Taking a deep breath, sophomore Cole McCool swings his arm back, the bowling ball attached to his palm like a pendulum. Lining his body up with perfect technique, he sends the ball gliding over the slick wooden floor. The satisfying clack of the pins hitting the lane is all but a weekly routine for McCool.
For the ambitious sophomore, bowling is like any other sport; he practices weekly and plays in a competitive league.
“I compete in a league at Brownsburg Bowl. The league at Brownsburg Bowl is a Saturday morning league, so every Saturday I go to Brownsburg Bowl and bowl three games,” explained McCool. “Bowling recreationally is more for practice, as well as for fun.”
He isn’t a rookie, either. McCool has been hitting the lanes since the age of three. Inspiration can be accredited to his bowler father, who would buy him games at their local alley, while Cole’s mother supervised.
Looking back on all the memories accumulated from his sport of choice, McCool’s fondest would be when he scored 200 points in one session. For some perspective, a professional bowler typically scores in the 260-280 point range, which definitely bumps up the impressive factor for McCool.
When the competition gets tough, it becomes critical to get into a calm and leveled headspace. Having specific goals and techniques to ensure a good match can give a bowler a significant mental advantage.
“During a tough match, when I struggle, I try to get to 110-120 points because getting to 110-120 is like a benchmark for me. It helps remind me to make it just one bad game and not two or more,” said McCool. “If I have a tough close match, then I focus on what I should do and what my opponent is doing.”
He discussed people’s perception of bowling as a non-traditional sport. “There is a lot that you can learn about the sport. Bowling has a lot of interesting quirks that most people outside of bowling don’t know about,” said McCool. “It is the only sport where you can get scholarship money while still in high school and even before. I believe that almost every sport, traditional or not, has similar benefits that can come from playing them.”
McCool also touched on the health aspects of the sport, explaining that bowling three games is the equivalent to walking a mile.
When looking at the benefits of his time bowling, McCool believes that his mental attitude has grown exponentially from it.
“I think that my biggest strength in bowling is my mental strength because bowling is as much a mental sport as a physical one, and not getting mad is very beneficial,” he explained.
Bowling may noy be the first thing that comes to mind when people hear the word “competitive sport.” But this shouldn’t be the case. McCool is a perfect example of this.
“It is because of bowling that I have figured out how to stay mentally strong and have built it up throughout the years,” he said.