapter is going on the road to Inman Park to set up a sneak preview of what Springtime has to offer when it comes to boccelism. The current plan is to tee it up this Saturday the 10th at the Freedom Park Tossing Grounds, Field A (bounded by Austin Ave., Sinclair, and Carmel). Should weather intervene, Sunday the 11th is available as a backup, which would also conveniently serve as a celebration of the advent of Daylight Saving Time. Check back here or with your local ABA representative for further scheduling updates.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

A Brief History of Boccelism

The mystery of the origins of boccélism is one that will never be solved until the wizards of modernity succeed in achieving H. G. Wells’ vision of a Time Machine. Only then will the historians of sport be able to trace the tenuous line of development that goes all the way back, perhaps, to some unlikely australopithecine; one might imagine this prehuman ancestor stooped by the edge of a watering hole to drink, when a smooth, shiny stone catches its eye.

Our inquisitive antecedent picks up the pretty rock for a moment before quickly losing interest and flipping the oversized pebble away. Then, whether by the strange chances of the world, or the will of Divine Providence (depending on one’s philosophical bent), the surprised primate follows the trajectory of the stone as it crashes into the skull of some other now-extinct creature in a Primordial Blast, sending bone fragments flying in all directions, and igniting the joy of spectacle and idle destruction in the amazed ape, which is subsequently passed on to its descendants, including ourselves.

Moving ahead several million years past that speculative scene to the early civilizations of the Fertile Crescent takes us to the first tantalizing hints of evidence of a nascent sport. Archaeologists have been hard-pressed to explain the peculiar discovery in one Sumerian city of small, malformed pottery jars, each containing a single, hand-tooled sphere of basalt. Surrounding each jar was a multitude of potsherds and fragments; the bland hypothesis that this was the result of some heretofore unknown “ritual behavior” is supremely unsatisfying.

Could it be that the mistakes of the potters became the objects (dare we say “targets”?) of some friendly tosses by the artisans and their apprentices? The experts scoff at such notions, but can offer no better explanation - and what of Stonehenge? The purpose behind the chalk balls found in the Aubrey holes at the prehistoric English site goes unexplained, Gerald Hawkins’ theory from the 1960s and 70s about an eclipse calculator having been largely discredited; could the Early Bronze Age peoples of Britain have learned to toss independently from their distant Mesopotamian kin?

More definite are the writings of Classical historians that make mention of the vulgar recreations of the common folk. Herodotus describes a barbarian general who erected a stelae on the site of each of his conquests, inscribed with his name and a list of his deeds of prowess; and if the subdued populace did not accept his challenge of a game of “Quaeron”, he would add to the stelae a depiction of female genitals. What quaeron was, exactly, is unknown, although it has been thought to involve making sport using the heads of casualties from the defeated soldiers (which might explain the reluctance of the locals to participate); some have gone so far as to suggest that the term “quarry” derives from this mysterious game.

Recent translations of certain texts indicate that Archimedes had a fondness for a tossing game that involved either earthenware pots or, intriguingly, wooden buckets as targets. Archimedes was slain, against the commanding general’s orders, by an invading Roman soldier during the conquest of Syracuse, and legend has it that the soldier became enraged after the elderly mathematician took umbrage at the soldier’s stepping on his geometric drawings in the sand. In light of the new translations, boccélism enthusiasts have suggested that perhaps instead the unnamed soldier drew the ire of Archimedes by arrogantly kicking away a target in mid-toss. The truth of the matter is lost to time, but boccélism fans everywhere could well understand the old man’s indignation at the interference.

The conquering Romans enjoyed spectacles for their entertainment, to be sure, but on a larger and generally bloodier scale than that of a humble game of what Cicero derisively referred to as “that. . .game bucket ball: a pastime fit only for drunkards, idlers, and fools.”(1) The rise of Christianity in the West did little to improve the climate for gaming of all sorts, particularly anything that might be associated with pagan revelry.

