Got My Butt Kicked Playing Boccia and Loved It!

Rick and Marco
Rick Watters and Marco Dispaltro

It was only about a month ago, that I was formally introduced to the sport of Boccia by venturing out to catch the tail end of a tournament in London, Ontario. With my good friend and Adapted Sports Specialist, Monica, willing to take the trek with me, we departed early from a sailing symposium in Burlington and made it there in time to catch a few matches. Most importantly, for me, was the opportunity to meet some key people to help me better understand the sport to assess whether it’s a good fit for me.

Rick and Marco in Action

My main sport and recreational activity are para-sailing (sailing in adapted boats/classes) and I was looking for something fun and challenging to do when I wasn’t sailing. My involvement with the Shelley Gautier Para-Sport Foundation leads me to meet Paralympic Medallist, Marco Dispaltro, who invited me to train with his team for a day at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal, followed by a weekend tournament in Quebec City. Fortunately, Marco warned me ahead of time that I would be “fed to the wolves” but it would be a great learning experience. Well, Marco wasn’t kidding! I played and lost all my matches, including a great performance by Shelley’s 14-year-old cousin, Joshua Gautier from Niagara, who is a rising star in the Boccia juniors!

Special thanks to my friends for helping me to take the steps necessary to discover a new sport: Emily, Monica, Alan, Marco, Joanna, Ceasar and all the wonderful participants and supporters who make opportunities like this happen for people with disabilities.

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