Bowling team: the first “non-competitive” sport

Danielle Kincs

The sound of crashing pins can barely be heard over Mr. Hawkins’ laughter as the bowling team practices under the dim lights of the alley. For the nearly 60 kids who participate in bowling this year, this is just another day in the glamorous life that is the bowling team.

Many students enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of the team. “Other teams take it way too seriously,” said sophomore Lauren Effertz, a captain of the JV white team. “They all have about three of their own bowling balls and custom shoes and these expensive gloves that are supposed to help you throw straighter, and then BSM shows up with our house balls and rented shoes.”

While BSM’s bowling team is a part of a competitive high school league often contending with other bigger schools such as Hopkins, Minnetonka, and Chaska, they are a more low-key team. “It’s really laid back, relaxed,” said junior Chris Nagel, a member of the varsity team. “It’s completely non-competitive,” said JV member, junior Curtis Guzan.

Practices are Mondays and Wednesdays from 3 to 4 p.m., and many players often look forward to them more than matches. “Our Monday and Wednesday practices are more like going bowling with your friends every day after school than actual practices,” said Effertz.

Many students wonder whether bowling is considered a sport or an activity, but for the coach, Mr. Jim Picard, there is no question. “It’s a sport, but club––not technically a varsity team,” said Mr. Picard. “You can’t letter in the sport.”

The bowling team’s season runs from mid-September through mid-November, with nine matches throughout the season. Three teams make up this co-ed activity. “Bowling team generally has about 60 kids,” said Coach Mick Hawkins. “There is one varsity and two JV teams––seven students on each.”

With so many members on the team, it is important to the coaches that everyone is able to participate. “Everyone practices, and we rotate who’s on JV,” said Mr. Picard. “There is an opportunity every week to come to matches.”

For being in a league with other larger schools, BSM’s bowling team is still able to hold their ground. “[We] compete reasonably well,” said Mr. Picard.

However, bowling team is more than just a competition. “Kids find their niche, friendships,” said Mr. Hawkins. It is easy to get a sense of this comradeship during a match, students cheering on each other and exchanging high-fives after each turn, successful or not.

Acceptance and familiarity among members of the team contributes to the enjoyable, relaxed atmosphere. “No one is pressuring you to be this amazing, perfect bowler every time you throw a ball down the lane,” said Effertz. “We’re all just like one, big, goofy family.”

The friendships created through the bowling team are strong, and many students who are on the team continue the activity throughout their high school career. “The kids who do it generally enjoy it,” said Mr. Hawkins. And the coaches don’t seem to mind it much either. “We have a lot of fun and get everyone to participate,” said Mr. Picard.

So for anyone looking for activity with good times and good friendships, don’t discount the bowling team. “There are some people who think that being on the bowling team is really nerdy, but it’s not,” said Effertz. “Everybody should really give bowling team a shot because everyone who joins it ends up loving it.”