The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

Bowling Team Pins the Competition

February 3, 2016

You just have to knock down ten pins. That’s it. They stand propped up in a triangle formation near the end of the lane, taunting the bowler, while simultaneously anticipating the familiar nudge of a 14-pound bowling ball.

Each individual pin that is slammed down backwards on top of the glossy lane figuratively represents the competition, with each various team being “knocked down” by the skilled FHC bowling team.

Each decorative bowling ball that is sent flying down towards the pins with an undeniable energetic focus represents each and every audacious member of the team, signifying their intensity, passion, and dedicated perseverance.

The moment the bowling ball smacks a pin, one particular sound resonates throughout the alley, vibrating off the walls: Bam! That is the sound that represents the team as a unit, considering the various “in-your-face” successes they have contributed to this season.

Winning, however, is not something the team itself places a dramatic emphasis on.

“The team is simply trying to have fun as opposed to focusing solely on beating the competition,” senior Griffin Fry said when asked about the team’s primary intentions.  “Obviously, if you’re having fun, you’re the real winner.”

Their numerous triumphs must come naturally due to the indisputable victories they have effortlessly managed to produce, time and time again. What specific factor generates their success? Could it be the youthful coach, Grant Vermeer, who unexpectedly showed up near the beginning of the season brimming with undisclosed secrets,  constructive criticism, and profitable advice? As a Young Life leader at FHC, Vermeer is already accustomed to offering assistance; he is already accustomed to be looked up to by those around him; and, he is already accustomed to serving as an example, simultaneously demonstrating both virtuous behavior and a committed work ethic.

“I was a bowler in high school and an assistant bowling coach in college,” Vermeer began. “I think the thing I love so much about bowling is that it is both an individual sport as well as a team sport. Each individual has their own game to worry about but also has to be a team player and work together to help out their other teammates.”

With this brand new coach comes brand new expectations. Practices are held much more often than previous years, five days a week, in order to prepare for upcoming tournaments that occur practically every Saturday.

“We go there and warm up a bit,” said senior and captain Cam Harris, when asked about what transpires at a typical Friday meeting. “ We train; we mostly check on how the oil is doing on that particular lane. We get used to it for about fifteen minutes, we might even play a couple of games. The hardest pins to hit are usually  those on the very end so sometimes we’ll warm up and specifically only try to hit those.”

On the other hand, perhaps the various victories have been precipitated by the fresh faces of the team itself.

The relaxed atmosphere of the bowling tryouts, which took place in mid-November, attracted various individuals who tend to prefer a low-intensity, barely-any-pressure setting. Harris stated that when we first joined the team two years ago, he barely had any experience. He simply did it because “he wanted another varsity letter and some of his friends had been on it the previous year.” The chill environment provided by the bowling team encourages a lot of individuals to simply come out and go for it, regardless of whether they personally deem themselves worthy or not.

“We just go there, bowl, and hang out. It’s a lot of fun. I think people who are thinking about trying out should just go for it,” Harris said.  “Personally, I never thought I was going to be as good as I am now when I first went into my junior year because when I tried out, I was just barely making the team. I like to look at it from a mathematical standpoint, figuring out what my throw must be in order to get the best chance for a strike. I enjoy that as well as the physical aspect of it. It’s a really simple concept, just throwing a ball down a lane, but when you add a little something special and throw it with a curve or something, it just makes that simple idea really extraordinary and exciting.”

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