You don’t need to have perfect vision to bowl a strike. The Western DuPage Special Recreation Association, or WDSRA, gathered at Fox Bowl in Wheaton to start off a bowling program for those with visual impairments.
NCTV’s Carolyn Portner has more on what this organization is doing in their spare time.
Pat Rynne recently laced up his bowling shoes for the first time in 25 years. He has been living with his impairment for this whole life. Rynne and a group of bowlers say with their impairments they must rely on other senses to play the game.
“So it’s like anything in life, if you don’t see it you listen to it, says Rynne, “you use your other senses, and they are not better than a sighted person’s you just have to pay attention to what you are presented with.”
With the help of railings the players feel their way to the start of the lane. They then must listen to the sound of the pins falling to figure out how many pins they hit. Some bowlers chose to use bumpers to avoid gutter balls, while others chose to rely on their other senses.
WDSRA has offered bowling programs for the past 35 years, but this is the first adapted bowling opportunity for those with visual impairments. The idea for this athletic event came from WDSRA participant, Janine Schlimgen.
Schlimgen says, “A light bulb went off in my head about bowling that it would be a fun thing to do. There is obviously some limits to being visually impaired and this is a way to kinda test those limits and get out and do what anyone else can do.”
Athletic manager at WDSRA commented, “It’s just a great way to let them be apart of something that they may have not been able to be apart of before.”
I stepped into some bowling shoes and experienced what the bowlers felt during every frame of the game. So with a blindfold on, I held on to the railing to feel my way to the start of the lane and listened for my ball to hit the lane.
Although it was uncomfortable, it was a fulfilling feeling. I even managed to hit a few pins.
Pat Rynne, Janine Schlimgen, and the other bowlers all had their fair share of successful frames during the game, and plenty of cheers with friends.
The program will run for eight weeks, every Saturday from 12:30-2pm at Fox Bowl in Wheaton.
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