By Taylor Siebrass
The Mark held a bowling tournament November, 9th for special education students in the area. Players from Elkhorn High School, Elkhorn South High School, and Bennington attended. They start the league back up every year the first week in October until near the end of November, coming together and having fun since. The team bowls once a week for six weeks in various bowling alleys. This is the second year Elkhorn High School has had a team.
“The state created the unified bowling in schools, the schools then created the teams, and since I was a special education teacher and most of the kids I teach would be on the team, they asked if I could coach,” Coach Lindsey Struble said.
The team is made up of seventeen players, and the game is played a little bit differently. “Typically when we bowl, we bowl all ten frames,” Struble said. “The teams can be made up of five individuals, typically, it’s two athletes and three partners. The athletes are the students with a disability, and the partners are like mentors. Only three people bowl per game, so we have subs if you need a sub. An athlete will bowl frame one, an athlete or partner frame two, and a partner frame three,” Struble said.
Struble and Nuismer both said the team itself is not all that different from other school sports teams. “They have state, just like other sports,” sophomore bowling partner Sydney Nuismer said. “It’s like a normal league, they just get some helpers and they help kids who can’t always do it by themselves so they can get a friend group and they can get the feel of playing a sport and being on a team,” Nuismer said.
Nuismer said being part of the team opens doors and has many benefits. “It’s for fun, but they can also feel success in something because when you get a strike it’s a big deal, it’s fun,” Nuismer said.
Struble said the partnership between regular education students and special education students is a positive part of the team. “It’s an opportunity for some of our students with disabilities to participate in something within our school, where they can be successful and it also gives the opportunity for them to work with our regular education kids and for the regular education kids to work with our students with disabilities,” Struble said.
Nuismer said she joined the team because of a relative who has a disability. “My aunt has a disability, so that’s why I started having interest in it, and then I work in the SPED rooms during my study hall and after school,” she said.
Senior bowling partner Emily Perry has been on the team since it started. “It’s really fun,” Perry said of being on the team. I bowl with Rosco, who is in a wheelchair. He can’t use his hands so we have a ramp that we use and we set the ball on top of the ramp and he hits a button, and the ball goes.”
The coaches and partners said they encourage people to join the team, and it has grown tremendously from the first year it started. “We have a lot more people this year, so it’s more fun,” Perry said. “It helps the special needs kids boost their confidence.”