Challenger seeks bowlers for new league

League aimed at special needs kids to begin in Jan.

WOODSTOCK – In the summer, Lois Emrich chased a child around a diamond. This winter, the grandmother wants to slow things down a touch.

Emrich, of Woodstock, was the catalyst to roll Woodstock’s Challenger baseball league into a bowling league for special needs children. Organizers are aiming to start an 8-week Sunday afternoon bowling league by late January.

It’ll take place at Kingston Lanes, 1330 S. Eastwood Drive, Woodstock.

Some details are yet to be determined, but the tentative plan is to assign one “buddy” to about three special needs children at each lane, a change from the one-for-one ratio during summer baseball that will be made mainly because of overcrowding concerns.

Emrich, who has been involved in the bowling programs at Jacobs, Dundee-Crown and Marengo high schools, had helped out with the Challenger league over the summer.

“Being a 70-year-old person, I foolishly said that if they needed more buddies for baseball, I’d be available,” Emrich said. “It was a great experience, but I realized I had some limitations as far as movement is concerned.”

As a coach and volunteer at various high schools and more recently with youngsters, Emrich said she’s tried to put an emphasis on including all kids.

“I made it a point to take kids who didn’t fit in,” she said. “That was as important to me as having a winning team.

“They felt good about themselves.”

Rochelle Donahue, who directs the Challenger baseball league, said they’ve put the word out about bowling to children in that league and two surrounding special needs leagues. Several have said they’re interested.

“We have a decent amount of kids already,” she said.

To sign up, contact Donahue at rochelledonahue@comcast.net.

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