Cheers erupted throughout Golden Pin Lanes on Friday, Oct. 26, as high school students from the Coronado Area competed in bowling for the Special Olympics.
Twenty-seven teams participated in the events, from teams as small as eight athletes to teams of 100. The teams are all part of the Coronado Area, which starts in Casa Grande and moves south all the way to Nogales and Sierra Vista.
Each athlete and team is put into a division or heat that is based upon their abilities as athletes bowl a total of two games. Everybody received a ribbon or medal according to their results.
Coronado Area Director for over 11 years, Holly Thompson, said that the Special Olympics is all about the athletes and that nothing would be possible without volunteer help and sponsors.
“The life and blood of our organization is our volunteers,” said Thompson.
Volunteers coach and train the athletes for eight weeks until the Special Olympics takes place. Some of the key sponsors who provide practice for the athletes as well as competitions include: Tucson 500 Club, El Conquistador, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Geico, and others.
Susan Sharkey, a Special Olympics coach at Marana High School, said the Special Olympics teams practice like any other team at a high school.
“The whole status of being a high school team, I think, is important,” Sharkey said. “It’s good because they get to have the camaraderie and the competition and the fitness that goes along with Special Olympics.”
Now that the bowling season is over, Special Olympic athletes move onto training and preparing for the basketball season.