BEAVER SPRINGS - When the Middlecreek Area Community Center opened its doors 10 years ago, a part of the newly formed community landmark's mission was to be "a non-sectarian, community-based organization dedicated to meeting the needs of the citizens in the communities it serves."
Almost a decade later, nothing has changed.
The MACC continues to grow and prosper. And the communities surrounding Beaver Springs are treated with activities like racquetball and wall climbing - along with a gymnasium, fitness center and aerobic studio - to enjoy life to the fullest.
Sentinel photo by JEFF?FISHBEIN
Isabella Dressler tries her hand at the newly formed Bocce ball court at the Middlecreek Area Community Center. The MACC, with the help of Charlie Bobb, installed the court to give residents of the area a chance at the new sport. The MACC will be holding a ‘Bocce Party’ Thursday at 7 p.m. with free entry and free hot dogs.
A few months back, Cher Harpster, the Executive Director for the MACC, was approached by a man named Charlie Bobb with the idea of a new platform of fun for the community center. This one although a sport that Americans have not taken to as other countries have challenges a number of skill levels by using a "jack" and trying their hand at a bowling-style game.
Yes. It is Bocce ball.
"Long time board member Charlie Bobb started playing Bocce in his travels and really enjoyed it," Harpster said. "He thought it would be something that our board members would like to have."
The MACC's first 'Bocce?Party' is set for Thursday at 7 p.m.
And Thursday, the MACC will be holding its first Bocce Party at 7 p.m. The party is free and open to the public. The event will feature free hot dogs to those who participate. Bobb was presented with this game while visiting some friends in Florida. He said almost every gated community has its own court. That got Bobb thinking. Why not have one for the members at the MACC?
"It is a game that doesn't require a lot of physical demand," he said. "It seems like a good fit for the senior citizens in the summer."
Behind the MACC sits the court. A long surface of natural soil and asphalt that would impress any serious Bocce player. And since the court has been open to members, many area residents have taken up this new sport with feverish demand.
"He just built it," Harpster said.
When Harpster says, "He built it," she means it.
Bobb took it upon himself to donate nearly all the materials for the courts. And then he built it.
"I brought it up in the board meeting," Bobb said. "I offered to pay for a substantial amount toward it and we're ready to put it in operation."
Harpster feels the same way about the game that is much like shuffle board, which the center has leagues of during the winter months.
"I know Bocce has grown in popularity in the state," Harpster said. "A lot of our members like shuffle board and this is like an outdoor version of that."
Here's a little background on the game if you find yourself in the Beaver Springs area looking for something new.
The game originated in Rome and was quickly adopted by Italy. That's where the word Bocce comes from, meaning "bowls."
A game can be conducted between two players, or two teams of two, three, or four. A match is started by a randomly chosen side being given the opportunity to throw the jack, a smaller ball as opposed to the other balls being used, from one end of the court to a zone at the end of the court.
From that point, points are awarded for bowls that come closest to the jack. The team with the closest ball to the jack is the only team that can score points in any frame. The scoring team receives one point for each of its balls that is closer to the jack than the closest ball from the opposing team.
The length of the game is typically between seven and 13 points.
But don't think you'll be able to pick up the subtle nuances right away if you plan on attending Thursday. Bobb, although he had built the court, is still trying to figure out what it takes to master the game he brought to the community.
"I haven't played that much," he said. "But one of the hardest things is to know how hard to throw the ball. It's much like shuffle board."
The Middlecreek Area Community Center opened its doors to the public on May 18, 2002. Currently the MACC has over 100,000 daily visits made my membership cards since the doors opened in 2002. The center has had over 1,100 members.