The Bowling Boys

The team sits silently as the bowler walks towards his ball. After retrieving his galaxy-colored sphere from the ball rack, the bowler steps onto the gleaming wood of the approach. The bowler cocks the ball backs and releases it from his control. The TV in front of the lane lights up with one sweet word, “Strike.”

Unknown to some, bowling is an Arkansas Athletics Association (AAA) sport. The team has meets and practices, improving their game like any other sport. During Covid, the group dissolved for lack of a sponsor and willing members. This year is different, however. Junior Ian Draeger found two willing sponsors, Mrs. Kim Dodge and Mr. Steve Wells. 

For Draeger, bowling was not always his passion. “My whole family has been bowling basically since I was in fourth grade,” said Draeger, “but I used to hate bowling until two years ago.” Draeger was the sole member of the “bowling team.” Draeger said, “My sophomore year, we had bowling, but there was no teacher sponsor. So I was the only person representing Catholic.” 

Mrs. Dodge, alongside Mr. Wells, agreed to become bowling sponsors. Mrs. Dodge said, “They used to have a coach and did not have one during the pandemic and really did not have a team. Then this year, Ian Draeger approached me and asked if I would be the sponsor.”

The love of bowling is not why Mrs. Dodge became the sponsor. She said, “I actually don’t like to bowl. When I was younger, and I used to bowl, everybody would smoke, and I had a smoke allergy, and it would make me really sick, and so I associate bowling alleys with that sickness. It is an act of love for me because I love my son, and I know that he enjoys it, and I am doing it out of sacrifice for the team.”

 Senior A.J Orr enjoys bowling because of the straightforwardness of the game. He said,“ Part of it is the fact that my vision is terrible, and knowing exactly where something is, I can aim towards it in comparison to other sports moving around.” Draeger also enjoys bowling for the social factor. He said, “ I enjoy just the people I met by doing it. I got a lot of friends by doing it and even started working in a pro shop.” 

Orr and Draeger have picked up many tips and tricks from their bowling time. Orr says, “Start with something simple and build other skills on top of it.  There is a lot of skill you can put into it. A lot of it comes down to how you move your hand.  If you keep your hand straight it will go forward.” Draeger said, “Practice and don’t get angry. If you are at a bowling center, there is usually someone who can help, but it is more of a mental game. If you get frustrated at practice, there is no point in bowling more.”

Although Mr. Wells and Mrs. Dodge are the sponsors of the bowling team, neither one of them has much bowling experience. Draeger said, “My dad is the coach, and he has been bowling forever and actually started when my sister got into high school. Mount needed a coach, so my dad became the coach for their team. So now he coaches both.” 

 Orr joined the bowling team his freshman year and was surprised by the amount of skill that is needed to be successful. He said, “My freshman year, I wanted to do a sport, but I was not athletically fit. So I thought I’ll do bowling that doesn’t require any skill, but it does. So my freshman year, it was me and 11 seniors.”

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