Special Olympians enjoy bowling

Published 6:35 pm Tuesday, August 28, 2012

WALKING THROUGH THE BEARCAT TUNNEL, with BHS cheerleaders applauding them, was thrilling for those taking part in the Special Olympics bowling event held Saturday morning at the Langston-Gray Bowling Center.|Submitted photo

Every lane at the Langston-Gray Bowling Center was filled with smiling people on Saturday morning, as about 50-60 adults participated in an event sponsored by the Decatur County Special Olympics.

It was the third annual Special Olympics bowling event for adults with developmental disabilities, but perhaps the most fun to date, said Jim Beck, a member of the local Special Olympics’ board of directors.

The Bainbridge High School Bearcats’ new inflatable tunnel, which football players run through onto the field on Friday nights, had been borrowed for Saturday morning’s event. As the participants arrived, they walked through the tunnel into the bowling center, as BHS junior varsity cheerleaders cheered and clapped for them.

Email newsletter signup

“It was really a thrill for them to come through the tunnel and see everyone waiting inside for them,” Beck said. “We really appreciate the cheerleaders for coming out to help make it special.”

Then it was time for three hours worth of bowling, refreshments and friendship. Although all of the center’s lanes had special bumpers set up along the gutters, many of the bowlers didn’t need them, as their balls flew down the lanes on a straight and true path toward the pins.
“I always enjoy watching the participants have a good time,” said Pat Harrell, chairman of the Decatur County Special Olympics Committee.

“There’s lots of smiling and talking because they love being together and seeing their friends. And of course, the bowling is always a lot of fun.”

A number of volunteers were present to share in the fun and assist any bowlers who needed help carrying or rolling the ball, or making sure everyone had something to drink.

One of the volunteers was Kelsey Andrews, a Bainbridge High School junior who became involved with Special Olympics through the Interact Club at BHS, which is affiliated with the Bainbridge Rotary Club.

Each of the participants received a ribbon for competing and a T-shirt bearing the Special Olympics logo and motto. Every Special Olympics event begins with the participants reciting the motto of, “Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Anyone who would like to work with Special Olympics in the future can contact Debbie Strickland, Special Olympics volunteer leader, at (229) 400-5282.