Seniors win first ‘Big Wig’ Bocce tournament

Seniors win first ‘Big Wig’ Bocce tournament

Arlene Gentile, of Smithfield, a member of the Seniors team, says she has been playing Bocce for 15 years. The “Big Wigs” and “The Seniors” battled it out at the first Bocce Tournament on the grounds of the Smithfield Senior Center last Friday. (Breeze photos by Charles Lawrence)

SMITHFIELD – Part of the 23rd anniversary celebrations, seniors at the Smithfield Senior Center took home the trophy and the glory during the first “Big Wig” Bocce Ball tournament last Friday, Oct. 5. Organizers plan to make it an annual event.

After losing the first match, the seniors came back to win two in a row, cinching the championship and earning gloating rights for a year. Playing on teams of four to six people, seniors used their skills learned through the summer to blow out the Big Wigs in a final match, winning 11-2.

Big Wigs, including Rep. Gregory Costantino, School Committee member Rose Marie Cipriano, Fire Chief Robert Seltzer, Police Chief Richard St. Sauveur, Town Council President Paul Santucci and Town Manager Randy Rossi, tried their best to knock The Seniors out of the competition, but failed in the end.

In the final match, Rossi, St. Sauveur, Cipriano and Costantino tried to throw their balls closest to the pallino to score points, but Seniors Gill Pfeiffer, John Reale Jr., Mary Ann Dwyer and Doe Corriveau showed the Big Wigs who was boss.

Dwyer said she could not have won without the weekly practice and coaching of the other members at the center.

“I’ve had a great partner and a great coach,” Dwyer said of Reale.

The tournament celebrated 23 years for the center, and recent renovations that brought new life to the facility and its fields. The bocce ball court is one of the most frequently used fields that recently underwent upgrades to lighting and the court.

“It’s just finishing up getting redone, it’s wonderful,” said Senior Center Activity Director Kate McAdam-Prickett.

When throwing, the senior spectators lining the sunny side of the court cheered their team on, acting as a referee at times.

“Measure it! Measure it!” they yelled after a throw landed too close to call by eyes alone.

Whichever ball is closest to the pallino scores a point, and if balls on the same team are the second, third and fourth closest, the team scores an additional point for each.

This time, The Seniors picked up three extra points for being a quarter of an inch closer than the Big Wig’s ball, winning the game and the tournament. A round of cheers and clapping followed, with The Seniors celebrating victory.

Queen’s “We are the Champions,” played as the winners were announced, passing the golden trophy around. The award will be engraved and remain at the center until next year, when the Big Wigs will have the chance to take it to Smithfield Town Hall with a win. There are 18 plaques on the trophy, for many years of competition to come.

“It was a great game, maybe next year we may make it,” said Costantino.

He said the game took him back to his younger years, of playing in backyards during family barbecues.

“It’s always nice to get together with the seniors. I’m really grateful they invited us here to play.”

Rossi said it was a great time, but asked the police chief to investigate the cheating that was going on there.

“The win is still under investigation,” the chief joked.

McAdam-Prickett said the seniors use their outdoor bocce ball court every Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday at 8:30 a.m. from May to September.

Games are open to center members, and the center is accepting new members.

The “Big Wigs” and “The Seniors” battled it out at the first Bocce Tournament on the grounds of the Smithfield Senior Center last Friday. Smithfield Town Manager Randy Rossi is playing for the “Big Wigs” team.
Gil Pfeiffer, of Smithfield, holds out a sign indicating its time for someone to throw a green ball.