Special Olympians find bowling right up their alley
Members of the Pinkerton Academy Special Olympics team and their coaches rallied at the start of Saturday's regional bowling tournament at Park Place Lanes in Windham. (APRIL GUILMET)
Jessica Spencer, 32, a member of the Derry Timberwolves team, reset her pins during Saturday afternoon's regional Special Olympics bowling tournament at Park Place Lanes in Windham.april guilmet
About 70 developmentally challenged athletes, ranging in age from 8 to 90, participated at the Windham tournament, including teams and individual athletes from Derry, Windham, Salem, Pelham, Manchester and surrounding towns.
Eric Bodenrader, a coach for the Derry Timberwolves team, said the bowling tournament is one of the more popular events.
"They're definitely ready," Bodenrader said at the start of the games.
Gardner's daughter is now in her early 30s and is no longer competing in the Special Olympics, but Gardener found she couldn't stay away long.
Gardner said, the organization's athletic leadership program, where athletes are trained to serve as program ambassadors, is particularly close to her heart.
Kerry Morency, now 38, began competing in the games when she was 12 and is now an athletic leader for the program.
"It's all about competing, and I think more people should try it," Morency said of the Special Olympics.
"Just get out there and try your best," Morency said. "You may just get a medal when you're at it."