LBA inception story
So a hearing aid salesman, a mechanic, a carpenter, and a surgical assistant walk into an Italian restaurant...
The rest is history.
Well, that's the gist of it, anyway. But, I guess you'll want the details, huh? Geez! Hold onto your bocce balls, already! Here we go...
Sometime around the spring of 2013, a carpenter by the name of Brent Sawyer was commissioned by a friend to build a couple of bocce courts at an Italian restaurant that the friend owned. Being a fan of bocce, Brent proceeded to spend hours upon hours constructing two beautiful outdoor wooden bocce courts with a playing surface of artificial turf and god knows how many tons of substrate. The result was a magnet for Lexingtonian bocce enthusiasts.
Almost immediately, enough people expressed interest in a bocce league, and one was thrown together. The loosely organized league wasn't exactly a model for success, but the players stuck with it. Some of the teams were really good. One included a surgical assistant named Mike Hilvers. Brent teamed up with the restaurant owner and was able to claim the first league championship, despite the stiff competition.
The following year, even more people got involved in league action. Brent again had to face the surgical assistant (Mike), and a newcomer, mechanic (Eric Bauman), with both proving to be formidable opponents. While these three guys were beating up on each other, a rookie team was able to steal the championship, forcing all of them to stew throughout the winter.
In 2015, the previous year's champion assumed control of managing the league, and it began to grow by leaps and bounds. The league began to attract some serious bocce enthusiasts. Most notable was a hearing aid salesman from Ohio, named Chris Chmielewski. No longer having to question the leadership of the league, Brent, Mike, and Eric could focus their attention on the game. The result was a sweep of the podium by their respective teams. The surgical assistant won, the carpenter finished second, and that left the mechanic to round out the top three.
By the fourth year, the league had grown to playing twice a week to accommodate all the teams, and was also squeezing two seasons into the warmer months. League leadership changed hands once again, this time finding the mechanic at the helm. With the ship straightened the previous year, he had no trouble charging it ahead. By the time the second season of the year rolled around, league games were being played three nights a week, the mechanic had won an award (from the league) for his leadership, and the new guy (hearing aid salesman) had perched himself atop the standings.
Year five saw even more growth, and people started to notice. It didn't take long for these four guys to start putting their heads together to tackle some pretty impressive bocce goals. The carpenter guided them all in a complete overhaul of the courts. The mechanic led the charge in upgrading all the court lighting. The hearing aid salesman was asked to head up another league at a local pizza joint, and the surgical assistant went on to claim championship status at both venues.
And then it clicked...
Brent, impressed with the organizational and leadership skills of the mechanic, approached Eric about setting up courts indoors (at a venue where another friend of his shared ownership), and running a winter league there. Eric, seeing the potential for such an endeavor, quickly jumped on board. When the two began discussing the logistics, they quickly realized that trying to do it all themselves would run them both into the ground. When Brent asked Eric who would be the best person to bring in to help carry the load, Eric didn't hesitate to respond. Citing great passion, willingness to assist whenever needed, unparalleled knowledge of the game, and at least some leadership experience, the hearing aid salesman was a no brainer. When approached, Chris almost immediately signed on, as expected.
While the three had agreed to keep things under wraps until they could unveil their dreams-turned-reality, their excitement couldn’t be contained. Soon others caught wind of their plans, and when the surgical assistant heard about it, he announced that he would contribute in any way he could, if the others would have him. After a very short deliberation, Mike was welcomed into the group.
There was some legal stuff mixed in there somewhere, but that’s how the Lexington Bocce Association was born. Once it was all official, the four modern day Village People--uh, scratch that…that’s a bad reference. The Village People were six strong. I’ll try again.
There was some legal stuff mixed in there somewhere, but that’s how the Lexington Bocce Association was born. Once it was all official, these backstreet boys--ah crap...Those guys could sing and dance. Alright, one more time…
There was some legal stuff mixed in there somewhere, but that’s how the Lexington Bocce Association was born. Once it was all official, this eclectic group rolled up their sleeves and went to work, each utilizing their own unique skill sets. They were able to quickly network to not only reach out to fellow bocce enthusiasts, but to convince the owners of Rock House Brewing that they could bring people into their brewery, if they could only set up and house a couple of courts there. There were a few tense moments in the final stages of contract negotiations (those guys at Rock House are thorough!), but eventually everyone agreed, and Lexington's first indoor bocce courts were constructed.
From there, the LBA launched its existence and helped Rock House re-introduce hundreds (or even thousands) of people to the game of bocce. With plans to run leagues at multiple outdoor venues in the summer months, and to provide the opportunity for groups to rent bocce courts for parties, fundraisers, or any special event, the Lexington Bocce Association is here and poised to do exactly what they set out to do: promote and grow bocce interest in around the Lexington area.