Bay Forest community association president Jim Carlson had a “Field of Dreams” moment last year. The bocce players who populated the two courts the community already had gave him a message: If you build a third, they will come.
The community granted that wish and the bocce players came in droves. The finals of their tournament, one that started out with nearly 100 entrants, begins this morning.
Bocce, a version of lawn bowling that began in the Italian Alps, has become a big hit in Carlson’s community. He counts 697 doors in that community. He counts 96 regular bocce players.
“People love the camaraderie that builds over the year,” Carlson said. “All the players get together for three or four meals a year, and they’re throwing a big end-of-the-season party on March 27.”
Carlton, who’s played a few games himself on those courts, said the beauty of the sport is its inclusiveness.
“It’s something everyone can do, even if their health isn’t the greatest,” he said. “I’ll tell you something. That’s a really competitive group. It’s amazing what that competition can bring out of people.”
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The Lee County Sheriff’s Department will take on Lee County’s fire departments in the Charity Bowl, a full-contact arena-style football game, on March 18 at Germain Arena. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with the game starting at 7:30 p.m.
The sheriff’s department’s charity is the Brittni Colas Charity Foundation, set up to help Colas, daughter of a Lee County police officer, pay for the liver and bowel transplants she soon will need, the travel expenses for regular checkups in Cincinnati and her home schooling. The firefighters’ charity if the Jay Harper Foundation, set up to assist Harper, diagnosed with Burkitt’s type non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
The competitors will promote the upcoming game on Saturday at Harley Davidson/Buell of Fort Myers at 2160 Colonial Boulevard between noon and 5 p.m. Those attending can purchase tickets to the game, as well as signed 2006 calendars of the Cape Coral and Bonita Springs firefighters. Free food and drinks and local music also will be available.
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There will be no Naples Fishing Club meeting for the month of March. Meetings will begin again on April 18. The Naples Fishing Club meets every third Tuesday at VFW Post 7721 at 800 Neff’s Way off of Pine Ridge Road in Naples. A fishing clinic begins at 6:30 p.m., with the club meeting following at 7:15 p.m. and the guest speaker at 7:30 p.m. There is no charge and the public is invited.
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The trio of Gary Parsons, Stephanie Carlson and Wayne Meland were the big winners at the monthly tournament sponsored by the Naples chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association. The three caught 11.92 pounds of redfish for a $306 prize.
Second place and a $153 prize went to Chris Turner and Tom Simmons (9.02 pounds of redfish), third place and $91 went to Steve Loyd, Kyle Loyd and Ty Loyd (8.58 pounds of redfish) and fourth place and $61 went to Wright Taylor and Mike Mueller (5.99 pounds of redfish). The mystery fish prize winners were Scott Gundeck and Bob Ross, who caught a 10½-inch, .63-pound mangrove snapper for a $170 prize.
The CCA’s Naples chapter sponsors a tournament on the first Sunday of each month at the Calusa Island Yacht Club in Goodland. For more information, contact Wright Taylor at (239) 821-9203 or by e-mail at Wright@MarcoHomesAndFishing.com.