Team work makes the dream work, especially if the dream is a bus that shuttles mobility-challenged seniors from the neighborhood to the Swinging Sixties Senior Center. A few years ago, it was decided that a bocce tournament, where local businesses would sponsor their own teams, would be a fun way raise funds to support the operation of the Swinging Sixities Senior Bus. Brent Young (owner of the Meat Hook and Cozy Royale) and Joseph Franquinha (owner of Crest Hardware) joined forces to reach out to fellow local business to create teams to participate in the tournament.
2021 will bring the 4th Bocce Tournament to Domino Park’s bocce courts on October 16 starting at 11 a.m. Eight teams will participate. This bocce tournament is so popular there was the potential for sixteen teams, but organizers thought it best to keep it to eight teams as the event will be outdoors in its entirety and this would allow for a more streamlined event.
Eight teams will play, each team representing a local business. This year’s teams are: Crest Hardware, Meat Hook, Variety Coffee, Bite Size Dentistry, Pete’s Candy Store, Two Trees Management, Harefield Road, and Other Half Brewing. For more information or to support with a donation go to Bocceforbus.org
Brent Young was introduced to the Conselyea Street Block Association (CSBA) when Frank Citera (CSBA’s VP) invited him to join the board. “Brent is very, very helpful, especially with the bocce tournament. He’s always there for us,” said Citera.
Young was on the CSBA board when an anonymous benefactor contributed funds to enable St. Nicks Alliance and CSBA to purchase a senior bus. The seniors love the bus, as it has enabled a significant number of mobility impaired seniors to join Swinging Sixties. The bus’s operation costs had to be funded, and the idea of a bocce tournament was pitched.
The first Bocce Tournament was organized in 2017. Young took on the challenge to find teams with Joe Franquinha of Crest Hardware and the pair have shared the lead efforts to organize the event ever since. They have also shared the tournament’s trophies: Crest’s team won the first tournament then Meat Hook’s team won the second tournament and Team Crest won the third tournament. Will Meat Hook even the wins up this year? Will Crest widen their lead at the top? Will a new team become the champion? These questions and more will be answered on October 16, but community is the most important thing.
“You have this nice mixture of longstanding members of the community mixing with newer members of the community neighbor-wise but mostly businesswise that are willing to do what it takes. You’ve got the Variety Coffees and Meat Hooks and businesses like that who have taken that responsibility just as seriously as Crest has. That’s invigorating; it’s really awesome to see. To grow from four or so teams to eight teams to twelve teams in that third year it says a lot. To raise the money we did makes you hungrier and more excited to do even better next year,” said Joe Franquinha of Crest Hardware after the 3rd Annual Bocce Tournament.