James strikes again /Newsport

James strikes again

Thursday March 6 2014

When it comes to ten pin bowling, James Carney never leaves anything to spare.

At the Sundowner League, a Cairns-based competition for people with disabilities, there’s hardly a trophy he hasn’t won.

Since he started bowling in 2005, the competition’s reigning Player of the Year has won 18 trophies and has an impressive high score of 200, also known as a ‘deuce’ in the bowling fraternity.

James, who was born with a mild intellectual disability, doesn’t know why he’s so good at bowling, it just turns out it’s right up his alley.  

"The competition is good," he says grinning."I like playing and I’ve got a lot of friends there."

Every Wednesday afternoon James finishes work at a Port Douglas supermarket and trundles home on his bicycle before his grandmother takes him bowling.

It’s a two-hour round trip from the family home to Cairns but James’s mother Shirley says it’s one of the few social outlets her son has in the region.

"It’s the one thing in the week that is his time," she says."He looks forward to it all week.

"Just like any other person, James needs that social interaction with peers.

"He has a lot to give to the community but there’s only so much voluntary stuff you can do. You’ve still got to enjoy yourself."

Both James’s parents are busy people and a strong work ethic has been instilled in their son too.

The supermarket attendant works five days a week and has a number of chores around the family home.

He’s even been the waterboy for the local football team, the Crocs.

But Shirley says she wishes there was more for adults like her son in the community.

"If there was another social gathering in Port Douglas, even something once a month for adults like James, that would be great," she says.

"A lot James’s peers have physical disabilities and coordination challenges, so it doesn’t have to be sport."

Last week, James notched a score of 182.

This week he says he’s looking to do better.

"It’s just a challenge," he says.