Special Olympians have special time bowling

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 10, 2005

At the Franklin Bowling Center Sunday evening, Tina Melle picked up a small, orange rock-solid ball and looked at its 10 white enemies. A resident of the Presbyterian Home of Family Services in Zuni, the 29-year-old was preparing to launch a ball down the alley, and the pins were looking scared.

They had reason; moments later, Melle stepped forward and gunner her ball down the lane. Seconds later, pins were flying, her friends were cheering, and an ‘X’ on the electronic scoreboard marked the spot of a strike.

&uot;I’ve gotten a lot of strikes,&uot; she said after a couple of high-fives. &uot;I just like getting strikes!&uot;

Email newsletter signup

The weekly program is part of the local Special Olympics program, as rollers from across the area gather at the facility at 6 p.m. on Sundays to show off their athleticism – and solidarity behind each other.

As his ball twisted away from the gutter and into the five-pin, eight-year veteran Chris Clark made a new group of pins drop.

&uot;I have fun meeting different friends,&uot; he said. &uot;I’ve made a lot of new friends.&uot;

Though his six-foot-plus muscular build makes him look more suited for the basketball court, Peter Curry’s perfectly content at the lanes.

&uot;I wish I could come out here all day, every day,&uot; he said. &uot;I’d like to bowl all the time with my friends.&uot;

With the help of a Zuni attendant, Mark Babb rolled his wheelchair to the edge of the lane. She handed him a track, and he placed his ball at the top and rolled it down, on the way to the pins.

&uot;This is fun,&uot; said Babb, afflicted with multiple sclerosis. &uot;I like it when I get strikes.&uot;

Watching her son Kerry roll his own personalized ball, Lynn Robinson talked about the program’s beginnings.

&uot;We started bringing kids her about a month ago,&uot; said Robinson, whose son is a former Zuni resident. &uot;I knew a little something about bowling, so I offered to help with the program.&uot;

Participants like Sandra Smallfoot are learning more every week; she closed out a game by striking out twice.

&uot;That’s the first time I’ve ever had two strikes in a row!&uot; she said, smiling widely and clapping wildly. &uot;That felt great! I’m proud of myself.&uot;

For more information, e-mail Robinson at Lynnsuffolk@aol.com.