Bowling Their Way to Success

Photo by Mykayla Walker

Students in the Life Skills program competed in the bowling Special Olympics on November 8 at Oil Bowl Lanes in Longview. Fourteen students competed and all won a bronze, silver or gold medal which qualified them to win free bowling balls, bags and shoes.

“Seeing these kids light up when they wins is the best part of my job,” special education teacher Lauren Backer said. “These kids have worked hard, and seeing their family members come out to support them builds their confidence.”

Teams were made out of students from different schools with each team consisting of 4 to 6 players. Volunteers were present to assist the players with any challenges the players might face when taking their turn.

“I got to see my sister truly enjoy herself and accomplish something she has worked hard to achieve,” sophomore Allison Somes said. “She played amazing, and I am so proud of her.”

Lindale players practiced for every Monday at Green Acres Baptist Church for 8 weeks before competing at the tournament. Special education teacher Christy Bateman coached the players and helped them to develop their bowling skills in preparation.

“My favorite thing is that I get 2nd place sometimes,” junior Abby Somes said. “Ms. Bateman taught me to get it straight to target in the middle.”

Awards for the event were presented to the players by local firefighters, and family members were encouraged come support their athletes. Special Olympics Texas is a year-round event, holding more than 300 competitions annually on area, regional and state levels.

“[I got] a ribbon,” Jacob Walls said. “I like beating everyone and to get strikes and I got a bowling bag. Coach Bateman is a little crazy.  She’s a good coach and makes it fun.”