Bowlers take a lane less traveled



Bowling photo

Some students spend their after-school hours at home doing homework. Some go to a field or a gym to practice or even spend time with a school club. And then there are those who spend their time at a bowling alley.

While bowling isn’t an everyday pastime for today’s teenage generation, for five Bellevue West students it’s their chosen sport. The sudden clash of bowling pins and the aroma of over-fried food and pine-wood floors is just another day at practice.

“Most of why I bowl is to relieve stress and to meet new people,” sophomore Kaitlyn Stratos said.

On Mondays the girls practice as a team. During this time, they bowl three games, along with a possible bakers game or rotate out players to work on skill shooting.

A bakers game is when a group bowls one game together but alternates frames. For example: player one bowls on frame, player two throws the next, and repeat.

“It takes a lot of practice in order to get the right amount of pins down, and practice makes perfect,” said junior Rebecca Walker.

Practice isn’t just throwing the ball down the lane hoping the majority of pins fall over. Bowling requires technique and skill.

“It’s the pace of walking up to the line, the delivery of the ball, where you’re looking on the lane, hitting your mark, not hitting your mark, [and] the release of the ball,” coach Jim Walker said.

Coach Walker trains his players by placing a styrofoam square on the lane. This helps the bowler’s aim. He also places two long, red strips parallel to each other in front of the lane to improve the bowler’s approach.

“It’s timing. Tendency not to drift, walk a straight line, delivery over the spot, not looking at the pins when you throw the ball,”  coach Walker said.

Bowling requires a slight physical effort, but the mental game is the hardest to tackle.

“It can get in your head really quick and you just bowl worse and worse and worse,” senior Carlyee Arndt said.

Rebecca Walker knows how to handle the mental aspect of the sport.

“Just don’t get down on yourself when you miss a mark. Just forget about it and move on,” Rebecca Walker said.

During tournaments, the girls bowl three regular games and three baker games as a team. Their ‘series’ is the total number of pins knocked down for the three regular games. Normally, athletes who individually bowl over a 550 series are the only ones able to make it to the top ten in the tournament.

If an athlete makes it to the top ten, minor scholarships are awarded.

Although the Bellevue West Bowling team competes in tournaments and dedicates time to practicing, many students are unaware of the sport’s competitive nature.

“When people think of bowling, it’s just for fun. People don’t know what you can actually do when it comes to bowling, and you can get all these scholarships,” Arndt said.

Katie Allen
Sports Editor