Walpole Council on Aging plays bocce

A player rolls the ball in front of the giant scoreboard (that looks like a clock).

By James Kinneen
Hometown Weekly Reporter

Even though they’re meant to be fun, games can be intimidating. Anybody who's tried to play pool with somebody who clearly grew up with a table in their basement, or felt like they’re annoying a veteran card-shark when they need to have the rules explained to them, knows that a willingness to play isn’t always the problem when it comes to participation.

Luckily, that’s not the case with bocce, a simple game to understand and an even simpler one to play. The Walpole Co-operative Bank South Street Center has a beautiful new court, it just needs players. Gayl Sanzi explained that if people are intimidated by having never played before or not being in good enough physical shape, they shouldn’t be; anyone can play.

“This game is a game for any age," explained Sanzi. "I had three-year-old grandchildren that used to play, and I know people that are 85 that play. It’s a simple game. It’s not strenuous. It’s just plain fun and easy to learn.”

The other good thing about bocce is that eight people can play at once. So, while a game like pool features a couple of people playing and a whole lot of people watching, with bocce, you can have a whole host of people participating, rather than spectating.

The little ball, which players are trying to get their ball closest to, is rolled onto the court.

The little ball, which players are trying to get their ball closest to, is rolled onto the court.

So far, the issue has been that not as many people have shown up to play. Since that’s likely because of the oppressive heat and summer vacations taking potential players outside of Walpole, Sanzi hopes more people will come to the Thursday games after Labor Day.

“Everybody should come on down," she said. "it’s Thursday at 10:30. If you’ve never played, there are people here that will teach you and make you very comfortable.”

That’s another issue. Bocce is brand new to the South Street Center, so there may well be a lot of people who don’t know how to play, or who may have walked by the court without realizing what it was. This is a shame, because the court is very impressive. There are benches to sit on, handrails that make it easier for people to get into and out of the court, a scoreboard, and even a wire with a loop at the end that allows players grab a ball from the ground without needing to bend.

The Walpole COA’s bocce court has everything you need to make the Thursday morning games something special. It just needs some more players.

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