Last Sunday Boo participated in his first state level Special Olympics meet. Over the summer we participated in softball which he was so so about. This fall we did bowling, which he loved! He does ramp bowling with his PCA, A. Ramp bowling is actually harder than it looks. One has to line up the ramp and push the ball with one hand while holding onto the ramp with the other. Boo needed a lot of hand over hand practice at first but as the fall went on I could see him gaining both skill and confidence.
The meet was last Sunday in Lakeville. Boo was scheduled to bowl at 9:00 in the morning. Like any teen boy, he loves his sleep so I did not know how he would do with being routed out of bed early on a weekend. He does however, love A, so he was willing to get out of bed for her. We loaded up the car with treats, the Ipad, extra clothes and anything we thought might be useful and headed out. Once we got there we found that the place was busy but not overwhelming. We got in a little practice and found that this particular lane did not have the nasty curve that our usual lane had. There were some preliminary announcements and the national anthem. Boo stood for the anthem but for reasons known only to him, sang along making pterodactyl noises. Whatever, it made him happy.
Boo did not seem spooked about being in a new place and bowled really well. His highest score in practice was an 80 and that is what he bowled in our first game. In his second game he bowled a 98! I was amazed. I was also very touched by how helpful all of the volunteers were. After our two games all of the athletes were taken into a different room with a podium. I was further amazed when Boo was awarded a gold medal. He stood on the podium with A to have the medal hung around his neck. He looked a little surprised but handled it fine.
Special Olympics gave all the athletes a free meal pass but by then it was getting more crowded and busy. There was a McDonalds just across the parking lot and we figured that Boo would be much happier going there and having fries, so off we went. As we came in, the breakfast menu was still up. Would I be able to get Boo his beloved fries? I asked the teen behind the counter if it were too early to get french fries. He gave me and Boo (who was proudly wearing his medal around his neck) a beautiful smile and said, “Ma’am, if you can wait two minutes I will get you and your son some fries.” I thanked him profusely. Several minutes later the three of us were at table happily eating fries. Boo seemed very pleased with himself.
Now we are between sports for a bit. Winter sports are either floor hockey or skiing, neither of which I can see Boo enjoying. However, A is taking him swimming and weight lifting at least once a week and his swimming is improving by leaps and bounds. In the spring we will give competitive swimming a try. I know that Boo really enjoyed his time bowling. He will often go to the communication part of his Ipad and make it say, “Special Olympics, bowling.” He will also ask for A, as she was the one that got him into the sport. Though the season is over we will continue to bowl off and on. It is something Boo truly enjoys and a nice way to pass the time on a cold or snowy afternoon. To anyone out there who has a child on the spectrum or a child with special needs, I highly recommend you give Special Olympics a try. I never thought that Boo would be interested in an organized sport, but once again my boy surprised me. Little by little he is finding his tribe.