Last summer, A League of Our Own’s inaugural event kicked off with a baseball tournament with 17 special needs children taking to the pre T-ball fields at Cole Heights Park and more than 40 volunteers helped.
Besides baseball, when Emily Bush — league creator and owner of Fun to Functional — first began the program, she included other sports in which these children could participate.
Bush organized a group of 18 children at Town and Country Lanes for a bowling tournament 6 p.m. Tuesday that will continue through the end of the month.
“We have three bowlers per team and each group gets to come up with a team name for the event,” Bush said. “We have been fortunate enough to have a large number of volunteers to come in and help us with these events. Because of that all 18 bowlers who signed up got to have their own buddies.”
“Buddy” is the term Bush coined for people who help children take part in activities like baseball, basketball or bowling.
Buddies are mentors and personal cheerleaders and the experience is rewarding for both the child and the buddy.
“Hearing the awesome laughter and seeing all of those beautiful smiles on all of these precious kids made me so thankful that Emily was put into our lives,” volunteer Crystal Edwards said. “She just does so much for these precious children.”
A week into the tournament the league had 15 bowlers, but by Tuesday the number increased to 18, bringing the number of teams to six.
“We have bowlers from Altus, Mangum, Duke, Olustee, and Hollis,” Bush said. “We have also had 19 volunteers show up to help out in every way they can. It has been such a wonderful experience and to see the families get involved with these kids and everybody who shows up to help out, it has just been a great experience. Everyone leaves with a smile.”
The tournament continues 6 p.m. Jan. 24 and the children are slated to play the final games Jan. 31.
Reach Ryan Lewis at 580-482-1221, ext. 2076.