Italian Integration – or the Hands of Friendship

by Bob Johnson 0

In this neck of the woods, Asti, Italy, on a bright and sunny June morning, the organizers of the Brunswick Italia Challenge invited the groups of handicapped Italian bowlers from Asti, Turin and Milan to both meet with the American PBA players competing in

Chris Loschetter with a formidable opponent

the current tournament and then roll a ‘pro-am’ type tournament with the handicapped players’ scores tied with those of the Americans. The Cypriot team, the Navigators, also joined the fun.

Wide-eyed and hopping with excitement, the home players put on an admirable show, the team of Federico and American Ryan Ciminelli topping the scores, although the Italian forced the pace, rolling a 194 in the final game to beat the pro. “I had to double in the tenth frame to beat Federico,” Ciminelli told us. “I got the first but couldn’t make it a double, so the youngster beat me. He was the star of the show and together we won the gold medal.”

Evidently, these groups have a huge following in Italy, an example for the rest of the world. Bowling is a solid part of the Special Olympics and deserves a place in the Paralympics and maybe the Olympic Games.


Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson has received more national writing awards than any other bowling writer — close to 70 over the course of his 40-year career. He began at age 16 as a staff writer and then assistant editor for the weekly Pacific Bowler newspaper in his native California, and within three years was writing feature stories for Bowlers Journal. He has written for the magazine ever since, except for a five-year span when he was hired as the founding editor of another magazine. He moved to Chicago in 2000 and spent 13 years in the Windy City, including five as Bowlers Journal’s Editor. In 1975, Johnson received the Robert E. Kennedy Award as California’s top undergraduate high school journalist. Five years earlier, on the lanes, he had shared the Bantam Division Doubles championship in the Orange County Junior Bowling Association Championships. Today, he continues to work full-time for Bowlers Journal as its Senior Editor, to write his popular “Strikes Me” column, and to edit Luby Publishing Inc.’s weekly business-to-business Cyber Report.