Stephen Hartley

visually impaired bowler

Stephen Hartley

visually impaired bowler

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Visually Impaired Bowler

LDillon Phography
LDillon Phography

When life throws you a curve ball, bowl it back….

Hi I’m  Stephen and I’d like to share with you my journey in the hope it will inspire others when facing challenges in life. 2003 was my Marvel movie, six months after realising car number plates no longer existed for me, I realised my existence was now in an alternate universe. Don't assume darkness or peering through a lens of voile but a mash of blurred daubs of colour. I’d always worked hard, I needed to; married with two very young boys. Thinking back my youngest son's first unaided mad-dash was a red headless jumper. I realised then that jumper would have to stretch, graduate and make me a proud grandfather of tiny red jumpers without me ever seeing a sparkle in their tiny eyes…

Now I have two teenage jumpers and little prospect of employment, unless you know of any PI's hiring? It seems my alternate universe is here to stay. No iron fist but over the years my detection skills have developed in blurry surroundings; with the exception to a snowball fight with two small red jumpers - which led to three fractured bones.

So think of something ludicrous to try... How about launching a heavy ball towards a much smaller ball so far away It has no visual registry? Yep sounds good. All you need is string running down the centre line so you can feel for that sweet angle and someone to tell you where your heavy object ended, "Car park, six o'clock!"  But I haven’t had ,inch yet!  Turns out the small ball is the centre of a clock face, so if you imagine ending at 12 o'clock you're directly behind, 3 o'clock to the right-side and six o'clock in front etc. Combined with the distance 'car park' you can adjust the angle and velocity of your next attempt. 

4 years later and it turns out I'm quite good at it; no more car parks for this sportsman. I am now a member of DBE (disability bowls England) and VIBE (visually impaired bowls England) and due to play my first international match, representing England in the 2022 Para-Home Nations Championships. I also play for Tavistock Bowls Club outdoors and Plymouth Life Centre indoors.

I live in the South West of England , which is a beautiful part of the UK but it involves travelling across country for competitions. There is no money in the sport so I am grateful for donations and sponsorships to help cover expenses. Please use the PayPal donate button (where I received 100% of your donation) or the  Gofundme link (minus around 4% fee) if you would like to be a part of something special. Thanks for reading.

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