Unified bowling uniting Nebraska high school athletes

Local4 News at 10
Published: Nov. 7, 2023 at 10:49 PM CST
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - Special Olympics Unified Sports combines people with and without intellectual disabilities on sports teams for training and competition. In Hastings, the Tigers hosted a unified bowling tournament, including four teams.

“It’s really fun to me; it’s fun to get out of school most of the time, but it’s also fun. I love bowling personally, so I love being with other people that also like this sport as much as I do,” said Northwest bowler/partner Jimmie Bradley.

Sports bring people of all walks of life together, and unified bowling serves a dual purpose.

“It feels nice to be able to help them out so they’re not left out; it’s enjoyable,” Hastings bowler/partner Holden Jacobsen stated.

“I get to help kids out who just want to have fun on Wednesdays, and if these tournaments they’re having fun, so I’m having fun right alongside them, and I get to bring a smile to their face, which makes me happy,” Aurora bowler/partner Bradin Kennedy said.

On the other side of the spectrum, this also helps those who may have an intellectual disability cultivate new, long-lasting relationships.

“Making new relationships with my teammates is really inspiring to me because I always get really happy for myself that I have a good team that supports me, and I will support them,” Hastings unified bowler Marisa Stoltenberg said.

Participating in unified bowling isn’t about the wins or losses. It’s about friendships and spreading the love of the game, making it one of the state’s most inclusive sports.