Thus for the long period between the ascendance of the Roman Empire and the Reformation the game slept in hibernation, a seed waiting for more favorable conditions to sprout, the knowledge and traditions of the game carried on mostly by those living on the shadowy margins of society. Not for nothing has it been said that the taverns of Europe during the Middle Ages were for primitive boccélism what the monasteries were for the preservation of the wisdom of the ancients. Even Chaucer dared not include mention of the game in his “Canterbury Tales”, though there are some clues to suggest he was fond of the occasional toss himself.

The prosperity and relative freedom of 17th-century Holland provided a more conducive environment for the growth in popularity for all types of bowling, including boccélism.(2) Among lore-masters of the game it is said that the first case of boccélism played in the Americas took place in New Amsterdam, with none other than Peter Stuyvesant, governor of the colony, presiding as judge, although there is no evidence to prove the claim (with the explosion in popularity of boccélism in recent years, there has been speculation from certain regional boosters that the ball courts of pre-Columbian Mexico were home to the New World’s first tossing, an attractive idea which sadly has no facts to stand behind it).

From New Amsterdam the sport spread quickly all over Colonial America, with an abundance of different rules and traditions springing up wherever it was played. Although the game was played across the continent, the Dutch communities were always the most active hotbeds; indeed, when Washington Irving penned his “Sketchbook”, he very nearly chose boccélism over nine-pins as the game of the Little People of the Catskills that helped lure poor Rip Van Winkle to his twenty-year nap.

By the first half of the 19th-century, when Irving wrote his classic, the cities and towns of the Northeast had become veritable tinderboxes, in need of only the proper spark to ignite the conflagration of fanaticism that warms the hearts of boccélism players and spectators to this very day. That spark fired from the imagination of F. T. Frelinghuysen, the Father of Modern Boccélism.

Of Frelinghuysen’s life and accomplishments entire volumes have been written: the impeccably-dressed diplomat who capped a career of public service by employing his skills of subtlety as Secretary of State for President Chester A. Arthur. Yet if fans of the world of sport claim that his deeds in that realm stand at least as tall, who shall gainsay them? For out of chaos he created order, with an elegant simplicity that laid the foundation for a worldwide phenomenon.

September 29th, 1845 dawned bringing the delightful warmth of Indian Summer to Schenectady, New York, and young F. T. Frelinghuysen took that as a sign that the time was ripe to make trial of his designs. He had spent the better part of the summer observing groups of men gathering to toss, and, taking note of the squabbles that invariably arose, he purposed to create a formal set of rules governing play which he perhaps over-grandly titled “The Boccie-Lism Code of Laws”. Frelinghuysen set out mid-morning to the Commons with his sheaf of notes and diagrams and carrying four new, oaken buckets nested onewithin the other.

Before long he had gathered several of the more open-minded souls to his area of the pitch, and they commenced tossing according to Frelinghuysen’s regulations, over time making those small amendments and additions made necessary when practice overruled theory. As autumn progressed, Frelinghuysen and his disciples set out on the more seasonable days, refining the sport and drawing new adherents. One impressed spectator was none other than Alexander Cartwright, who took heed of Frelinghuysen’s achievement, and the following year put his own considerable talents to work codifying his personal passion, the fledgling sport of base-ball.

The popularity of Frelinghuysen’s innovations can perhaps best be judged by the curious citation that appeared in the Schenectady newspaper in the spring of 1846: “Mr. G. W. Wilkerson, lately arrived from Ithaca, thought it Proper to bring to our attention the disturbing behaviour of a Mr. F. T. Frelinghuysen. For some months now, it seems, Mr. Frelinghuysen, together with several other individuals of dubious character, has been seen on the Commons engaged in the unwholesome activity of Botchie-Lism[sic]. Mr. Wilkerson reports that Friday evening last, Mr. Frelinghuysen and his mob, not content to mar the daylight hours with their infernal clatter, continued their gaming on through Twilight with the aid of lanterns, well past the time decent folk ought be home in their beds. Modesty forbade Mr. Wilkerson from saying so in as many words, but it was he himself that roused the constabulary to action; the Constables straightway bade Mr. Frelinghuysen and his anonymous companions to hasten to depart under threat of gaol for Violating the Peace. All who aspire to keep our fair town safe from Ruin should praise Mr. Wilkerson’s heroic deed, and be thankful that Providence has, none too soon, bestowed upon us one so vigilant as a member of our citizenry.”

