Boccia is played every Saturday morning at Colwood Community Hall. (Tim Collins/News Gazette staff) 

Boccia provides opportunity for athletes of all abilities

Ancient game has been adapted for indoor play

Every Saturday morning The Victoria Screamers, a group of athletes from the West Shore, gather at the Colwood Community Hall to participate in a sport that has seen some of them travel to tournaments around North America. But for the group, it’s just about having fun.

While the game has its roots in the classic outdoor sport invented in Italy hundreds of years ago, the indoor version played by the Screamers was developed in the early 1980s as a way to eliminate many of the setbacks that athletes with disabilities faced when they were unable to take part in some sports such as track and field, swimming, weight-lifting and cycling.

“Our group is made up of people with a variety of challenges. Several of them suffer from cerebral palsy, spina bifida and autism, but they all enjoy the sport and it’s great because it challenges them physically and mentally,” said club president Kelly Halpen.

The game is similar to traditional boccia, although this version has been designed to be played indoors. The much softer balls can be thrown onto a hardwood floor without damage.

Each team is given six balls and after one side has thrown the jack – a white ball that forms the target – the two teams proceed to throw their initial balls as close as they can to the target. The side not closest continues to throw balls until they are closer than their opponent or they are out of balls. At that point the opposing team throws the remainder of their balls.

Sides are awarded points based on how many of their balls are closer to the jack than their opponent’s closest ball.

“For those players who can’t actually throw their balls, we have a ramp arrangement that allows them to roll their ball and we have people help them out with their turns,” Halpen said. “It’s all set out in the rules set by Boccia Canada.”

Boccia Canada is closely associated with the Canadian Cerebral Palsy Sport Association and is focused on providing athletes and individuals of all ages the chance to play this unique sport.

The Screamers are hosting an invitational tournament on Feb. 10 at the Colwood Community Hall as part of their 10th anniversary celebrations. It’s a one-day event with a $75 entry fee (for athlete and sports assistant). Halpen hopes the tournament will attract athletes from across the country and will help spur more registrations locally for the Screamers, who are always looking for new members.

For more information on the Victoria Screamers, or to register for the Club Invitational Tournament, contact Halpen at dominator211@gmail.com.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

editor@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

Police tell campers to leave Oak Bay park by 9 a.m.

Tent city leader expects confrontation, campers don’t plan to leave

PHOTOS: Cannabis consumption in the provincial capital

Victoria pot shops responds to the national legalization of marijuana

Homeless campers of Namegans Nation head to Oak Bay

Roughly 30 members of roving tent city settle at Cattle Point in Uplands Wednesday

HALLOWEEN RUNDOWN: Spooky season settles in Victoria

Here’s your list of creepy and spine-tingling events to take in during the month of October

WATCH: Twelve Angry Jurors puts a new spin on an old tale

Canadian College of Performing Arts opens season with reworked version of Reginald Rose teleplay

Find your future at Black Press career fair in Victoria

More than 70 booths expected at Bay Street Armoury on Oct. 25

Chain reaction crash on Vancouver Island leads to boat hitting house

Alcohol and speed may have been a factor in Courtenay crash

POLL: Do you support amalgamation for communities in the Capital Region?

Residents in Victoria and Saanich will be voting on Oct. 20 on… Continue reading

Proportional representation grows government, B.C. study finds

Spending, deficits higher in countries where voting system used

Ucluelet fears orca protection could shut down fisheries

“I beg you to start a process to put a stick in the wheels and slow these people down.”

Black market will thrive until small pot growers and sellers included: advocates

Advocates say the black market will continue to thrive until small retail shops and craft growers are included in the regime.

Goodbye cable, hello Netflix: 1/3 of Canadians cut the cord

Just under half of households no longer have a landline phone

‘Some baloney’ in assertion Canada’s pension fund has highest ethical standards

The Canadian Press Baloney Meter is a dispassionate examination of political statements culminating in a ranking of accuracy on a scale of “no baloney” to “full of baloney”.

Most Read