On Saturday afternoon, the Just 4 Fun bowling league held their first week of play at Sunset Lanes.
The league was started eight years ago by Pam Bell and Teresa Ketchell. Michelle King, who runs the District 11 Challenger baseball league, came on board last year to coach the league as well. Just 4 Fun, along with the Challenger league and a basketball league similar to the other two, is designed for children and young adults with special needs to be able to have fun with their friends and at the same time keeping their bodies and minds active.
Those with disabilities who are participants in the league meet every other weekend at Sunset Lanes through the end of February. The biggest part of the league for the kids, according to Bell, is how they are able to meet and hang out with their friends, some of which they have met through the bowling league. “We like to keep them busy all year around with a sport” said Bell, “This is their chance to come together and be active in a sport, and it gives them the chance to hang out with their pals.”
Bell acknowledged how accommodating that Sunset Lanes has been to allow the league to continue into its eighth season, “If it wasn’t for them, back when we started the league, it wouldn’t have grown to the numbers it has today. They’ve been very helpful in this whole process.”
When discussing with some of the participants about their favorite parts of the league, they echoed the sentiments of Bell and King. Loki Roberts, a young boy who has been involved with the league for the last few years, took his bowling very seriously. As he was being brought over for his interview, he mentioned how he would only have time for two questions because his turn to bowl was coming up. “There’s usually some strong players that we get to play with” said Roberts, “I had never been bowling before the bowling league, and I’ve gotten to make a few friends along the way.”
Before Loki ran off to take his turn, he talked about the banquet that Bell and King put on at the end of the league year to reward the players for the hard work they put in during the season. “We usually get trophies at the end” said Roberts, “I’ve got more trophies from this than the baseball league.”
Noah Phillips, another participant in the Just 4 Fun league, agreed with Loki’s sentiments about the league, “I just like to have fun and come hang out with my friends.”
All participants in the Just 4 Fun bowling league were given customized shirts with their names on them. Each player was designated into their own teams, usually grouped with their friends, and their shirts would match that of their teammates, a quick identifier of who is on what team for the league organizers.
Although the scores are kept on the screen above each lane, scores for the league are not tallied up after each days’ worth of competition. The kids, however, are very competitive. Next Saturday, Loki and Noah will meet back up with their friends for another round of the Just 4 Fun league, as they will every other Saturday until the end of February.
For Bell and King, as long as there are children who want to get out and have fun, they plan to keep all three of their leagues going throughout the year. “These kids tend to, like any other child, stay in their rooms, play on their computer, Xbox, or tablet” said King, “This helps them with their social skills, keeps them active and keeps them socializing.”
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT