Being able to participate in group activities is a common occurrence that many people experience. People have dinners together, children attend birthday parties, families gather for reunions. People with special needs sometimes find these experiences overwhelming or feel left-out in such activities. One mother, Susan Bolig wanted her son, who is on the autism spectrum, to feel that he was a part of something.
Bolig decided to create the Strikers Bowling Team, a bowling team that has completed its ninth season with 57 players who have special needs. Boling told The Daily Item, “I just wanted to find an activity for children with special needs…I wanted them to feel like they were on a team.” The bowlers had received yellow t-shirts to show their collectiveness as a team while the parents wore blue t-shirts. The bowlers receive trophies every year and they have a pizza party to celebrate.
The team is composed of participants under the age of 21. Boling told The Daily Team, “I don’t care what their medical condition is and what their needs are,” she said. “They just have to be in school.” The first two years were difficult for Boling’s son due to the noise from the rolling of the bowling balls, the cheering, and the knocking over of pins. Boling found that the end lanes were quieter for her son and the team. Even with these hurdles, the kids experienced growth as individuals and as a team.
Miranda Morningstar, whose daughter is in the program, told The Daily Item, “It is a nice program…It’s a wonderful program. It gives all of them a chance to get out and have fun.” Many participants found this to be a great program because everyone was supportive, helpful and accommodating. Parents help out at the bowling alley because the team uses fourteen lanes and requires assistance and businesses have helped to contribute to the program, allowing no chargers to the participating families.
Keep on bowlin’!