My day at 2020 Special Olympics qualifier

I’ve made it no secret since I connected with my half-sister Pam that I’m also connected to Special Olympics bowling through her daughter, Becky, and that I’ve been able to join them most of the times she’s bowled the Special Olympics qualifier since the event moved to Westgate Lanes after the closing of AMF Taunton Lanes.

This year, however, they decided to only bowl the Saturday morning league at North Bowl, which was featured in this month’s issue of Action, as shared on the Facebook page. I still wanted to support the qualifier with my presence at Westgate, as I try to do for everything here. However, NEBA was also at East Providence Lanes this weekend, and, with some of the Westgate bowlers taking part in that, I was conflicted. I decided that it would be Aaron Major who would indirectly make the decision by his performance last night, with the odds actually favoring me going to NEBA by Aaron missing the squad cut and bowling the 12:30 squad today.

Aaron did make the cut, however, so I was at Westgate basically first thing this morning. Becky’s Special Olympics team is named Heller’s Angels, and I knew one of the coaches, Becky Dean, from seeing her with my family. I did eventually introduce myself to the other coaches, Jim and Susan (I didn’t get last names). The summary of the day appears on the Heller’s Angels Facebook page as the post at the top of this article, but I’ll follow with some more detail in the next paragraphs.

Not being tied to family this time allowed me to network a bit with the other Special Olympics groups at the qualifier, and I particularly sought out the ones that practiced at centers in my association. I was hoping to find either websites or Facebook pages to connect to, and succeeded with a few of those, which I liked as the association page when I got home.

Also, wanting to play up some of Westgate’s history, I was able to tell the more fortunate groups, including Heller’s Angels, that their bowlers were on our most famous pair of lanes, 47 & 48, which, of course, we’ve affectionately dubbed “Hakim’s pair”. I also texted about that to Pam, who told me she thought that was very cool.

Finally, by pure chance, one of Ed Roberts’ daughters, Rachel, seeing that I was wearing the jersey I wore at his Brockton Athletic Hall of Fame induction (more on that in a future post), introduced herself to me as one of the day’s volunteers, and also introduced me to her daughter, Carlee, who was also volunteering. We talked a bit throughout the day from that point.

Again, it was a great day, as I said in the Facebook post I chose to open the article with. This post’s “administrivia” was linking both the Heller’s Angels Facebook page and the Massachusetts Special Olympics website in the Local/New England sidebar list. I ran a Mass. Special Olympics fundraiser on Facebook for my last birthday and would like to do so again, particularly if I can earmark it for Heller’s Angels.

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