Interview with Dick Claeys

At ninety-two, Dick Claeys is the oldest active rolle bolle player in Iowa and something of a local legend. In the interview I conducted with him, he spoke about his ninety years of experience playing the game that his father brought over with him when he emigrated from Belgium in 1911. This interview was conducted on July 3rd and has been edited for brevity and clarity.

Rolle bolle and community

In reading the introduction to Generous Thinking by Kathleen Fitzpatrick, I was struck by the moment where she differentiates between the notion of community as evoking a “dangerous, mythical notion of organic unity” instead of a “form of solidarity, of coalition-building.” I agree with Fitzpatrick that the romanticized, fanciful understanding of community as something easy, spontaneous, and naturally occurring is destructive.