Prepare for success

DANIEL FALLOON, FOR SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:49 AM ET

Braden Wilson is a major part of two teams in his life. The first is the Academy Uptown Lanes bowling team, the newly-minted provincial champions. The second is his support team at home to help him cope with autism.

"It's a family commitment to help our son," said Mark, Braden's father, who makes up the team along with his wife, Cheryl and daughter Megan. "We all work together."

Braden, 13, hasn't let his condition put his spirits in the gutter, though.

"He doesn't have a competitive bone in his body," said Mark. "When he gets a strike, he's excited, though."

Braden did have to overcome the clatter of the pins and the general ruckus of the bowling alley before taking on the sport.

"The noise was a big thing," said Mark, "but he got used to that."

And he has adapted well, as the parents and coaches were shouting supportive slogans before every shot.

Braden's success has even inspired a family from Brandon who was watching the provincial championships.

"They were overwhelmed by the cheers of support for Braden when he got up to bowl ... and the huge smile Braden wore while bowling with his team" wrote Mark in a follow-up e-mail. "For us, this was equal to our son's team winning."

Braden first started bowling five years ago at his birthday party and took to the sport, to the delight of his parents.

"We thought it would be a great program for him," said Mark. "The people here have been awesome."

"They treat him like any other kid," he said. "He does everything that they do."

"We have a saying in our household," he added. "We want to set him up for success. (Bowling) is something he can do for the rest of his life."

SOCIALIZATION

The program does indeed prepare Braden for success, even outside of the bowling alley.

"When he's with the other children, he gets to work on his socialization and communication skills," said Mark.

Mark also noted that this year was the first time Braden had made the team. After winning the provincials, Braden, along with teammates John, Patrick, Scott and Jamie, will be going to the YBC National Bowling Championships in Edmonton from May 3-5.

The trip will carry a new set of challenges for Braden, who will be travelling on an airplane for the first time.

"We're going to have to get him in the mindset that he's going to nationals," said Mark, who added that Braden does not completely understand the competitive aspect to tournaments.

In true team fashion, the Wilsons will be travelling with Braden.


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