No Bumpers Needed: Bowling 2017


Hazel McLain

Spare. With advice from senior Emma Chalk, sophomore Amanda Anderson stays focused. One breath in. Her fingers unwrap from the green ball she had tightly gripped. Pins go flying. 

But Anderson didn’t improve these skills by herself as an underclassmen on the bowling team. She got it from the upperclassmen, critiquing her each practice. One day, Anderson hopes to be a mentor, just like Chalk.    

As a sophomore, Anderson was one of the youngest bowlers on varsity, becoming a part of the team after head coach Franklin Elliott made more of an effort to recruit younger players. Underclassmen became more involved on both teams, where previously they consisted of solely juniors and seniors. 

Elliot encouraged his freshman history classes to try out to assure there would always be a group of veteran bowlers. Friends went to tryouts together and filled the ranks of the team with younger players. 

He knew that by doing this, the team wouldn’t be left scrambling for new bowlers after the seniors graduated. Freshmen and sophomores gained the skills they needed so they would be prepared to take on the leadership roles in two years time. 

“It takes a year or two of bowling, no one can just step up there,” Elliott said. “You have to bowl well consistently three games in a row which is hard for most people to do.” 

Senior Brena Levy thought adding underclassmen to the team made them more competitive, which would only make them better. As an upperclassman, she gave advice that would help the newer bowlers reach her level. Whether it was through a long bus ride to Leavenworth or a team dinner at senior Chase Tetrick’s house, Levy showed the underclassmen that being a part of bowling was more than just competing. 

“When [seniors] see someone do something wrong, we correct them,” Levy said. “We all bond together and they always feel like they can ask me questions.” 

On the boys’ team, senior Jack Barickman didn’t see himself as a mentor the same way Levy did. He didn’t mind underclassmen on the team, he just wanted them to take bowling less seriously. Bowling was Barickman’s opportunity to have something to do after school, all while playing a sport. And because of his relationships with the underclassmen, this made being apart of the team

“It’s fine as long as they’re having fun and not taking it too seriously,” Barickman said. “That’s the thing about East, we’re still pretty good but we just enjoy doing it with each other.” 

Anderson’s nerves about being as good as the other players her freshman year prevented her from going to try outs. Then as a sophomore, her nerves didn’t stop until after her first game where she realized how relaxed the other girls were. 

“I bowl in lanes with most of the senior girls, and they’re really nice and supportive,” Anderson said. “It’s interesting to watch their technique so I can develop on it.” 

Anderson was given the chance to bowl on varsity as a sophomore. She would be able to take on the same leadership roles that made her own experience so enjoyable and able to mentor the next round of underclassmen.