Yesterday afternoon, I watched Kurt bowl. He has a two-handed throw and doesn’t use the holes in the ball, but it goes down the lane in a straight line, usually in the center. Sometimes, the ball would lose momentum at the end and veer off to the side, missing most of the pens. Other times, he would knock down eight or nine pens. And he picked up a few spares.
The event was a fundraiser for the group we belong to, BRIDGE for Youth with Disabilities, www.bridgeywd.org. We give those with disabilities a chance to be active and welcome in the community.
Kurt was one of the special bowlers on his team. There were also two university students and one high school student.
All 16 lanes were packed with bowlers for Bridge. The money gathering was done in the weeks before this event. The bowling was the party afterwards. The students, including Kurt, weren’t required to raise any money, although they could if they wanted to. The team captain, who was on the board, and another adult did the fundraising. I passed around a sheet at work and received several donations for Kurt to hand in.
Kurt didn’t want me to help him, so I backed off. Instead, a young man named Spencer made sure he knew when it was his turn and stood by him when Kurt bowled. Kurt was a serious bowler. When his turn came around, he got up, picked up his lime green ball, walked to the line, bent over and rolled the ball down the lane, and then stood by the ball return, tapping his foot while he waited.
After his second shot, Spencer and Kurt high fived. Kurt put his head down and hid his grin. I could see the pleasure on his face. He was just one of the guys, a rare occurrence for Kurt.
I know the university students are required to do a service project. There are many they can choose from, so choosing the bowl-a-rama tells me they are open to special needs students. Sure, they may have thought it sounded fun. That’s okay. Having fun and including my son says a lot to me. Even for a tiny moment, Kurt belongs. He’s accepted. That means a lot to me.