Tallgrass Creek Residents Are Now "Jack Throwing" as They Prepare for Their First Bocce Ball Tournament

June 5, 2012

Tallgrass Creek Residents Are Now "Jack Throwing" as They Prepare for Their First Bocce Ball Tournament
OVERLAND PARK, KS (June 5, 2012) - Scores of Tallgrass Creek retirement community residents in Overland Park, KS, are now practicing their "jack throwing" techniques in preparation for their first Bocce Ball Tournament, which will be held Friday, June 29, from 1 p.m. until the last of the five games are played. They practice on the back lawn behind their campus clubhouse each Friday afternoon and are determined to master Bocce Ball, even if the game is new to most of them.
A grass surface (not sand or turf) will be used for the tournament.  Painting on the grass will determine the court size, which will be ¾ the size of a regulation bocce ball court. Balls thrown or knocked outside the court will be considered out of bounds.  Four rounds of 4 players will play in the tournament and the winners of those rounds will play one more time to determine the Tallgrass Creek champion.
"Tallgrass Creek residents seem to be attracted to competition," said Fitness Specialist Michael Hernandez, who is facilitating the tournament. "I really hope that bocce ball is the beginning of monthly activities that will draw people out to be more physically active and have some fun."
Bocce ball requires basic balance and hand-to-eye coordination.  It also requires functional upper body strength. "The more we test our bodies we begin to have a better understanding of our strengths and weaknesses," said Hernandez.
Bocce is played with eight large balls and one smaller ball (called the pallino).  Bocce balls are divided evenly between the players.  Each bocce ball set has balls with several different colors or designs.  Ideally, each bocce player will use balls from the set that are unique in design or color from all the other balls in play. This is helpful in distinguishing an individual's bocce balls from those of another player.
A player is chosen at random to throw the jack (small ball).  After the jack is thrown, the same player will throw his/her first bocce ball.  The purpose of the game is to get the  bocce balls as close as possible to the jack.  After the first player has thrown his/her first bocce ball, they are considered "inside" because his ball is closer to the jack than any of the competitors' balls.  All other players are considered "outside."  Whenever a player is considered "inside," he/she will forfeit his turn throwing bocce balls.  All "outside" players will take turns throwing their bocce balls until one of theirs gets closer to the jack than the "inside" player.
After all players have thrown their bocce balls, the player that is "inside" will be awarded points. During the Tallgrass Creek tournament one point will be awarded to this player for every ball that is closer to the jack than his closest competitor's ball.  After the points are awarded, the frame is completed.  A new frame is started by electing a new person to throw the jack and to throw the first bocce ball.  A game is won when a player reaches 7 points.  As many frames as necessary are played until a player reaches this point level.
Tallgrass Creek's resident-run wellness committee helps staff design health and fitness activities. A resident walking group meets regularly to log laps on the 65-acre community's scenic walking trails. In addition, many residents take advantage of personal training sessions Hernandez introduced last year. For just $12.50 an hour -- far less than the amount most personal trainers charge -- Hernandez works one-on-one with residents to help them accomplish their individual fitness goals.
Tallgrass Creek, which has nearly 300 residents, is located on a 65-acre campus at 13800 Metcalf Avenue in Overland Park, KS.