By KAPIL JAIN, senior
***SEASON HIGHLIGHTS (updated as of 01/26/16): Seeded 5th heading into GMC’s, Cameron LaPlant(freshman) finished second place at GMC’s individuals. He looked unstoppable by winning game after game and defeating three formidable foes before falling to Alex Sorge in his last game.***
The players’ chant of “turkey” rings throughout the building as a single bowling ball rolls down the lane and strikes ten pins simultaneously and viciously, creating a cacophonous sound. Although many people associate “turkey” with Thanksgiving, bowlers call it out after someone has bowled three consecutive strikes—a sign of a likely victory for that team. Although many people tend to take bowling lightly because of its sweat-free workouts and lack of physical movement, bowling involves more than just a ball and ten pins. Throughout the season, the JPS bowling teams constantly train their persistence, endurance, motivation, and perseverance to succeed this season.
The JPS boys and girls bowling teams both put immense amounts of effort into each practice to improve their basic skill sets and win more games. They spend countless hours improving the minute details in their technique and commit these details to their muscle memory. These repetitive, monotonous practices are extremely taxing on his players as Coach Canova states, “Practices can be very challenging when skills and drills are repeatedly practiced and even encourage friendly competition amongst team members.” For example, at one practice, the players drilled for ten minutes and played three games against each other to refine their different throws. Captain Daveon Shackleford (11) comments, “We also bowl hundreds of times and each time we repeat the same throw. Even though people say that it’s just rolling a ball down a lane, it requires technique, concentration, force, consistency, and memory.”
Aside from emphasizing a stringent practice schedule, Coach Canova also encourages his players to smile through hard work, bond with each other, and strengthen the team’s chemistry. Captain Jagathi Kalluru (11) explains, “We work really well together because our personalities bounce off each other. Similar to how other sports have eats, every Saturday we have tournaments in which we all bring food and have a really sugary dessert right after breakfast. As a whole, we are all supportive of one another and enjoy being around each other.”
While bowling is considered a hobby for many people, it is a serious and competitive sport for the JPS boys and girls teams. It tests their character and perseverance: they must keep their calm when the ball is inches away from the last pin and the team is moments away from victory. Players must overcome many mental challenges to succeed and continue improving. However, their hard work pays off in the end because as Charitha Aineri (12) reflects, “bowling provides me with a place to really collect myself after a day at school and it also allows me to connect and interact with others who share the same interests as me.”
Featured image taken by Jagathi Kalluru