Multiple sclerosis: a diseased condition marked by patches of hardened tissue in the brain or spinal cord, associated with paralysis and jerking muscle tremor.
Courage: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere and withstand fear or difficulty.
The ages of the 22 to 25 people who bowl in a special Friday morning league range from the 20s to 60s; they come to Brunswick Normandy Lanes from all walks of life. What they have in common is MS, courage and a love of bowling.
"They take it one day at a time, because with MS, you never know what the next day is going to bring," said Shirley Wolfenden, volunteer coordinator. "The disease can become worse or get better without warning.
But they love to bowl."
The concept has proved so popular in Howard County that now there are also MS leagues at Severna Park and Perry Hall Lanes.
About half the bowlers in Normandy's 9-year-old "Hits or Misses" must use wheelchairs. Many of the others, including Tom, Shirley Wolfenden's spouse, bowl while gaining support from holding onto a wheelchair. At the end of the sessions, he is exhausted.
For many of the clients Wolfenden works with, this is one of the few times they get out of the house or nursing home.
And they don't back down one bit. They not only bowl, they throw some excellent games. Averages vary a great deal, with scores ranging from 45 to 200. Just last week Pat Redonto threw a 176 game. The high average for the league is 198.
MS strikes without warning. Tom Wolfenden worked at the Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. for 33 years before he retired. MS hit him rather late in life.
The league could use about the same number of volunteers as bowlers.
Call Shirley Wolfenden at 876-8079 and volunteer to help out Friday mornings. At the least, you'll pick up some tips on bowling.
Two bowlers who have similar averages, are about the same age and won medals in the Senior Olympics don't necessarily share similar bowling opinions.
Jim Brown, gold-medal winner, says, "It's the competition that keeps me going. I love it."
Jim Collington, silver-medal winner, says, "Bowling's just a hobby with me, it's for fun. Tournaments can be a little bit bloodthirsty."