Bowlers at rehab center vie for title

Lynn Davidson/Staff
Marjorie Allen watches her bowling ball strike the pins.

WARRENTON, Ga. --- They waited anxiously to hear the results, some of them even calling out, "What was my score?"


Every week, some residents of Warrenton Health and Rehabilitation Center gather in the lobby of the center for a bowling tournament. Wednesday, the winner was announced.

"Richard Cason is the champion for the year. With five wins, he's won more games than anybody this year," said Marcia Harden, a nurse assistant who volunteers her time to bowl with the residents.

About 10 residents compete against each other every week. The winner of each week's game gets to keep a trophy in his or her room all week, and then gets to be the first bowler in the next week's tournament. Each December, Mrs. Harden tallies the scores for the year and declares the yearly champion.

"I think it's a cool little program," Administrator Chette Kendrick said. "It's awesome that they fixed it so the residents could bowl and they really enjoy it. So, it's an awesome little thing."

Mrs. Harden began the bowling league at the health center in February 1991, and has visited the center almost every week since then. She joined the staff as a CNA two years ago, and continues to come during her free time to set up bowling.

The lobby is transformed into a bowling alley with one lane consisting of a long strip of carpet marked with arrows.

Mrs. Harden sets up pins at the end of the lane. She then assists the bowlers at the other end as they place a regulation-sized rubber bowling ball on a free-standing chrome ramp and push it into rolling action.

The ramp was made by the late Johnny Smith, whose daughter, Susan Harwell, is the financial controller at the center.

Ms. Harwell said her father owned a welding shop, and she told him that the residents tried bowling, but were having problems.

She asked him if he could make something that would enable a person in a wheelchair to bowl.

"The beds here used to have chrome side rails, and he used those rails to make a ramp," Ms. Harwell said. "It worked really good and I think it's great that they still get so much use out of it."