The city of Lebanon joined forces with Wilson County Special Olympics in 2015 in an effort to bring the popular game of bocce to Don Fox Park for people of all ages to enjoy.
The object of bocce (pronounced bot-je) is to roll a bocce ball closest to the target ball on the surface of a court- a combination of bowling and horseshoes.
The low-impact game, which has been enjoyed for generations in Italy, is the third-most participated sport in the world next to soccer and golf. Bocce is recognized as an official Special Olympics sport and provides people with special needs the opportunity to exercise, have social contact, and gain self-confidence.
Wilson County Special Olympics partnered with the city of Lebanon for a location for the much-needed courts. The Lily Pad at 406 N. Castle Heights Ave. is the newest section of Don Fox Park. With a children’s park, walking trails, pavilion and ample parking, leaders believe the centrally located park will be the ideal location for the courts.
Lebanon engineering director Randy Laine said eight courts – two sets of four – would be installed and hopefully ready to use by spring.
Melody Engle with the Wilson County Special Olympics said the courts would allow the organization to hold tournaments, as well as practice. She said she also hopes the courts would attract more people to the sport and Special Olympics and give opportunities for people to interact with special needs participants.
Laine said the courts would be open to the public and people will be able to check out equipment at the Jimmy Floyd Center.
The Special Olympics of Wilson County has the support and assistance from the city of Lebanon, Wilson County via recreational grants in 2015 and 2016, private companies and individuals via monetary donations, product donations and soon-to-be-needed man hours.
For more information or to volunteer, contact Laine at 615-444-3647, Dawn Bradley at 615-453-7288 or Manning at 615-453-7287.