Girls bowling season finally underway

Despite having their season suspended due to COVID-19, the girls bowling team has grown closer and have accomplished a successful season

A+girls+bowler+rolls+a+ball+down+the+lane+at+Raymond%27s+Bowl+during+a+practice+on+March+3.

Mackenzie Sroka

A girls bowler rolls a ball down the lane at Raymond’s Bowl during a practice on March 3.

Emma Snyder, News Editor

Now that COVID-19 cases are low and the vaccine is being rolled out, athletics have been able to proceed with their seasons including the girl’s bowling team. Getting to this point, however, has been a challenge for both the team and their coaches. 

The girls bowling team is four and three so far this season but, they did not get this record easily. Bowling during the pandemic has created all sorts of unique adversities that the team has had to overcome but it has only made the team stronger. 

“I even feel like [the team] was almost stronger because we all missed each other [during our time apart],” said Meghan O’Neil, new girls bowling coach.

O’Neil and her assistant coach Sarah Ray are both new to coaching girls bowling at MCHS and the unconventional circumstances of the season have been challenging for the team. 

“I bowled in high school and the experience that these girls are getting this year is completely different than what I had,” said Ray. “It kind of stinks because this season they’re missing out on the full competition of high school bowling where the bowling alley is full, all the teams are there, parents are there, and it’s really loud and fun.”

“It’s still fun but it’s like someone let a little of the air out of the balloon,” said O’Neil. “It’s not its fullest potential but I really feel like, especially lately, I think we’re making the best of it.”

The girl’s bowling team started their season back in November, having several practices in preparation for their upcoming season. However, due to a surge of COVID-19 cases at the time, the team had to stop practice and suspend their season.

“We were practicing before winter break and then all the sudden it was like starting Friday we can’t practice anymore so we just tried to get in as much practice as we could those few days before,” said O’Neil. 

Since then, the girls bowling team has begun practicing three times a week and participating in bowling matches. 

“it’s just been crazy everything has been so up in the air and so inconsistent,” said O’Neil. “But the last month has been really really awesome because we have consistency and we feel like more of a team because we are able to actually do what we were meant to do.”

To ensure the safety of all the coaches and players, specific restrictions have been put in place due to the pandemic. On top of what has become the new normal, wearing masks and remaining socially distanced, spectators are not allowed at several of the matches and the girls are also playing separately for their opponents. 

“We have empty lanes as buffers between the teams,” said Ray. “Because of the buffer lanes, we’re so far away from the other teams. It’s a negative in terms of sportsmanship. Coach O’Neil and I, we like to let our girls know even though we’re so far away from them, and that this is not a typical season, we still want you to go up to them after the game and tell them good job and everything. We don’t want you to completely ignore them. We try to make the most out of it even though the meets are different.” 

“The most challenging part of playing bowling during a pandemic is it’s not the same as last year,” said sophomore bowling player, Shaina Houston. “Some duals we go to, they don’t allow spectators and when you go against a team normally they are bowl right next to you so it’s like that’s your competition to beat. But now with the pandemic, they bowl a couple of lanes down from you so it doesn’t feel like you’re actually competing against them.”

Despite all the challenges that team has had to overcome, they have grown and bonded together as a team. 

“The best part about this season is how close I am with the team I’ve known most of the girls from last year but there are some new girls and we all clicked like a family even with our new coaches,” said Houston. 

Similarly, both O’Neil and Ray have noticed how close the girls have become through playing together and helping each other improve. 

“The girls are just finally clicking,” said O’Neil. “You can tell that they’re from totally different social groups, you can tell they just don’t really talk outside of school and now they’re helping each other, working together, and building these great relationships.”

“[The best part of the season is] being able to bowl with the girls and being able to help each other improve,” said senior player, Veronica Chrisman.

The athletes have also been stepping up for each other by giving pointers and helping improve skills. Through helping each other be better players, the girls have grown closer.

“Obviously we’re the coaches and well step in and help the girls when they need help with the technical side of it and if they need a pep talk but, recently, sometimes before we can even get to the girls, the teammates are really stepping up,” said Ray.

“The best part of the season so far was building spectacular relationships with new people and current best friends,” said freshman player Madison Donovan.

The girls bowling team will finish their season with a virtual bowling tournament. “The will allow them to play against girls bowling teams across the state in a COVID friendly environment. 

“With our last competition being virtual it’s going to be a statewide competition giving all high schools that have girls bowling teams the opportunity to participate in a huge competition and have the chance at winning awards,” said Ray.