Taking a look at this year’s Bocce Team season


From left to right back row: Cody Taylor, Shaylee Sharp, David Sims, and Scarlett LeBeau. Front row: Jaycee Wood and Abigail Simcox

Jaycee M. Wood, Staff Writer

The Clearfield Bocce team has persevered through trial and error this season but has plans to pull through with a successful season. Bocce coaches Mrs. Hoover and Mrs. Spila are making the most out of the Bocce season, despite the conflicts they have faced. Bocce is a relatively new sport at the Clearfield Area Junior-Senior High School, and it needs more recognition. The 2021-2022 season’s team players are listed as follows: Shaylee Sharp, David Sims, Scarlett LeBeau, Rylee Ogden, Abigail Simcox, Jaycee Wood, and Cody Taylor. The game’s officials are former official Mrs. Judi Bookhamer and new official Mrs. Michele Moyer. There are currently seven players on the Bocce team, but more students are encouraged to join.

Bocce is a low impact yet competitive game that is easy to adapt to. Coach Mrs. Hoover describes the game saying, “There are two teams, a court, one pallina (small ball), and two sets of juicy Bocce balls. The court is constructed of PVC pipes so that most of the balls stay inside the court. The basic concept of Bocce is that after a coin toss, one team member rolls the pallina down the court. Then, rolls a juicy Bocce ball as close to the pallina as possible. A member on the other team rolls a ball. Whichever team’s ball is closest to the pallina doesn’t roll next. The other team members roll their Bocce balls until one of theirs is closer. The opposing team then rolls a ball. Play continues with the team who is not closest to the pallina throwing a Bocce ball. A game is 30 minutes in length OR one team earns 16 points. There are at least 2 games in a match with a third game as a tiebreaker.”

The game of Bocce is significant and unique compared to other sports. For instance, Mrs. Hoover shares, “The goal of the Bocce team is to have a varsity sport where students of all abilities are able to participate if they so desire. It emphasizes striving to ‘create a better world by fostering the acceptance and inclusion of all people’ (Special Olympics Mission Statement).” The Bocce team is different than other sports because it is available to students with mental and/or physical disabilities.

The Bocce team has faced more challenges than usual this season, which has stalled its ability to compete the way they expected to. For instance, Mrs. Hoover notes some conflicts: “Deciding if we had enough members for a second team when, at one point, we had too many members for one team, attempting to practice Bocce in the back hallway by the boy’s locker room, having our first game cancelled the day before we were to leave, other Clearfield County teams dropping out due to Covid cases increasing, and looking for another Bocce referee.”

Other sport’s games are going on and Bocce games are difficult to track, but anyone can come watch the games. Hoover informs where Bocce games can be attended when she states, “We practive in the Weis Gym two days a week after school. Our schedule is posted outside the gym near the concession stand. We have two more practices (which we hope to turn into scrimmages) on Wednesday, February 16th and Thursday February 17th. We hope to have another scrimmage during a future PM activity period with the possibility of maybe a Bocce tournament.”

Any student can be included and will be treated as part of the Bocce team if they are thinking of joining. When asked why students should join the Bocce team, Mrs. Hoover replied, “It is a really fun game that takes skill and strategy while fostering friendships, sharing of gifts, and creating a better world for the inclusion of all people.”