A game that ‘knows no age’ attracts ballers to 89 North Monday

Married couple Eric and Nicole Freese didn’t head to 89 North Music Venue Monday to kick off Patchogue’s first-ever indoor bocce league because they love bocce.

They don’t know much about it, they were quick to admit.

“It’s something to do,” said Nicole Freese, 31.

“My cousin saw it online,” said Eric Freese, 33. “And he knew we lived out here in Patchogue so he figured let’s give it a shot. It’s something different. It’s the wintertime, and there’s not much to do during the week.”

They, along with Eric Freese’s cousin and his wife, formed one of several teams that competed during Monday’s free bocce night hosted by American Bocce Co. founder Ben Tudor — and facilitated by Patchogue-Medford Library staffer Laura Accardi.

The actual league starts Oct. 18 and will run every Tuesday night for seven weeks, alongside a Brains of Long Island trivia night in the reserved seating area.

Tudor, who was quick to reinforce the rule Monday night that players must throw with a drink in their hand at this 21-plus event, said he saw a nice mix of first-timers and experienced, lifetime players.

“Everyone learned quickly and some of the first-timers were on the court for two or three games in a row,” he said.

He estimated eight or nine teams played.

Tudor said he’s passionate about bocce, in large part, because anyone can play.

“We work closely with the Special Olympics, as bocce is among the most played games in that community,” he said. “We work with retirement communities. In our leagues we’ll have 50 percent male, 50 percent female with all levels of athleticism and skill. It is competitively neutralizing. And you can play with a beer in your hand!”

“It’s nice to see the younger people and the older people together,” said Accardi, noting the diverse crowd who showed Monday. “It’s a game that knows no age.”

Contact ben@americanbocceco.com for more information.


Ben Tudor of America Bocce Co. explains the game and the house rules Monday.

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