Bocce ball for all

Stan Jones gets ready to throw for the blue team at a bocce ball game August 8. The red team gave them a run for their money, but the blue team ended victorious with a final score of 16-15. -- Sarah Ladik

Stan Jones gets ready to throw for the blue team at a bocce ball game August 8. The red team gave them a run for their money, but the blue team ended victorious with a final score of 16-15.
– Sarah Ladik

A group of seniors gathered behind Whispering Willows last week for the first lawn-games event of the summer, but certainly not the last.

“I’m just happy people showed up and had fun,” said Emma Harper, recreation programmer for the municipality. “Everyone can play bocce ball, but sometimes it’s nice to have someone else organize something, just so anyone can show up and not have to worry about bringing anything.”

Bocce ball is an activity in which players on two teams throw weighted balls and try to get their own closest to the target. It’s kind of like a grassy version of curling. Harper organized a session last Friday at Whispering Willows in part to help seniors get out and active, and in part to keep in touch with them during the summer when the recreation centre offers somewhat less programming for that age group.

“We have a few things – like walking and exercise programs – for seniors over the winter, but in the summer we’ve found that people do their own thing,” she said. “But it’s always nice to do a few things in the summer to keep in touch.”

Some were way ahead of the game in that respect.

Experienced bocce player Rene Belanger said he was still keeping out and about well before the lawn-games got their start of the season last week.

“We bowl every week with 15 other people,” he said. “It’s just good to stay active.”

In the end, the game finished in a nail-biting 16-15 for the blue team, with the red team having caught up from an early slump.

“I think there’s a decent amount of stuff for people to do in town,” said Harper, noting that most often recreation organizational resources are devoted to children and youth, but that adults and seniors have many opportunities to get involved in activities as well.

“I think it’s important to provide recreation services to everyone, every segment of the community,” she said. “And for seniors too, it’s really important. Physical activity and social isolation can be a problem for them so it’s always good to organize things where they can come out, get moving, and socialize.”

– Sarah Ladik