BBCHS Girls Bowling Team Ready to Roll

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In the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year, BBCHS introduced its first ever boys bowling team, led by coaches Matt Nanos and Gene Kanak. While the boys team has been growing and improving their skills since then, both coaches have always dreamed of implementing a girl’s team. That dream is now a reality. 

Nanos and Kanak have been working together with Athletic Director Mike Kohl in order to get a bowling program up and running for the girls. Originally, both coaches were looking to begin the girls program last year but were unable to make things work out. Both Kanak and Kohl were constantly communicating on subjects such as progress and scheduling bowling meets with other schools in Illinois. In addition to this, some difficult decisions had to be made. Kanak and Nanos decided it would be a good idea to divide things up for both teams, and settled on Nanos continuing to lead the boys team while Kanak would help get the program off the ground by leading the girls team. Kanak felt that this decision would be better than having nothing at all but is looking to find some assistants that can help with supporting the various bowlers on the team.

Practice takes place at the Brookmont Bowling Center in Kankakee, IL, and contains a very similar routine to that of the boys team. Practice begins with various stretches, such as arm circles, wrist stretches, and one leg stretches like the flamingo stretch. After that, the girls perform various drills to help develop bowling skills. The drills consist of a one-step drill, where one step is taken before the foul line in order to practice timing, a full approach drill, where one practices their rhythm and routine by taking a normal shot, hitting certain pins such as the 7 and 10 pins, in addition to many others. Once drills are done, 2 or 3 normal bowling games are played in order to apply the skills learned while performing drills. During the drills and games, Kanak watches how a certain technique is applied in order to support a player with tips or feedback on what should be done or improved upon. After this, the player can be able to gain a better idea of what to do in certain situations, such as knocking down a certain pin or keeping the ball in the pocket.

When asked about the team’s performance so far this year, Kanak stated, “We are improving. We haven’t won a match on the varsity side yet, and it’s gonna be tough for us to get a win like that because we just don’t have the experience level that a lot of these girls in other programs have. In our last match against Lincoln-Way West on December 9th, we put up our highest individual team score for a game so far and our overall highest score. They’re getting better and they’re working hard. It’s just that competitive bowling and recreational bowling are two totally different universes, and it’s gonna take some time and some bumps in the road in order to get somewhere, but they’re willing to put in the work, and I’m excited to see where we’re going.” 

So far, both bowling teams have encountered various obstacles, but Nanos and Kanak are looking to combat these disadvantages in order to help gain an edge against other schools. This year, bowling practice has been limited to a Wednesday-Friday schedule instead of the weekly schedule the team had last year, due to issues such as lane availability at Brookmont. Because of this, both teams have to make do with the time that is available during the week to practice. In addition to this, many of the girls on this new bowling team have only bowled with friends and family, and have never experienced the energetic, competitive atmosphere present when competing against other schools in Illinois. Because of this, it’s going to take some time to help mold and develop the skills of the girls team in order to take on various schools. Kanak commented on the main objective, stating, “We want to clutter our minds as little as possible. We just want to focus on getting the job done and trying to stay loose.” One thing is for certain, getting better as a team won’t happen overnight or within the next week, but you never know when things could turn around.

Despite having to overcome these obstacles, members of the team still find a way to enjoy being a part of the new team. Victoria Herndon, a BBCHS Freshman, has been enjoying her experiences so far. When asked about her experience on the team, Herndon stated, “I like the team a lot, it’s fun, and there’s a lot of good people. It’s nice to get to know them. Competing feels nerve wracking though.” Herndon became interested in the bowling program when she heard about it at a showcase for incoming freshmen, and is planning to progress throughout the season through practice and getting an idea of some techniques other people apply in bowling. Before becoming a member of the bowling team, she took part in a bowling league, which gave her something to look forward to on Saturdays. Herndon gave some advice to her fellow teammates, stating, “Our coaches have said that getting your own gear helps to make things easier for you, and more comfortable and consistent.” Herndon is glad to be a member, and is so far enjoying her time on BB’s new bowling team. The future is bright for the school’s new bowling team, with things looking smooth, but there’s no telling what challenges the team may face during their first ever season in school history.