A ‘wild night’ in dealing strikes to autism

 Alfredson’s edges Sheriff’s Office for traveling trophy

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

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ROCKINGHAM — Mallory Gilmer had never before rolled a bowling ball down a lane in all of her 9-plus years.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Jasey Braddock, 3, of Rockingham, let's the bowling ball fly - er, crawl - down the lane Monday night at Striker's Bowling Center.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Jasey Braddock, 3, of Rockingham, let’s the bowling ball fly – er, crawl – down the lane Monday night at Striker’s Bowling Center.

The Hope Mills youth addressed that shortcoming Monday night on lane 12 during the 4th annual Strike out Autism event at Striker’s Bowling Center in Rockingham. Nearly 100 bowlers participated in the event, coordinated by the Richmond County chapter of the Autism Society of North Carolina and staffed by volunteers from the Richmond Service League.

Mallory’s first attempt knocked down nine of 10 pins. She was elated and couldn’t hind the ear-to-ear smile on her face. She picked up the spare on her second roll of the evening.

“I really like it,” Mallory said as she returned to the bench. “I want to do it again with my parents.”

Emily Tucker liked the sound of that. Tucker, president of the local Autism Society chapter, said Monday presented “a record high” in bowlers and she estimated the event raised nearly $1,200 — more than two-thirds of the $1,700 required to send a child with autism to Camp Royall in Pittsboro.

Nicholas Glaze, on the opposite side of the bowling alley on lane 1, was a more experienced bowler — and it showed. The young man celebrated a strike with high-fives all around.

“Did you see that,” Glaze inquired of anyone within earshot. “I got a strike.”

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

As the three-hour bowling benefit wrapped up and wound down, Tucker summed up the 90-plus bowlers and at least that many spectators as a “wild night.” She said the event is normally staged in April in conjunction with Autism Awareness Month. However, with school being out, plenty of youngsters were at the lanes.

Tucker noted that the team comprised of Alfredson’s Import Repair edged out the bowlers from the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office to take home the traveling trophy. Tucker called the rivalry “a friendly competition,” with both teams making an annual request to bowl on the lane immediately beside the other.

Jasey Braddock, of Rockingham, was a little less competitive. The 3-year-old struggled — mightily, in some cases — to get the bowling ball to the start of the lane. She dropped it and often a minute or more went by as her ball inched down the lane. Jasey wasn’t afraid of giving herself a second chance on any given effort; when in doubt, the barefoot bowler kicked the ball — sometimes when it was already several feet down the lane — to help things along.

“It’s her first time,” explained her mother, Jamie Knight.

Submitted photo Employees of Big K Propane, in Rockingham, united in the Strike Out Autism bowling event by wearing bright orange T-shirts.

Submitted photo
Employees of Big K Propane, in Rockingham, united in the Strike Out Autism bowling event by wearing bright orange T-shirts.

Chances are it wouldn’t be her last. She was having too much fun.

Teams formed from, among others, Richmond Community College, the Tucker family, Discovery Place KIDS, Maness Tire fielded two teams, the Blue Crew, Modern Woodmen of America, Greg Henson and friends, Sonic Strikers and Church of God of Prophecy. Employees of Big K Propane fully integrated into the evening’s festivities, which includes T-shirt and food sales, by donning custom day-glo orange T-shirts.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

 

 

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