Special Olympics BC – Langley athletes bowled their final night this past Friday in Aldergrove.
Fifty athletes, aged 18 to 70, bowled in teams – this time alongside their coaches – to celebrate another successful season.
Coach Greg Douglas has five years of experience under his belt as a certified trainer for the organization.
“As a coach my role is to ultimately better their game,” Douglas said, explaining that each coach assists in training six or seven athletes.
“We are all volunteers. No one here is paid,” Douglas said.
The bowling program commandeers 10 lanes at the Aldergrove bowling alley a few nights a week starting at 6 p.m. from October to June.
“We have 100 athletes split into two bowling nights,” Mondays and Fridays, Douglas said.
The alley teemed with parents, caregivers, coaches, and respite workers to assist their diverse roster of special needs athletes during the final night.
Most players attend programs during the day in place of “full time work,” Douglas said, their weekly night of bowling is a time to have fun with friends.
“They have such team spirit for each other. As soon as someone enters the alley it’s all hugs and love – they coach each other and give each other pointers on their game too,” Douglas added.
Head coach Barry Wright rotates players in five championship tournaments every year, so each athlete gets a chance to compete.
Provincial tournaments – like this year’s BC Special Winter Olympics in Vernon – occur every three years, with nationals to follow.
In February, 10 athletes travelled to Vernon to compete in various bowling competition categories individual high single, pins over average, pins over average in triple games and more.
The local contingent returned with silver medals.
Coach Douglas admitted to learning a lot from these determined athletes.
“They always find a way to adapt, conquer, and succeed in their performances,” Douglas said.
“And they don’t see age, race, gender, or disabilities – they see abilities. We could all learn a lot from them,” he concluded.
The winter league will be back up and running in October.