Special athletes show off bowling skills
The News Observer - 3/28/2018
One hundred and thirty students from various schools gathered March 28 at Fannin Lanes to kick off the 2018 Special Olympics in Fannin County.
Bowling balls flew down the lanes knocking over pins as Special Olympic students practiced getting strikes and spares.
The first area event for the year started off in the morning hours with participants from Blue Ridge Elementary School, Fannin and Gilmer County middle schools and Clear Creek Middle School.
After the first round of participants received their medals and ate lunch, the second round of competitors from Fannin and Gilmer County high schools and Mineral Springs Center entered the lanes to perform.
Blue Ridge Elementary School Vice Principal Gini Bell said all the schools participating bring the groups beforehand to practice. The purpose is not just to bring them in for the event, but to encourage physical fitness and learning the sport.
While the younger students practice rolling the bowling ball and experience the joy of knocking down the pins with friends, Bell said the older kids actually learn how to hold the ball properly and what a spare and strike require.
"Being in a rural area, we don't have many opportunit ies for our individuals with disabilities. Providing them an outlet to be social and show off their athletic ability is vital," Bell said.
The smiles, high fives, hugs, squeals and comradery provides special moments from the chance for those in the Special Olympics to show off their talents and spend time with friends.
When asked why it's so important to offer these opportunities to the disabled population, Bell said, "So many times people see what they can't do, and this allows them to shine and show what they can do."
A special parade is among the plans for the kids to participate in an Olympic torch type celebration followed by the kickoff of the track and field events Wednesday, May 16, at the Fannin County High School track.