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This winter season, I decided to shake things up and spin myself in a different direction- I decided to try out bowling. I didn’t think much about bowling being a sport, but I was very surprised to see the competitive atmosphere. I have learned a ton about bowling during my adventure; from the spin of the ball, to the oil patterns, I continue to learn more about the sport each time I step up to the lane.

During my winter season, I have found that bowling is very interesting and different than any other sport I have participated in before. I started bowling occasionally over the summer in hopes of improving. I just threw the ball down the lane hoping to hit as many pins as possible. The first time I went to practice, I had no idea about a couple of the rules that went along with it. Working with my coach, I continued to change my throw in the hope of improving. She knew I needed more help than she could give me. I began working with another coach from a different school who saw my struggle, and she fixed my approach to the lane and fixed the way I threw. And let me tell you, it was very helpful. I find bowling different because everyone is always willing to help one another out. The fact that a coach from another team took time out of her day to come help me is a perfect example. The coaches care more about everyone improving rather than their own team, which was nice to see for a change.

Bowling is a very fun sport, especially because everyone has his or her on and off days, regardless of individual skill. It’s truly anyone’s game, any day. Bowling this season has taught me a lot about the tradition and the etiquette surrounding it. It’s very different than any other sport I have ever seen. You stay quiet and wait your turn, giving the other players their space. When your turn concludes, you wait your turn and switch lanes. I find the game interesting because everyone’s scores are their for everyone to see, and that is truly the only representation of each person’s play. For example, a basketball player can score 20 points in a game, but take 30 shots and maybe have 10 turnovers. To some people they had a good game because all they saw was the 20 points scored. In opposition is the sport of  bowling, where your scores are right there and that is the only representation of the way you play. The sport of bowling is cut and dry. If you get a 200 and someone gets a 150, you beat them and outplayed them, which I really enjoy.

Something also different and nice to see about the sport of bowling is the wide variety of athletes; anyone can become a bowler if he or she takes the time to practice. Bowlers are constantly working to improve their own personal game, while also helping others. Bowling is very competitive, but also genuine. During matches everyone plays to win, but also the more experienced bowlers often like to see others improve around them.

My advice for prospective bowlers is, “the more you bowl, the better you will get.” Bowling is a game of practice and working on the variety of simple and difficult throws. For the more experienced bowlers, I think you just have to continue to bowl because once you have your throws down, it’s a mind game. You know what you’re supposed to do, but you often overthink it. But, the best bowlers often keep their overthinking to the minimum; that is why I believe they are so successful. I challenge you all to get out to a bowling alley and bowl a game or two, but more importantly, to take bowling more seriously as a sport.

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From Gutters to Strikes