MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Of all the sports you would think you would need arms for, bowling would have to be up there.
How else would you carry that big heavy ball and hurl it down the lane?
And yet, there is Ana Younker-Zimmermann from St. Paul’s Humboldt High School — showing us all that obstacles and limitations are just things meant to be overcome.
“I think people are surprised. In fact, I was surprised when she said she wanted to bowl, and I said, ‘OK, I’ll bring the ramp.’ And she says, ‘I don’t need a ramp,’” said Coach Alice Rhines. “I go, ‘Well, how are you going to get the ball down?’ And she just sat down and pushed with her feet.”
Ana was born without any arms, the result of a birth defect.
“My mom took drugs that she wasn’t supposed to,” Ana said.
She was born in Haiti, adopted and brought to America when she was 3. She joined the bowling team in ninth grade, because, why wouldn’t she?
“It started out playing other sports, adapted sports, and then it went into other sports all-year long, and it made my health really healthy. And so, I just kept going,” she said.
Normally Ana does this all herself using a chair, but here at the state tournament, her teammate Danny helps her.
“I roll the ball until in the middle, so the hole will be underneath it,” Ana said. “I’m trying to get it just perfect so it rolls correctly, instead of rolling the opposite direction.”
Coach Rhines says Ana has a great spirit.
“She tries really hard,” Rhines said. “She is really good at taking care of herself and advocating for herself … to make herself successful in everything she does.”
Even the things one might think you cannot do, without arms. Ana is a living example that where there’s a will, there’s a way, for anyone, no matter what.
“It makes me feel really proud, and that they can do anything that they want,” Ana said.