When volunteer Ron Galipeau began running the Johnston Senior Center bocce league four years ago, little did he know the impact he would be bringing to the Center.
Bocce has been a long time favorite sport of many for a very long time. The original game has been dated back to 5200 BC when the Egyptians were known to toss a ball or polished stones. From Egypt the game made it’s way to Greece around 800 BC.
The Romans learned the game from the Greeks and then introduced it throughout the Empire. The Romans influence in bocce is preserved in the game’s name; bocce derives from the Vulgate Laton Buttia meaning boss. The Romans were the first to play the game, they used coconuts brought back from Africa and later used hard olive wood to carve out bocce balls.
It then became the sport of stateman and rulers. In modern times the first bocce clubs were organized in Italy in 1947 by 15 teams in and around the town of Rivolli (Torino). 1947 marks the beginning of the yearly Bocce World Championships, which continues today in over 30 nations. Next to soccer and golf bocce is the third most participated sport in the world and is considered the oldest know sport in the world.
Over the last few years the JSC bocce league, under the direction of Ron, has gone on to win gold, silver and bronze medals in the Senior Olympics, and they can’t wait for this year. The Bocce league has gone up against some tough competition but their hard work has paid off for them in the past.
Ron is looking to branch out and play against other Centers or Clubs. Organizations interested in the challenge can contact Millie Santilli at 944-3343 ext 101. Anyone interested in joining the league stop by the Center any Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday morning at 9:30, or call Ellen Trementozzi at 944-3343 ext 105.
(Article submitted by Millie Santilli, file Sun Rise photo)