Aside from avoiding the gutters and those troublesome 7-10 splits, one of the hardest things in bowling--at least for some novice players--is finding the right ball to use.

For certain bowlers, if the finger holes are the right size, the ball might be too heavy. Find the right weight--and now the holes are too small.

Spare Time Colchester, however, recently became proactive in assisting local seniors with that conundrum--creating accommodations to make their bowling experience more enjoyable.

Avid bowler Don Lorraine, a 93-year-old resident of Essex’s Maple Ridge Memory Care, was presented with two adaptive balls Feb. 13 during the facility’s monthly trip to the lanes. Spare Time director of operations Mike Corley did the work himself--using a drill machine in the former pro shop next door to expand holes on a pair of bowling balls. He made the adjustments to both an 8-pound and a 10-pound ball--dropping some weight from the 16-pound ball that Lorraine used to use.

Corley then passed off the orange pieces of equipment to Lorraine, but the other residents were excited to get their hands on them as well.

“Next week I’m going to drill some more, because all the men are using the same balls with the larger holes,” Corley said excitedly.

The balls’ adjustments seemed to work well for Lorraine--who Corley can remember walking Spare Time’s lanes 52 years ago when it opened--as he picked up a spare in one of his first few frames with them.

“It’s so good to see them out,” Corley added about Lorraine and the other Maple Ridge residents, “because the thing about bowling is: everybody can do it--no matter how old you are. It’s fun, and you don’t get hurt.”

Not getting hurt was a key factor for Susan Belton--the mother of another resident at Maple Ridge--and her motivation to ask Corley to make the adaptive balls.

“I think bowling is a great sport for senior citizens and always has been,” Belton said. “This is just the next step for this group of people--to have this adaptation so bowling can reach more people. Because the heavier balls can be dangerous, and we don’t want them falling with those.”

Maple Ridge has been serving area seniors since 2016--assisting residents who have Alzheimer’s disease and related forms of memory loss.

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