Unified bowling makes its way to Section VI

Thirteen schools competing in inaugural season

Newfane, N.Y. (WKBW) - When Corrie Murray watches her son Matthew bowl, it's so rewarding.

"He wasn't gonna walk on time, talk on time, and now to see him out here bowling," she said. "It's something as a parent of a special education child, I never thought would come true."

Matthew is one of many students who are making their dreams possible and it's all thanks to unified bowling, the newest sport to take over Section VI.

"Unified sports is about good sportsmanship, having fun and making new friends," Matthew said.

A unified sports team gives kids identified with some type of intellectual disability an opportunity to play an organized sport.

"The kids are awesome," said Newfane head coach Justin Balcom. "Just hanging out and having a good time, that's what it's all about."

Unified basketball has been around for a short time and when it came time to adding another sport to the mix, bowling seemed like the perfect fit.

"The interest is huge here," said Douglas Ames, Newfane Athletic Director. "The parents and the kids, they just love it and they jumped all over it."

Thirteen schools make up the Section VI Unified bowling league.

From as far North as Newfane to as far East as Akron to as far South as Salamanca, teams compete alongside and get to know each other a little better.

"This kind of brings us together and we get to know them and they get to know us, said bowling teammate Caitlyn Miller. "We see them in the hallway and we can be like, oh hey, we now know each other and we're friends and it's just nice."

"To watch their reaction when the fans are cheering and clapping, it's just unbelievable," Corrie Murray added. "I get emotional about it because it's that special, it's that exciting."

Everyone who participates will be competing at the Varsity level which means everyone will earn their own varsity letter and jacket.

Ames said they're also looking at adding other unified sports like volleyball, cross country or golf sometime in the near future.

 

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