Clearly this Mr. Wilkerson and the town fathers held the sport and its practitioners in little better regard than Cicero had in his time; the feelings, one suspects, were mutual: to this day in many quarters, a busybody neighbor that comes out to complain about a friendly game of boccélism is called, with some disparagement, a “Wilkerson”.

Only fragments of Frelinghuysen’s original notes remain, but he can be credited for fixing the distance between targets at 36 feet, specifying the sizes of the buckets and balls to be used, and perhaps most importantly, enshrining the unassailable authority of the judge. Previously, in the event of a tightly contested quarry the players might appeal to a trustworthy spectator, but it was not uncommon for vocal partisans to attempt to sway the decision, even resorting to threats or actual violence. Certainly those early judges did not receive immediate and universal acceptance and obedience, but over time most players were won over, not the least because of the veneer of respectability the game acquired through the rule of law.

Frelinghuysen also set down objective scoring rules, with any hit counting as a score; in many places it had been the practice that grazing or lightly touching the targets was not considered sufficient, with inevitable arguments resulting over whether a given hit was worthy. He also introduced the concept of the bonus point, giving extra credit for the “botbotfly” (now just botfly); others would later embellish his invention by adding a multitude of bonus categories.

Although he greatly enjoyed the sport, Frelinghuysen soon left control of the Commons to his lieutenants and moved on, learning to use his abilities in a loftier arena to persuade unlike minds to reach a consensus. Even so, his contributions have never been forgotten, and every year the champions of the American Boccélism Association’s National Invitational Tournament are awarded the Frelinghuysen Trophy in recognition of their achievement, and in honor of his.

The Civil War slowed the spread of Frelinghuysen’s Code, and after the War the Code still met with resistance in the South, where it was viewed as another form of Yankee oppression. Boccélism’s association with lovers of drink also brought it into conflict with the Temperance movement, as preachers and Prohibitionists loudly declared the game sinful. One Midwestern group of vehement Prohibitionists tried even to blame the Chicago Fire of 1871 on an errant toss knocking over a lantern. Fortunately for later generations of boccélism players, the rumor did not spread, and Mrs. O’Leary’s cow instead went into legend as the responsible party.

Despite the obstacles, the popularity of the organized version of the game gradually increased, with enthusiasts forming local clubs and associations, particularly in the Northeast. By the 1890s boccélism had largely lost most of the stigma of its humble origins, appealing to the elites as a less stodgy recreation than other yard entertainments, such as croquet. The leaders of the most prominent clubs, recognizing a need for a larger organizational structure, met in New York City on September 29th, 1900, and agreed that the advent of the new century should also be the advent of the American Boccé-lism Association (though in fact only representatives from Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York State attended that first meeting).

Ever since, the ABA has continued to nurture and regulate the development of the sport; even the strains of the transition from wood to metal as the preferred target-making material did not cause the Association to split, as some thought possible. ABA representatives were instrumental in the 1949 meeting in Paris which resulted in the creation of the Federatíon Internatíonal de Boccélism (FIB), leading to greater interest in the sport around the globe, especially in Africa and Asia, where the game had been largely unknown. The next chapter in the history of boccélism shall be written by those devoteés whose actions and achievements will undoubtedly lead boccélism to ever-greater heights of popularity.

1 Lismae vicae ingenuus nullus dubitat, et iste ludus pilae et situlae est: oblectamentum aptus ad tantum potator, cessator, stultus. “None doubt the nobility of the village Lismus, and yet there is that one, the game of ball and bucket, a suitable pastime only for the sot, the idler, the fool.” Cicero’s use of the pronoun iste is remarkable, as the term is almost exclusively used in speeches in reference to an adversary, generally with contempt.

