Bowling clinics at Keystone Lanes
Photo by: Anwar Torres

NORWALK – Children and their parents lined the side of Keystone Lanes Wednesday as the final Los Angeles Clippers summer bowling clinic commenced. With more than 250 participants registered to bowl, this was just one of three bowling clinics put on by the Clippers Foundation and it was quite possibly the largest.  

Expanding beyond inner-city Los Angeles, these bowling clinics were easily accessible to both Orange County and south Los Angeles communities. Taking place in Downey, Lakewood, and Norwalk, they provided an outlet for children interested in non-traditional sports.

Before participants were assigned to lanes and coaches, each child was provided with a Clippers T-shirt and a healthy sack lunch. Kids filled up both sides of the 48-lane facility and waited patiently for everyone to get organized before bowling began. After lunch and registration ended, directed over the loudspeaker, bowling games were kicked off with a collective “Go Clippers!”

As part of the Clippers summer clinic series, the bowling clinics are not just for fun and exercise, but also for the inclusion of the Clippers’ Read to Achieve program. Each participant left the clinic with a goodie bag filled with a book, courtesy of Read to Achieve, pencils, and Clippers bracelet. The goal of the program is to build a lifelong love of reading in young people by providing greater access to books and technology while encouraging families and adults to read regularly with young children.

Just one of the three sports offered through the Clippers Summer Clinic program, bowling offers an entirely new experience for kids.  

Dawn Weldon, a local league bowler and a volunteer coach for all three Clippers bowling Clinics explained the importance of getting youth involved in the sport. “It shows them that you don’t have to be running or in total physical shape. Anybody can bowl. It’s not limited to just the tallest or the broadest, the fastest or the most physically fit. These kids can do it and be successful at it.”

For Ralph Armenta, another volunteer coach, the Clippers organization is doing a great service by getting involved in the community. “It’s good for the kids. The Clippers are getting involved in another sport other than basketball but the Clippers name stays there. It shows that the organization truly cares.”

With the help of volunteer coaches and an accommodating staff, kids get a chance to learn the basics of the sport in a structured manner.

One of the returning clinic participants Madison, 10, explained that she always “looks forward to having fun.”

“The coaches are really cool and nice,” Madison said. “They taught us a lot of things. They taught us how to hold the ball and how to not cross the line, which is really important.”

 Tiffany, a parent of two of the bowling clinic participants, enjoys having an opportunity to be active with her children. “The kids love it and the staff is so helpful,” she said. “These clinics are great for me to get out with my kids.”