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United States Bocce Championship is being held on The Hill

ST. LOUIS - The Romans played bocce around 800 B.C.

But it was Italian immigrants who brought the game to America in the early 1990`s.

And Monday on the Hill, you could find the U.S. National Tournament.

“Bocce, not Bocce,” says Patrick Clark.

“That`s exactly right,” says Tony Sanna, President Italia America Bocce Club.  “You`ve got the Italian Oh is a long Oh sound.  So, it`s like Bocce.”

Pronounced with a hard O, as in “Oh that was a good roll!”

This bocce tournament has brought teams from California to the New York.

Yes, bocce is made for you and me.

“I learned from these women here,” says Amy Stephens.  “They taught me.  So, my style is like they do.  Just depends if you`re a shooter or lager.”

The Hill is home to many third-generation Italian families keeping this tradition alive.

This week players are taking part in this qualifier to advance into a world tournament.

So, expect to see some good games, fierce competition, and a sport that St. Louisans are already somewhat familiar with.

“If you haven`t played it it’s a little like curling or shuffleboard,” says Sanna.  “You take turns throwing your ball toward it.”

“You can play and hang out and talk while you play, it`s very competitive,” says Stephens.