Did you know that pétanque is an allied sport? | Communities



For many QO students, Allied Bocce is just a sport you don’t know or have never even heard of. However, for the privileged few, this is their only chance to participate in a team sport in high school. Pétanque is an allied sport, which means that it is designed for students with disabilities and students without disabilities to play.

Pétanque is a fairly simple game. It begins with the winning team in a coin toss rolling a ball called the pallino over a 60-foot carpet. The pallino will end up between the 30 foot mark and the 50 foot mark. Then each team will have four chances to bring their ball closer to the pallino than the other team.

It is the simplicity of sport that allows it to be accessible. The official MCPS rules allow slight modifications to accommodate handicaps, such as adjusting foul lines for players who need to use a ramp to throw the ball. The rules also require that two of the four players competing be student-athletes with disabilities.

Bocce is part of the corollary athletic program that MCPS created under a 2008 law that requires schools in Maryland to give students with disabilities the opportunity to participate in sports. While allied softball is offered in the spring and team handball is offered in the fall, petanque is the most common corollary sport offered in MCPS schools, which is why many high school special education teachers recommend their students to play pétanque in high school.

“Before coming to QO, I was teaching LFI, which stands for Learning for Independence, and students opt for certification instead of a degree, and [bocce] has always been a sport that we once pushed them to play, ”said QO pétanque coach Julie Lyst.

Teachers are not the only ones seeing the benefits of having disabled students play sports.

“Pétanque improved not only the mood of Crush, but that of our entire household. The teamwork he learned has been extremely valuable and has also come home to us, ”said Tom Rowse, father of Gregory“ Crush ”Rowse, a former bocce player at Wootton High School with autism.

However, it’s not just students with disabilities who benefit from being part of a team with disabled and non-disabled students, also known as GenED students.

“In an IEP [Individualized Education Plan], he always talks about the least restrictive environment. This is the most important thing, so it is always pushed for this student with a disability. . . to learn to do this and learn to do that, ”Lyst said. “I think it’s just as important for GenEd students to be in class or to work with students with disabilities because they are ordinary children: they are ordinary people that you will see in your community. . . and not knowing how to properly interact with them, I think that puts GenEd students and anyone else at a disadvantage.



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