As the final match was underway, Andrew Fratino nervously watched as his father and son took turns on the court. This was the final match of the first annual Nonni & Nipoti Bocce Tournament, and a championship was on the line.
Organized by the Order of the Sons of Italy Montreal, in collaboration with Desjardins Caisse populaire Canadienne Italienne and Club Bocce L’Acadie, the Nonni & Nipoti Bocce Tournament was held yesterday (September 11) at the Club Bocce L’Acadie in Montreal’s Ahuntsic-Cartierville borough.
Sixteen teams of two – each made up of a grandparent and grandchild – competed all day long while family and friends cheered them on from the bleachers.
“Gaby missed his swimming lessons for this. This is how much he wanted to play. He did not have to be convinced to play with his grandfather,” explains Andrew Fratino.
“His grandparents talk about bocce all the time. Whenever his grandfather Joe wins a tournament, he gives his medals to Gaby. So he has a whole bunch of bocce medals at home.”
“Make sure you say that I’m eight years old and that this is my second time playing bocce,” a proud Gaby Fratino chimes in.
In the end, Gaby and Grandpa Joe lost the championship to Santo Franzolato and 11-year old Andrea Arkolakis.
Grandpa Joe, aka Joe Fratino, is the president of the Order of the Sons of Italy Montreal.
“The Sons of Italy and the Caisse Populaire wanted to do a bocce tournament. But we thought, let’s do something different. Let’s do it with the grandkids,” explains Joe Fratino.
“Everyone I talked to thought it was a great idea. Getting nonni and nipotini together. There’s nothing like a bond between Italian nonni with their grandkids. We’ll definitely do this again.”
The Order of the Sons of Italy Montreal was founded in 1919 and is the oldest Italian organization in Canada. There are many active Order of the Sons of Italy chapters across Canada and the U.S.