Events help athletes feel ‘special’

Posted on 27 October 2011 by LeslieM

Deerfield Beach’s James Muir rolls a strike during the recent Area Fall Classic Special Olympics bowling competition at Sawgrass Lanes in Tamarac. Photo by Gary Curreri

By Gary Curreri

Deerfield Beach’s James Muir surveys his shot and lets the bowling ball loose. As it rolls down the alley, he coaxes the shot with his body until the ball strikes the pins and nine fall.

He gives a thumbs-up sign and walks back to retrieve the ball from the return and lets the ball fly again. He knocks down the final pin and gets his spare as his parents, William “Sandy” and Susan, sitting behind him, exchange high fives with their son.

Muir, 21, was one of 900 athletes competing in the Area Fall Classic Special Olympics bowling competition recently at Sawgrass Lanes in Tamarac.

“It’s great,” said Sandy Muir, a longtime high school basketball coach and guidance counselor, whose son has been in the Broward County Special Olympics for more than 10 years. “It is real beneficial for him. This is really our social life.”

James Muir has also been involved in basketball, swimming and golf. However, he likes basketball and bowling the most.

“I look at the pins,” said Muir, who is also a member of the Tamarac Bulldogs, special needs program. “I think about the approach with the ball in the middle and hit the pins straight.”

“This is a lot of fun,” he added. “It is good to bowl. It is important to get a good score and, to do that, you have to be professional. You have to concentrate.”

Muir’s father said his son enjoys the different social activities that the Bulldogs offer.

“He has always been pretty social,” the elder Muir said. “I think all of the activities are good for him. They have dances … arts and crafts, and this has really helped him because he has a whole network of friends.”

Sandy Muir said it is also a great opportunity for the parents to meet people who have the same interest that they do.

“It’s different because he is competitive and he wants to win, but it is not life and death,” said Sandy.

“While he is doing it, he’s competitive; but when’s he’s done, he’s done. He forgets all about it.”

James agreed: “I have made a lot of friends. I like the dances too. I dance with my girlfriend. I am going to keep doing this for 10 years.”

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