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Lanes of ability
Friendships form at Miracle League bowling events
Miracle League Bowling 7 es
Angela Clark comes running back after her turn bowling at Stars and Strikes. - photo by Emily Saunders

For members of the North Metro Miracle League bowling team, it's more about making friends than making strikes.

The league has been meeting at Stars and Strikes in Cumming since May. With about 75 families attending the weekly event, players say there's plenty of opportunities to strike up a conversation.

"Everybody makes friends here," said John McLaughlin, executive director of the North Metro Miracle League. "People start seeing the person and not the disability."

The league joined with Angels in the Alley four years ago. Angels director Sherri Fuentes said this year has been successful.

The group held a special, welcome-back party Tuesday night for a group of cyclists who ride around the country raising funds and awareness for people with disabilities.

Ezra McCalment, project manager for the Phi Kappa Phi countrywide fraternity, said the reception was "pretty awesome. It's a chance to be humbled a bit."

Beverly and Doug Darke bring their daughter, Melanie, bowling every Saturday. They showed up for Tuesday's special event as well.

"This bowling league is a really good thing," Beverly Darke said. "All the families get together and make friends with each other. Melanie's made some friends as well."

Melanie Darke said her favorite thing about bowling was "getting strikes and spares."

She also said she enjoys using her new bowling ball, which her parents gave her on a recent birthday. She said her top score so far is a 100.

Joe Gilbreth brings daughter Cathy, who has a personal best score of 138, every Saturday.

"It's a remarkable setup here," Joe Gilbreth said. "We've made some friends. There just can't be too many events like this one."

McLaughlin said making friends is an important aspect of the Miracle League venture.

"It's a social night more than anything," McLaughlin said. "Everybody is supportive of one another. It's like a big family."