Growing a Tradition with the Knights of Columbus' Winter Bowling
By Sara Porcaro | February 18, 2020
Photo courtesy of Cliff Tyler.
Upon stepping into Old Mountain Lanes, one hears it instantly: the dull thud of the bowling ball against wood floors, followed by the rippling clatter of pins against the lanes. Lights flash from the games lining the arcade area, all pink and green against marbled carpet, and the low buzz of chatter from dozens of guests hums in between the bowlers' shots. Many of those guests are friends, parents, and members of the Knights of Columbus, who weave between bowlers with plates of sweets, smiling and cheering on the players. It's another year of the Knights of Columbus free bowling event, hosted for individuals supported by Perspectives, and the cheer is infectious as veteran bowlers and new attendees alike come together.
For quite a few years, the Narragansett Knights of Columbus have been partnered with Perspectives. The local organization, which is always looking to give back to the community, saw an opportunity to spread joy and bring that community together by inviting individuals supported by the agency to get out and have fun with everyone. As a result, what started as a small bowling event with fifteen attendees has since ballooned into a well-known and warm affair, with seventy-five bowlers filling the lanes, their laughter and conversation cushioning the space between the bowlers' well-aimed shots.
"It's an event where everyone can participate," says Grand Knight Joe Robenhymer, "and the best part is seeing everyone having such a good time. All those smiles make it worth it."
GEARING UP FOR A GREAT GAME
Among the guests of this year's bowling event were Joyce, Leland, Mike, Chris, Katie, and many, many more--some of whom, like Joyce, have been bowling with Special Olympics for years and love getting a chance to play one of their favorite games with their friends. After hearing about the Knights of Columbus bowling event from Perspectives' Activities Supervisor Joni Lonczak so many years ago, Joyce has been a frequent attender, and she loves every minute of it.
"I like to hang out with all of my friends and get involved in the community through these events," Joyce says, "and I'm really proud of my bowling skills, too. The Knights of Columbus are a great group, and they support all kinds of good causes; it's so much fun to be here!"
Sitting at one table is Mary, whose daughter Katie receives supports from Perspectives. She watches the bowlers with a smile on her face, happy to see everyone having fun together, and happy to see such a high spirit of inclusion running through the local southern Rhode Island community--a spirit that wasn't quite available in their former home some few states away. Through Perspectives, and community partners like the Knights of Columbus, Katie is thriving--working at the public library, enjoying her time with friends at the bowling alley, and building relationships with new people she meets.
"It makes you feel so good, seeing everyone get together and participating," says Mary as she watches the bowling alley. "Katie's doing so well [in Rhode Island], and the community really good about making others feel included; the Knights of Columbus does especially great work here."
This event is now one of four that the Knights of Columbus host through their partnership with Perspectives throughout the year: after the bowling event comes the yearly Spring Fling dance, then the August fishing trip on the water, and a night of cards and bingo in Newport thereafter. All events are always free and open to individuals who want to join, whether to spend time with their current friends or make new ones over afternoons of fun and prizes, like the ones won by the bowlers. Awards for Most Enthusiastic, Highest Score, Most Courageous, and Best Gutterball all earned a purple-ribboned medal and purple-and-gold trophy, ending the day on a high note for everyone--including Jennifer, who was a new attendee this year.
"I've never been to this event before, but I had such a great time bowling with everyone," Jennifer signs. "And then I was told I won an award, and I was so happy; it's the first time I've won something at an event like this! The Knights of Columbus are great, really nice people, and I'll definitely come again next year."
So brings another fantastic winter afternoon to a close--and Perspectives is grateful to all the incredible work the Knights of Columbus do to bring the community together! With all the wonderful photos that came from this cheerful Sunday afternoon, courtesy of Cliff Tyler and various other attendees, it's an event that we'll be able to look back on with fondness.
A big thank you to the Knights of Columbus for another great bowling event, and we look forward to the next get-together in the spring!