The lanes buzzed with competition, the air filled with cheers of triumph, as Parkway Bowl in El Cajon hosted the 2023 Bowling Championship on Saturday, August 26th.
This year’s event was truly exceptional, with athletes from all corners of Southern California converging to showcase their skills, determination, and passion for the game. It was a day filled with camaraderie, sportsmanship, and outstanding performances that will be etched in the memory of everyone who attended.
The weekend kicked off on Friday night with the athlete dance: San Diego Beach Party. The athletes got decked out in their finest beach attire and danced, enjoyed snacks, did crafts, engaged with an interactive photo booth, and celebrated being together with their fellow athletes and friends from both near and far.
The championship saw 352 SOSC athletes and Unified Sports athletes take to the lanes, each one demonstrating their dedication and prowess in the sport of bowling. These talented athletes, representing a diverse array of backgrounds and skill levels, came together to compete and celebrate their shared love for the game.
Behind every great athlete stands a dedicated coach, and this year, we were fortunate to have 122 coaches guiding and supporting the bowlers. Their unwavering encouragement played a pivotal role in shaping the athletes into the champions they aspire to be. Two coaches were also honored during the opening ceremony as the 2023 Bowling Coaches of the Season: Sheila Lawton and Patricia Hendrickson
Sheila Lawton, a seasoned SOSC coach from Corona, embodies unwavering dedication and passion for bowling. With a competitive bowling background and Unified Partner experience, she imparts relatable coaching. Sheila’s extensive sport knowledge enriches practices, balancing fun with challenges. She likes to have fun by even “quizzing” and “giving homework” to athletes during practice, making learning enjoyable. Her commitment places SOSC athletes at the forefront, advocating for quality education and training. Sheila’s recent USA Games participation as a Unified Partner, achieving Gold in doubles, stands as a testament to her inspirational presence.
Patricia Hendrickson’s exceptional leadership and contributions to Ventura County shone brightly during the 2023 Bowling Season. Her dedication to SOSC programs, along with her coaching and mentoring, have been pivotal in guiding athletes and coaches alike. As Head Coach and Local Program Coordinator, Pat’s mentorship, recruitment of volunteers, and commitment to member growth have left a lasting impact, both on and off the field.
127 Volunteers & 40 LETR
The championship would not have been possible without the selfless dedication of volunteers. This year, 127 volunteers contributed their time and energy to ensure the event ran smoothly. Their tireless efforts were instrumental in making the day a resounding success. Also, 40 local law enforcement officers showed their unwavering commitment to supporting the athletes, participating in the opening ceremonies and presenting medals during the event.
1074 Games Played
The spirit of competition was awe-inspiring, with a grand total of 1074 games played throughout the day. These included both traditional Special Olympics athlete games and Unified Sports games where SOSC athletes and community partners competed together. Frame by frame, the athlete showcased their skills and determination in pursuit of victory. The camaraderie on display, with competitors cheering for each other’s strikes and spares, truly embodied the spirit of sportsmanship.
352 Medals & Ribbons
Recognition and celebration were at the forefront of the championship, as medals and ribbons were awarded to the athletes. A total of 80 gold, 65 silver, and 56 bronze medals and 151 ribbons were awarded! These symbols of achievement serve as a testament to the hard work and dedication that each participant invested in their journey to the championship.
Lunches & Hydration Station
Outside the alley, we saw the lunch pavilion where the Knights of Columbus were hard at work preparing and serving 625 lunches for the athletes and volunteers. Meanwhile, Healthy Athletes hosted a Hydration Station. Here, they not only quenched thirst but also provided valuable insights to attendees about the vital importance of staying properly hydrated.
A Grand Celebration
The event was a resounding success. It was a day where the love for bowling brought people from all walks of life together, and in that unity, we found the true essence of the sport. Congratulations to all the athletes for their remarkable performances and to everyone who contributed to making this championship a memorable event. We look forward to seeing the athletes continue to excel and inspire in the next sports season!