The Student News Site of Manheim Township High School

The Township Times

The Student News Site of Manheim Township High School

The Township Times

The Township Times

The Student News Site of Manheim Township High School

The Township Times

The Newest Sport at MT: Unified Bocce Ball

The Unified Bocce Team

The newest varsity sport is here at MT, and their practices are in full swing. The name? Bocce. 

Bocce (pronounced: baa-chee) is a game that can be played one on one or in teams of up to four people. It’s a competitive outdoor game that is played on a 12 ft x 60 ft court. The game requires attention to detail and precision as players attempt to throw their ball as close to the target ball, the pallino, as possible. The location of the pallino is determined at the beginning of each game as one team (typically decided upon via coin toss) tosses the pallino across the bocce court. Each side gets four chances to reach the pallino as closely as possible. The closer to the pallino, the more points scored. The MT Unified Bocce Team will play until a score of 16 is reached or 30 minutes have elapsed.

Though only recently gaining popularity in the United States, Bocce Ball was played as early as 5200 B.C.E, taking hold in countries such as Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. Around the early 1500s A.D., Bocce Ball was taken to Italy where it began to resemble the modern day game today. It was introduced to the 1896 Olympics and has remained a part of the Olympic Games ever since.

The Special Olympics were specifically created for individuals with disabilities to compete in sports at a high level while also receiving accommodations that make it possible for them to participate in a game that might otherwise not be accessible to them. Under the Special Olympics are the Unified Teams, which are a combination of players with and without intellectual disabilities. The goal is to break down stereotypes, develop friendships between teammates, and be physically active while doing it. There are currently over 8,300 schools in the United States that have created at least one Unified Team and that number is growing rapidly. 

Here at MT, the Unified Bocce Team will play four games against various schools in Lancaster County in their regular season and then have the chance to go to playoffs depending on their performance. There will be both one exhibition and two competitive teams. The team is coached by MTVA Director Beth Krebs, who is very excited for the upcoming season. 

“I chose to coach bocce this season to support MT students and the MT community,” she said. “I play in a local bocce league in late spring and summer, The Lancaster Bocce League. I have enjoyed the game and look forward to engaging students and the community in the game.” 

The team had their first competition on Wednesday, Dec. 20 against Penn Manor where they won 7-3. The team has been very excited about this win and the other upcoming games this season. 

“My favorite part is being able to be on the team and spend time with my teammates and coach and have an awesome year together,” sophomore Abby Dehart said. 

Before games and some practices, the team likes to recite the Special Olympics Athletes Oath:

“Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

This pledge is used as another way to get the players excited, but also ground them and allow them to focus on making the best play possible. 

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About the Contributor
Lily Kilgore, Staff writer
Lily is a staff writer for The Township Times and is a senior at MT.

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