There is a major event coming to Naperville this summer and you can be a part of it. 

It is the USA Boccia Nationals Tournament taking place June 28-July 1.  In the world of adaptive sports, this a huge event that will have 200 athletes, coaches, referees and game staff from all over the United States coming to Naperville.

Not familiar with boccia? It is a sport for wheelchair athletes taking place on an indoor hard court surface. The object is to throw or roll game balls so they land as close as possible to the target ball called the jack. After all of the balls have been thrown, the closest team receives the number of points equal to the number of balls they have closer to the jack than their opponent’s closest ball. The disability sport community initially adopted boccia as a sport for athletes with cerebral palsy but it is now open to all athletes with significant physical disabilities.

Boccia is a test of concentration, accuracy and strategic ability. It is contested at local, national and international levels. In 1984 boccia became a Paralympic sport and by 2008 was being practiced in over fifty countries worldwide.

Beyond the test of strategy and skill that comes from competition, fellow athletes turn into acquaintances and eventually lifelong friends. Boccia becomes an amazing community that lends support and understanding both on and off the court. This is why it is so important that athletes attend tournaments like this one.

Like last year, the tournament will take place at Fort Hill Activity Center and Players Indoor Sports where there will be 16 courts hosting individual, pairs and team play. To make everything go smoothly it will take a small army of volunteers. This is where you can make a difference.

Consider volunteering. You choose the day(s), time slot(s) and activity. Don’t worry, no experience is necessary. You will receive training as part of your volunteer time. There are no hard jobs but all are necessary to make this tournament a success for these athletes.

Need a little more insight into the tournament? Check out this NCTV17 interview from last year’s tournament with two of the youngest Synergy athletes, a former national champion and Naperville native, and a veteran who never thought he would compete in a sport again at  www.nctv17.com/news/sports-story-sunday.

We are thrilled to be hosting an event of this caliber in Naperville. We hope you will volunteer to be a part of it. Register today at www.usaboccianationals.sportngin.com/register.

Synergy Adaptive Athletics is a collaborative program of WDSRA and NEDSRA. For more information, visit www.synergyaa.com or contact Jason Stubbeman, Synergy Athletics Coordinator, at (630) 384-8542.