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Tournament marks grand opening of Senior Center's bocce courts

Joan Gamache takes her turn during the June 12 bocce tournament at the newly completed courts behind the Pleasant View Senior Center.
Reminder Publications photo by Debbie Gardner
June 21, 2010.

By Debbie Gardner

Assistant Managing Editor

EAST LONGMEADOW -- Twelve teams took to the courts, but it was the skill and expertise of the Villamaino family that rolled in a victory in the East Longmeadow Senior Center's first Bocce Tournament on June 12, with the team of Rick and David Villamaino declared tournament winners.

The Saturday morning event, which also signaled the grand opening of the recently completed bocce courts behind the newly refurbished Pleasant View Senior Center, was also part of center's two-day grand opening celebration.

"We have some people who have played for 40 years, some who are playing for their first time today," Senior Center Director Carolyn Brennan told Reminder Publications at the tournament's 10 a.m. kickoff.

Don and Rocco Carabetta organized the play for the day's games. UNICO provided hamburgers and hot dogs for the players.

Among the first teams to take to the courts were bocce enthusiasts Don Gamache and his wife, Joan.

"Don came to me about a year ago and said bocce was a great sport for all ages," Brennan said.

She said she began researching the idea, relying heavily on a book by local bocce expert Rico Danielle, owner of Mom & Rico's Specialty Market in Springfield's South End.

"We built [our courts] according to his specifications," Brennan said. Funding for the courts came from a combination of member fundraising and senior center renovation funds. The actual construction, which was done by the town's Department of Public Works, began late last fall and was completed just prior to the tournament.

Brennan said the courts are now available for public play during the Senior Center's regular hours, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Players may also sign out the bocce balls for weekend play by leaving a $10 deposit, which she said will be refunded when the balls are returned Monday morning.

She added that the center is hoping to establish a regular bocce league by August. Interested players should call Sandy Grabierg at the Senior Center at 535-5436 for more information or to sign up.