Ketchikan's Josh Cohen grabs the gold
Dempsey Indoor Center on the campus of the University of Washington is home to the nationally ranked Huskies football team. This week, however, the PAC-12 is opening its doors to Special Olympics USA and the bocce ball tournament.
Ketchikan's Josh Cohen is here and that's no surprise, as many of Alaska’s top bocce players call the Southeast home.
"I wouldn't say that for sure,” said Josh. “I will say we have great spots for bocce ball there."
The rules are simple. First to 12 points wins and you have four chances per round to get your ball closest to the small white ball called the pallino. But strategy and execution can be difficult. It's not all about strength and speed because here, precision is rewarded, too.
"I’ll say there's a lot of mathematics into it and science,” Josh explained. “But gravity wise and how much power to throw-- that's where the mathematics come in."
It was a good start for Josh. He went unbeaten in pool play and found himself in the gold medal game against a competitor from Missouri. Six years of hard work had paid off.
"A lot of practice, time and I can say with those two combined, with the strategy you develop, it will help you in the long run."
Josh secured a 13-5 win; he’s bringing home the gold medal. But in the true spirit of sportsmanship, he tries not to run up the score.
"If we're like ahead by, let's say two points, it's better to not score anymore and talk about how much points we won or not won,” said Josh.
He inspires by playing the game right and when he does it, he thinks of those who aren't in Seattle.
"It feels pretty good, and I’ll say for the people who didn't make it from Alaska for bocce, I’m glad I did it for them.” Josh added, “I wish the rest of the bocce players who couldn't be here were here to experience what I’m experiencing."
Today Special Olympians from around the country learned more about Josh. They learned about how Alaska bocce players conduct themselves and what they stand for. In the process, Josh Cohen got a lesson of his own-- in gold.
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