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October 11, 2005

Deaf Bowlers Share Signs and Spares

From: KGMB9 - Honolulu,HI,USA - Oct 11, 2005

Julia Norton-Dennis -

It's league day at Waialae Bowl. For the girls in green, it was a struggle to get here, but well worth it.

This is the first time the Hawaii Center for the Deaf and the Blind has a team in the Oahu Interscholastic Association.

"[For] a lot of them, it's the first time bowling," said school principal Sydney Dickerson. "Trying to figure out the scoring and all of the rules and regulations involved in being in an OIA sport has been a challenge, but they really stepped up, and the coaches."

Only half of the Center's team - the girls - is bowling this day. The boys bowl on another day. But all the students have two things in common: they are hearing-impaired and they share a love for the sport.

"We're real positive and support each other. We work as a team," signed 14-year-old team member Alexis Pokipala.

As with any team, these girls often look to their coaches for guidance and the coaches are proud of their progress.

"Yes definitely, from the first time we started to now, we see a big improvement," said Coach Steve Hanai.

On this day, they're up against the girls from Kalaheo High School. Seventeen-year-old Marcka Martin is a determined bowler who enjoys the challenge of being in a league.

"When we first started, I was a little bit nervous because it was our first time. We had to get used to how to be in a league and how to play in the games," Martin signed.

And they make friends along the way.

"Now it's fun because people look at us, and they've never seen a deaf team before, and they see our hands flying and signing going on, they're interested," Martin signed, "They ask us, 'What's that sign?' So, we're teaching people different signs, they're picking up some signs and getting used to us being in the league."

From gutter balls to picking up a spare, it will always be a team effort.

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