(Story by Margaret Shindelus)
CBI – PUNTO RAFFA VOLO & FIB – VOLO
The historic World Bocce Championships was a joint venture of the Confederazione Bossistica Internazionale (Punto Raffa Volo) and Federation Internationale De Boules (Volo). The event was a gathering of 52 teams from 37 countries.
The championship was held at the Toroslar Bocce Hall and Volleyball Gymnasium in Mersin, Turkey. There were 10 outdoor Volo courts and 4 outdoor and 4 indoor courts for Raffa that were used for the 6 disciplines of Volo and 7 disciplines of Raffa. The huge, covered bocce facility was part of a sport complex built for the 2013 Mediterranean Games. The outdoor courts were concrete covered with sand and the indoor courts were carpet laid over a sport court floor.
Raffa Team USA contingent started our long journey by meeting at Chicago O’Hare airport and traveling together on the same flight to Adana Turkey, which was a 1-1/2 hour bus ride to Mersin. Speaking of the Mediterranean, our living accommodations were at a low-rise resort hotel complex located at the seashore. We had adjoining two story 4-plexes that housed our entire USA Raffa and Volo contingents. The American flag was proudly hung from the upstairs railing.
The tournament was well organized, and we had a team member participating in every PRV event. We started each day with breakfast at 6:30 am, a 40-minute bus ride to courts at 7:15 am, and team members competing every hour from 8:30 am to 9:00 pm. We stayed together and supported each other throughout the week. If we had any break we were able to watch the Volo competition and appreciate the precision shooting skills and athleticism of the competitors.
Team USA fared well and finished with an overall PRV World Ranking of #16. The team was led by Amy Lazeretti going undefeated in the Women’s Singles preliminary rounds with a 4-0 record and finishing with a #5 World Ranking. Miles Russell teamed with Amy Lazeretti in Mixed Doubles and attained a #9 World Ranking. Teresa Passaglia and Margaret Shindelus competed in Women’s Doubles and finished with a #9 World Ranking. Greg Della Croce competed in both Men’s Singles and teamed with Miles Russell in Men’s Doubles attaining a #17 World Ranking in both events. Miles Russell and Margaret Shindelus each competed in Precision Shooting and both finished with #11 World Rankings.
Each team member proudly represented the USA displaying their skills and all were gracious in both victory and defeat. We are grateful to USBF President, Danny Passaglia, for accompanying Team USA as Head of Delegation/Coach, and for outfitting all National Team members (PRV and Volo) with great uniforms that he obtained through sponsorship of TOP87.
Highlights of the event were Opening Ceremonies where we marched into a huge ovation from the crowd only to be followed by and even louder roar when the host country Turkey came in behind us. Each day it was awesome to see the young children bused in to watch the games and to see how excited they were to cheer for Turkey and seeing the kids request autographs from team members from around the world. Everyone we encountered was gracious, kind and helpful to us throughout our entire journey. It was an incredible experience for each of us and we are grateful for having the opportunity to proudly wear a USA uniform.