This article has been written in full by Gracie Perry herself about her experience in tenpin bowling from representing her state to being involved with Bowl Patrol and achieving great things despite her disability.
I have been bowling since I was 6 years old and started competing at the Junior Nationals when I was 8. I started representing my state at 15 when I made both my first South Australian (SA) President’s Shield team and Youth state teams. Since aging into adults, I have represented SA at the Adult National Championships (ANC) and Rachuig in 2018 and made the team again in 2020 – which unfortunately didn’t travel. I have also been fortunate to be within Tenpin Bowling Australia’s National Training Squad both as a youth member and now as an adult athlete.
I have also been able to further my love of the sport through obtaining my Level 1 and Bronze coaching accreditation as well as working towards my Silver coaching accreditation. I have been able to use my accreditation to travel with the South Australian 2021 President’s Shield Team to ANC in Hobart in July this year as an Assistant Coach. I was also the assistant coach for the South Australian TBA21 team who unfortunately could not attend the national titles due to a lockdown in South Australia. I also hold a position on the Tenpin SA Board as well as a place on the SA Coaching committee.
With the introduction of the Bowl Patrol program, I have been able to get involved with something that I only wish existed when I started bowling. Having a program that exposes kids to the sport and gives them something to strive towards such as the wrist bands or reducing the carpet length. It is such an exciting program to have here in Australia and I truly believe that all kids should be given an opportunity to be part of a sport during development.
Not many people are aware that I have a birth injury (Erb’s Palsy) that renders my right arm only about 50% capacity. This disability has come with challenges when bowling at a high level for some aspects of my game. However, I have not let my disability stop me from being an elite female athlete in the sport of tenpin bowling.
I look forward to continuing in this sport not only as an athlete but as an administrator and an ambassador for the sport of tenpin bowling. Bowling has been great for my health, not just physical but mentally spending time with friends, it’s really rewarding. I’d encourage anyone to give it a go, just get down to your local centre and play a game – I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy it too!