I didn't think I would ever utter a sentence like that. Don't get me wrong, I like bowling. Once I get past the loud noise, cavernous environment, wearing other peoples shoes, and smoke - oh, right bowling alley's are smoke free now; well then I like bowling. I'm more of an outdoorsy kind of person. But, then something about the competition, it gets me all fired up. I walk in with a sort of, ho hum I-could-take-it-or-leave-it attitude, and then after the first 2 frames I'm hooked. Not that I'm any good mind you! I have had more (way more!!) than my fair share of gutter balls. Personally, I'm a fan of bumpers!
Maybe that's why it was such an educational experience for me tonight. You see tonight was our grand finale for bowling with our Young Athletes. We practiced for the last 7 weeks with real bowling balls and homemade pins at our usual venue at the Paragon Gymnastics. They are so generous to donate space for our athletes every week. However, the true effect of bowling is lost without the 'alley'. So tonight (insert drum roll here) we trekked on down to Leisure Lanes where the older Special O athletes practice every week. Our young athletes got (for some of them) their first chance to bowl in a real bowling alley. Sometimes our kids have sensory issues where flashing lights or loud noises are upsetting (that sounds familiar). This alley is great that they tone down the music early in the day, and the lights are up, and they don't have strobes or other flashing lights. The kids whooped and hollered just like any other folks - maybe we got a little bit more excited at our end of the alley, but hey, we were having a great time.
This was Ellie's 4th time in a bowling alley. However, this was the first time she played. In the past, she didn't know the game, and was probably bothered by those sensory things so she was more interested in running off. Tonight she stayed, sat in the seats, cheered on her team mates and took her turn. Every time she cheered and high fived whether she struck some pins or rolled a gutter ball. The excitement of the game: playing with friends, taking turns, sharing and enjoying everyone's company - that was the important stuff. Interestingly enough, the big kids (the older sibs of our young athletes, their friends, and a wonderful older friend to our young athletes who is super Special in his own way) those big kids, and our little kids - they got the same scores. So our abilities or our disabilities, when you come right down to it: they don't mean a thing. What we really have to ask ourselves is: did you have fun? did you make friends? would you want to do it all over again? And the answer is: Unequivocably, YES! I can't wait to put my feet in someone else's shoes again.