Mill Valley resident Teresa Rea, at right in photo at left and in center in photo on right, joined teammate Jolene Kramer in winning the U.S. National Bocce Championship Women’s Doubles Gold Medal in June. Courtesy images.

Longtime Mill Valley resident Teresa Rea, a former Mill Valley Arts Commissioner and a current member of the Mill Valley Chamber board, played competitive volleyball for 20 years before she decided “it was a time to find something less impactful that I could play for the rest of my life,” she says.

She found it in bocce, also known as Italian lawn bowling, one of the most widely played games in the world and one of the oldest lawn or yard games. Best known in Italy, where you may see a group of retired Sicilians gathered in a town square for a daily afternoon game, bocce has been gaining popularity in the United States and other locations.

It’s clearly been a great fit, as Rea and her teammate, San Anselmo resident Jolene Kramer, just won the U.S. National Bocce Championship Women’s Doubles Gold Medal in June. They’ll be representing the United States in Chicago in December in a Pan American bocce tournament.

Rea specifically plays Punto Raffa Volo, an international version of the game that involves two different types of precision shooting. Rea first joined the Marin Bocce Federation League in 1999, joining the some- 1,000 participants at Albert Park in San Rafael.

Rea says she’s thrilled to represent the U.S. in Chicago, and credits the duo’s mental fortitude for persevering when they faced a 10-3 deficit in the championship game last month, only to surge to a 15-13 victory.

“It was really exciting,” she says.

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