By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief
Sign-ups are now open for the three inaugural Summer Bocce Leagues, which will be played at Veterans Gardens at Palisades Recreation Center.
“We’re so excited to launch three fantastic bocce leagues at Veterans Gardens,” said Jimmy Dunne, one of the founders of Veterans Gardens. “We’re launching a daytime league for our seniors, a Thursday evening league for adults, and a Sunday brunch league for grandparents, parents and kids.”
Bocce is a non-contact ball sport, which was developed into its present form in Italy, played by rolling eight balls on a court to try to get closest to a smaller target ball. The leagues are slated to run through summer.
“You can sign up as part of a team or we’ll put you on a team,” Dunne explained of the sign-up process.
The Senior’s League will play on Tuesdays at 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. June 29 through August 31. Each match will be followed by a picnic lunch from Palisades Garden Café—delivered to the picnic tables in the park area.
“We’re hoping we’ll have about 10 spectacular teams with seven to 10 seniors on each team,” Dunne said. “Many of the teams will be formed from seniors at the churches, synagogues and Palisades clubs in town.”
The Palisades League, which plays on Thursdays at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m., will begin July 1 and conclude September 2.
“There are so many teams that are already forming: neighbor teams, school teams, groups of couples, you name it,” Dunne said. “Imagine how fabulous it’s going to be playing bocce with friends under the setting sun, with the breeze of the big blue sea and our beautiful mountains in the distance.”
In support of the leagues and Veterans Gardens as a whole, local eateries Hank’s and Casa Nostra are offering 20% off food and beverages for all league teams.
The third league, the Family League, will meet Sundays at 12 p.m., followed by a picnic pizza party. This league will run July 11 through mid-September.
Dunne shared he hopes that a dozen families of grandparents, parents and kids will join the league, and when they finish playing, everybody is invited to join in for lunch, which can be ordered ahead of the matches from Palisades Pizza.
Veterans Gardens has created a volunteer group, the Bluebirds, which will help out with the leagues and other events that will take place at the park area.
To sign up for a bocce league, the Bluebirds will be at a picnic table at the courts every day through June 12 between 8:30 and 11 a.m. Registration can also be completed online at palisadesbocce.com, which also has a full list of rules for how to play.
For those who have not tried their hand at the game or want some practice before the leagues officially kick off, Dunne shared that some players plan to stop by the courts on Sundays in June at 4 p.m. to learn a few tips and about how to play.
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