Paralympic Boccia is a unique sport for those with significant physical challenges. But, it is also an expensive one. New players often find it challenging to compete because of the significant costs related to competition fees, accommodation, as well as highly specialized and unique equipment. For example, the typical cost of a Boccia Ball set is approximately $500.
What is Boccia?
According to Boccia Canada's website, the unique game is described as follows:
Boccia is a Paralympic sport that can be played by anyone, with or without a disability. Originally designed for people with severe cerebral palsy, it is now enjoyed by players with a wide variety of disabilities. It’s easy for a beginner to pick up quickly, but builds in intensity and complexity as players hone their skills.
Boccia is a co-ed sport of control and accuracy, similar to curling or lawn bowling. Games last four or six ends. Players propel balls towards the target or “jack” ball. Each side has six balls (red or blue) per end to try and score points. The closest side to the target ball when all the balls have been played, scores. If the game is tied after all ends have been played, a tie-break end is played. Boccia can be played head to head, in teams of three, or in pairs.
No problem. Balls can be rolled or kicked. If a player can’t roll or kick, they can use a ramp. If they can’t let the ball go with their hand, they can use a head or hand pointer.
Boccia is played indoors, on a court that is similar in size to a badminton court.
The court includes six throwing boxes, one for each athlete. Athletes must stay in their box during their turn.
Boccia is a sport of precision, focus and accuracy. It is a complex and technical game where players must employ a great degree of both physical coordination and mental foresight. Boccia was introduced onto the Paralympic program in 1984. Today, it is played in over fifty countries. In Canada, it is governed by the Canadian Cerebral Palsy Sports Association and internationally, by the Boccia International Sport Federation.
Check out this cool video.
The unique challenge of playing Boccia in northern Ontario
The vast majority of competitions available that athletes occur in southern Ontario or even out of province. Although there are some subsidies available, athletes who wish to compete have a significant financial commitment. All the donations we receive from this campaign will make it possible for our athletes to experience the thrill of competition.
Meet to the team:
Andrew (Pulled Muscle) Morrissette
Andrew has being playing Boccia since March of 2017 and has shown steady progress. He attended his first competition in June 2018 and quickly made a name for himself, coming away with a bronze medal finish at the Ottawa Odyssey Open.
Andrew earned the nickname of "Pulled Muscle" after he took one rather aggressive shot in practice and pulled a muscle - a very rare injury in the sport. He is now very careful to warm up properly and not to over extend himself.
He is going to need a personalized set of boccia balls soon which can cost over $500 a set.
Maggie "the blocker" Julien
Maggie has been playing boccia regularly since March of 2017. She has yet to experience the thrill of competition and is eager to get the opportunity to do so at the 2018 Boccia Blast in London, Ontario
She earned the nickname of The Blocker due to her incredible knack for placing the perfect blocks on her opponents during practice. She hopes to carry her strong defensive skills into the Boccia Blast. But, she needs your help!
The entry fee for Boccia Blast is $300. She also has transportation cost of $250 for an accessible Greyhound ticket. Additionally, she will have hotel and some meal expenses.
Help "the blocker" get her first taste of competition.
Stacey "the newbie" Johnson
As the newest member to join us, Stacey has only being playing Boccia for a few months. For now, she is affectionately known as "the newbie" but, she has shown incredible potential and killer instinct. She has shown great poise and strong strategic mind. Without question, she will be competition ready in no time.
Lance Cryderman (Player/Coach)
As a the leader of the team, Lance is not only making a comeback as an athlete, but also supports and guides his teammates, Andrew, Maggie and Stacey. In 2018, Boccia Canada recognized his potential to rejoin the National program by naming him as one of their NextGen players. Read about it here
Lance's highlights since coming back:
- Bronze medial at the 2018 Defi Sportif Altegro (National Competition)
- Gold medal at the Ottawa Odyssey Open
Lance is hoping to do well at the Provincial Boccia Championships in Witby in a few weeks to earn a spot on the Ontario Boccia Team - competing at the 2018 National Boccia Championships being held in St. John, Newfoundland this November.
Athletes attending the national competition have a $1000 assessment fee if they wish to participate. Lance's chances of being selected are very good. Help him on his quest for gold in Newfoundland!
Please don't let the financial barriers of competition prevent Stacey and the rest of the team from realizing their full potential.