Bocce Ball takes Arcata High by Storm

Reporter: Mark Salamunovich

Bocce Ball. The one sport played in the Halloween-ish month of October. It begins with the toss of a bocce ball flowing through the air and hitting the sandy ground, sending sand and dust flying into the polluted sky. The tournament starts in the blink of an eye like a sudden flash of light.

Students play at Larson Park right by Arcata Elementary near the tennis courts. A big playground stays still waiting for people to play on it.  There’s the shady hut with a banner that says “Northern Humboldt Bocce Ball Tournament.” Arcata High competes with Fortuna High, McKinleyville High, and Glen Paul School. More than fifty players have gathered for this tournament.

We check the list on the table in the hut to see who we are playing and then we move to the playground to meet our opponents. We all gather together and say the Special Olympics oath; now the games can begin! We play three games sometime during the day. Between those games, we have breaks so we have time to enjoy ourselves on the play structure and eat lunch too. After the three games, we stand in line and cheer while we get medals. Then it’s time to go back to school.

Wyatt Wheetley, a bocce ball veteran from Arcata High, tells me his favorite memory from previous tournaments: “Playing with my friends at the park,” he said. It seems that this is a common sentiment.

First time participant, Jayd Milton exclaims, “Excited!” after being asked about how he felt about playing bocce ball for the first time.

“I really like to see my old friends from the different high schools,” interjects Mr. Rowe, one of the Arcata High teachers in the SDC Life Skills program. He mentors students that participate in the fun tournament.

If you see us competing against other schools, enjoying the bocce ball tournament, cheer us on. It begins with the toss of a bocce ball flowing through the air and ends with happy smiles and the gleaming of medals glistening in the sun.