Durham hosts bowling tournament for Special Olympic athletes

Over 900 athletes put their skills to the test while competing in NC's State Bowling Championship Sunday.
December 8, 2013 5:18:10 PM PST
More than 900 athletes put their skills to the test while competing in North Carolina's State Bowling Championship Sunday.

Two bowling alleys hosted the Special Olympics Eastern Division Competition, including Village Lanes in Durham.

Bowler Jacob Melcher's average is around 180 a game, although he has been known to bowl well over 200, and has even beaten his coach.  

"I learned all my techniques from my coach. He's great. Sometimes he's a little bit cocky, but sometimes I'm the same way," said Melcher.

Coach Matthew Kennedy first introduced an initially reluctant Melcher to the sport 12 years ago.

"When I suggested it, he made a face like, I don't want to go bowling, and said who bowls? So I said, you know, I have one rule. Just go and try it, and if you like it, we'll stay and bowl more. And after he bowled several games, I couldn't pull him out of the bowling alley," said Kennedy.

Besides forming bonds with their coaches, the athletes also form friendships with each other, and through competition, they are able to show off the results of all their hard work.

For those athletes who got gold at Sunday's games, they now become eligible to compete at the national championships.

However, more important than the medals is the experience itself and the lessons it teaches the athletes.

"His [Melcher's] confidence alone, the ability to feel like he can bowl with anyone where none of his disabilities set him apart from anyone else," said Kennedy.

"I love Special Olympics. Special Olympics are so wonderful," added Melcher.

Village Lanes was one of the two locations hosting the Eastern State Championship.

Athletes competing in doubles and team bowling competed at AMF Durham Lanes.

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