New England has a unique tradition called Candlepin Bowling. Unlike traditional bowling, it involves the use of a small, light ball and candle-shaped pins. The bowler gets three tries at knocking the pins down, and can use the fallen pins to whack those pins that are still standing.
We first discovered the fun of candlepin bowling on vacation in Maine - and it was one of the first times that Tommy actually PLAYED a game without melting down or walking away. When we started vacationing on Cape Cod, we always made time for the game.
So... this fall, with some trepidation, we signed Tommy up for the junior league at a friendly local bowling alley.
This is one of those situations in which we felt that Tom really OUGHT to be involved in a sport (just like everyone else). In part, I'm sure, this is a matter of peer pressure (pressure from OUR peers, not Tom's). But I'd tried Tom in team sports like soccer and baseball, and even when it was a "special" program, he found it very anxiety-producing. The need to track other players, follow their actions, and then jump in accordingly was, quite simply, too much.
Still, though, Tom has a good eye for bowling, and he's a fairly accomplished swimmer. He can walk forever, too. So with homeschooling giving us so much flexibility, we're building on those choices. So far, bowling is not a bad choice: he likes the game, learned quickly to cope without the "bumpers," and bowls a creditable 50-60 points per game (sometimes two-handed, sometimes one-handed).
I can't say it's a social bonanza: Tommy keeps to himself, the other kids are pretty uninterested in socializing anyway. But for a first league experience it could be much, much worse.