Backyard bocce ball brouhaha

The following is another "Have Fun or Get Out of the Way" column by Don Leighton and Mike Granlund and their alter egos, Lance Boyle and Billy Pirkola, which runs occasionally in The Superior Telegram.

Bocce Ball
Ray Kosey, right, tosses a bocce ball as his wife Kris, Kris, looks on during a reenactment of the 2009 Bocce Ball Bash. (Jed Carlson/

The following is another "Have Fun or Get Out of the Way" column by Don Leighton and Mike Granlund and their alter egos, Lance Boyle and Billy Pirkola, which runs occasionally in The Superior Telegram.

It was a bright and sunny day Saturday in Superior, particularly at the home of Ray and Kris Kosey, site of the Eighth Annual Bocce Ball Bash.

Twenty-one two-person teams entered and chose from either of two manicured courses. Steve and Mary Fregin's yard was reminiscent of a British Open golf course. What an invigorating challenge it was to compete on the Fregin's East Course. The palatial estate of Kris and Ray Kosey, otherwise known as the West Course, was trimmed to perfection and was the most popular due to the close proximity of food and beverage. Both courses were unique in character and challenging to all participants.

But what started as a bright and sunny day full of hope, friendship and optimism, turned into a dark and sinister night for those who remained. (Federal, state and city laws require that Lance be in the house before 10 p.m.) From what has been reported to me and after extensive research into all claims of what happened, legitimate and illegitimate, I believe a special commission must convene to get to the bottom of the skullduggery that took place. The history and good name of a 3,000 year old game is in jeopardy.

Here are the facts as I know them:


Jack "Lefty" Urban, a man of great integrity, and Lisa "Dead-eye" Gotelaere, one of the fiercest competitors I have ever faced, were partners on one of the 21 teams competing. My partner, Traci DeMeyer, and I faced them early in the day, had a commanding lead and then lost due to some reason I have not made up yet. Urban/Gotelaere then lost to Tom Hansen and Kris Kosey in a match that was the last in which "Lefty" would compete.

"Lost" may be deceiving. The score amounted to a thrashing, 11-3. Hansen, sports director at News 6, KBJR Television, and our gracious hostess, Kosey, cut through the competition like a hot knife through butter.

Immediately after the loss to Hansen/Kosey, Urban "claimed" his soon to be surgically repaired left shoulder was in dire need of rest. Not having a partner, Gotelaere looked over the crowd of non-players and immediately chose Ray Kosey. Yes, that Ray Kosey -- the owner of the field and manicurist who knows every imperfection and high and low region of the playing surface.

Ray Kosey invoked an obscure rule from a 1923 edition of bocce ball rules entitled, "Officiali Bocci Balli Ruli." He maintains that bylaw 7, section 1, article 3 states, "If a player has to withdraw because of an injury, any non-playing player can take their place."

To make a long story short, Gotelaere/Kosey cruised through the loser's bracket to reach the championships against, you guessed it, Tom Hansen and Kosey's wife, Kris. Gotelaere/Kosey defeat Hansen/Kosey twice to "claim" the crown, but the title is disputed. I, Lance "Clarence Darrow" Boyle, present to you the evidence.

1. Hansen/Kosey played all of their matches together, reaching the championship game in undefeated fashion.

2. Urban/Gotelaere lost to Hansen/Kosey, 11-3, in a match that placed them in the loser's bracket.

3. Ray Kosey was chosen as Urban's replacement. He knew the course better than anyone and was in charge of making the brackets for the competition.


4. Since he was in charge of the bracketology, he was able to influence the time between matches for Hansen/Kosey. It is been reported by Kris Kosey that more than two hours passed prior to their championship match. Ray Kosey, being a former football coach at Northwestern, "iced the kicker."

5. Film footage of the event in Hansen's possession mysteriously disappeared.

6. Kris Kosey's request to take photos of the event was discouraged by her husband, Ray.

7. Referee Bob Coleman had to intervene when Gotelaere/Kosey complained about the darkness of the playing area. He determined the area was "fair" to both teams.

8. Urban/Kosey/Gotelaere does not qualify as a two-person team. If the "bash" were a two- or three-person event, they would be the winners.

9. Hansen/Kosey did not resort to bringing a "ringer" to aid in their effort to "take" a championship.

10. Ray, Jack and Lisa were seen prior to the commencement of competition on one of Kosey's grassy knolls, in earnest discussion.

11. How was Ray Kosey able to cite the rule from an obscure text with such accuracy unless a premeditated plan was in place?


As an unbiased observer (until I had to leave) and from the e-mail reports, phone interviews and extensive fact-checking performed, I, Lance Boyle, being of sound mind (watch it!) have arrived at the only logical conclusion:

"The true champions of the Eighth Annual Bocce Ball Bash, so graciously hosted by Ray and Kris Kosey and attended by some of the finest people I know, is the team comprised of Tom Hansen and Kris Kosey."

If this decision is ignored, the runners-up of the loser's bracket championship shall be declared the winners. Let's see, checking the records, the winners would be Lance Boyle and Tracy DeMeyer!

Thanks to all who made this a great, fun-filled day, especially Ray and Kris Kosey. My only hope is that the integrity of bocce ball has not been damaged by the attempted subterfuge.

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