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Blindness Can't Stop Bocce


I make an annual trip to the Natick Sons of Italy (Natick, Mass.) for good bocce, very good companionship, and excellent food. The Francesco De Sanctis Lodge No. 1411 has good bocce thanks to tireless organizer Milly Piccioli.


The venue boasts two well constructed courts with stone dust surface and some of the friendliest bocce players anywhere.


Janet Pecorari steals the show each year. Losing her eyesight as an adult, she continues to play bocce. She not only plays, she plays WELL!


Husband Nick carefully calls out instructions, giving Janet the info she needs to mentally visualize the shot. Then he rings a bell continuously over the target until the ball leaves Janet's hand. The teamwork is impressive and it is obvious to observers that Janet is a fine athlete.


One thing Janet and Nick did better than some of the sighted players I compete with is this...they ADJUSTED after each roll. Nick would give Janet the feedback that her roll was too much left or right or too long or short (and by how much) and invariably her next attempt would be closer to the target.


I had witnessed legally blind players play well before, but this was the first time I encountered a sightless one. Janet is not only a good player, but one with a great sense of humor. She'd make an excellent roll, drawing applause from the crowd...then she'd say something like "No problem. I could do that with my eyes closed."

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