“Bocce has been a part of Lakers for so long it’s hard to say why it was chosen – however it’s easy to say why it has stayed ... it’s a sport that does not discriminate.”
While Laker’s clubhouse was being renovated in September, the club used a temporary alternative location, but couldn’t use its bulky wooden bocce court because it was too cumbersome to transport, Clarke said.
“We began searching for a company to provide an easy-to-transport, easy-to-store bocce court and came across Packaworld. So far, their court has worked out brilliantly: it’s easy to set up, easy to take down and moving it from one location to the next is simple.”
Packaworld’s inflatable Packabocce courts are designed to remove the transport and storage issues unwieldy and heavy fixed courts create, and make it simple for players to roll out a game of bocce without anything getting in the way of play.
Clarke said she was proud to see people grow and develop from the social benefits and camaraderie they gained by competing in sports and being involved in group activities.
“We see our members join Lakers to find activities and learn, we then see them stay for the friendships they make here. Our members are a family here, their families become friends, it is so incredible to see.
“Lakers is a safe space for our members, a home away from home.”
Most of the Lakers’ 20-strong bocce squad have been sharpening their skills for years at the club, taking their training seriously and dedicating themselves to upping their game, with some having competed at regional and national Special Olympic events, Clarke said.
Packaworld Chief Executive Peter Roberts said he was pleased to see the current wave of enthusiasm for bocce reaching all over the globe.
“Our purpose is to make the joy of sport real to more people, while Lakers aim to help their members develop into the most capable version of themselves– it’s great to see bocce achieving both goals in such an incredibly positive way.”
Lakers was named after the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team in honour of the basketball team’s famous connection with Special Olympics.
The club is supported by more than 160 volunteers and has more than 320 active members, from five- to 75-years old, who can access a smorgasbord of the 40-plus different activities on offer six days a week. Activities range from sports such as basketball, football, tennis, skiing and Taekwondo, to creative and educational classes including art, dance, pottery, cooking and computer literacy, with the twice-weekly bocce classes being particularly popular.
Appropriately for an organisation overflowing with community spirit, Lakers recently won the Community category award in the inaugural Spirit of Wicklow Award, staged by Wicklow County’s own Powerscourt Distillery, the home of Fercullen Irish Whiskey. The club was also announced as a finalist in Ireland’s National Lottery Good Causes Awards earlier this year.
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