The high school bowling season has begun.
The first of WIAA’s winter sports doesn’t look like it’s the most physically taxing in the world. In years past, I have mentioned to friends and colleagues it’s the only sport I know of where you can consume a cheeseburger, fries and down a 20-ounce bottle of Pepsi, and you can still compete at a high level.
But extreme mental toughness makes up for a lack of physicality. The cerebral approach and attention to detail are the most important aspects of becoming a proficient bowler.
Rolling a ball down the alley is very similar to a golfer lining up for a putt, or a basketball player attempting a free throw. It’s a simple task, but it’s almost impossible to master. It’s all about technique, focus and precision.
During the past five years, I have had the privilege of covering three of the best high school bowling programs in Washington. The Emerald Ridge Jaguars, Rogers Rams and Puyallup Vikings are fixtures at the Class 4A state bowling tournament, which is held each February at Narrows Plaza Bowl in University Place.
There’s a reason why each of those programs are so good — work ethic. Head coaches Al McCormack of Emerald Ridge, Anne Carpenter of Puyallup and Justin Wisness of Rogers are great motivators, and they’ve very knowledgeable about the nuances of bowling.
Emerald Ridge won three consecutive state titles from 2009-11. The camaraderie and enthusiasm they had during that run was memorable.
Last season, Puyallup placed seventh and Emerald Ridge placed eighth at state.
Rogers, which didn’t advance to state as a team, will bring back a majority of its squad and is poised to make a run back to the promised land.
The state tournament is a little less than three months away. I expect a multitude of bowlers from the east Pierce region to compete at Narrows Plaza yet again.