2 The Dutch word, unprintable here, for all the varieties of the game was considered crude and inappropriate in polite society, as it was a double entendre with graphic sexual overtones. The innocuous “Boccé-Lisma”, or Lisma-ball, referring to the Italian town renowned for its ardor for the game, came to be used instead; the vowel at the end was dropped when the word was Anglicized.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Who Mourns For Adonis?

ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- A clutch of modern pagans honored Zeus at a 1,800-year-old temple in the heart of Athens on Sunday -- the first known ceremony of its kind held there since the ancient Greek religion was outlawed by the Roman Empire in the fourth century.

Watched by curious onlookers, some 20 worshippers gathered next to the ruins of the temple for a celebration organized by Ellinais, a year-old Athens-based group that is campaigning to revive old religious practices from the era when Greece was a fount of education and philosophy.

The group ignored a ban by the Culture Ministry, which declared the site off limits to any kind of organized activity to protect the monument.

But participants did not try to enter the temple itself, which is closed to everyone, and no officials sought to stop the ceremony.

Dressed in ancient costumes, worshippers standing near the temple's imposing Corinthian columns recited hymns calling on the Olympian Zeus, "King of the gods and the mover of things," to bring peace to the world.

"Our message is world peace and an ecological way of life in which everyone has the right to education," said Kostas Stathopoulos, one of three "high priests" overseeing the event, which celebrated the nuptials of Zeus and Hera, the goddess of love and marriage.

To the Greeks, ecological awareness was fundamental, Stathopoulos said after a priestess, with arms raised to the sky, called on Zeus "to bring rain to the planet."

A herald holding a metal staff topped with two snake heads proclaimed the beginning of the ceremony before priests in blue and red robes released two white doves as symbols of peace. A priest poured libations of wine and incense burned on a tiny copper tripod while a choir of men and women chanted hymns.

"Our hymns stress the brotherhood of man and do not single out nations," said priest Giorgos Alexelis.

More than a mere re-creation

For the organizers, who follow a calendar marking time from the first Olympiad in 776 B.C., the ceremony was far more than a simple re-creation.

"We are Greeks and we demand from the government the right to use our temples," said high priestess Doreta Peppa.

Ellinais was founded last year and has 34 official members, mainly academics, lawyers and other professionals. It won a court battle for state recognition of the ancient Greek religion and is demanding the government register its offices as a place of worship, a move that could allow the group to perform weddings and other rites.

Christianity rose to prominence in Greece in the fourth century after Roman Emperor Constantine's conversion. Emperor Theodosius wiped out the last vestige of the Olympian gods when he abolished the Olympic Games in A.D. 394.

Several isolated pockets of pagan worship lingered as late as the ninth century.

"The Christians shut down our schools and destroyed our temples," said Yiannis Panagidis, a 36-year-old accountant at the ceremony.

Most Greeks are baptized Orthodox Christians, and the church rejects ancient religious practices as pagan. Church officials have refused to attend flame ceremony re-enactments at Olympia before the Olympic Games because Apollo, the ancient god of light, is invoked.

Unlike the monotheistic religions of Christianity, Judaism and Islam, the old religion lacked written ethical guidelines, but its gods were said to strike down mortals who displayed excessive pride or "hubris" -- a recurring theme in the tragedies of Euripides and other ancient writers.

"We do not believe in dogmas and decrees, as the other religions do. We believe in freedom of thought," Stathopoulos said.

Friday, January 19, 2007

American Boccelism Association stand-in

Pending upgrades to the website, this is the place to come for news and information about the World of Boccelism.

The Edgewood-Kirkwood Atlanta chapter (ABA-South) held its Winter Warm-Up in balmy conditions on Saturday, January 13th at the Ancient and Overgrown Tossing Grounds. Several exhibition cases were played, including the first tosses from a pair of newcomers to the sport. The Midwest Region seat on the Board of Governors may not be vacant much longer.

An exact date for Opening Day of the 2007 Regular Season has not been announced, but late March/early April is the likely timeframe for the start of serious bucket violence. As soon as a schedule is announced that information will be posted here.