KING PINS

Ball State bowling teams garner recognition for their sport.

The men's and women's bowling teams practice during the week, compete in tournaments on weekends and raise funds in addition to paying out-of-pocket expenses to participate.

"We're the competitive side to bowling here on campus unlike intramurals," said Doug Gibson, coach of Ball State's bowling club.

The club is getting ready to go to sectionals March 23-24 in either Louisville, Ky. or Downingtown, Pa. The top four men's and the top four women's teams will then advance to the national tournament in Buffalo, N.Y.

Fund-raising efforts

The bowling season started the first week of October in Milwaukee and ended in Indianapolis on Feb. 24. This year, the team traveled to cities such as St. Louis, Chicago, South Bend, Terre Haute and Cincinnati. The team usually travels to about 15 tournaments in a season.

It recruits from all over the state and next year will welcome women from New Jersey to the team.

Off the bowling lanes, the team supports itself via fund-raising campaigns such as working the Arby's concession stand at events in Indianapolis' Conseco Fieldhouse, including concerts and Pacers games.

In the past the team has also held bowl-a-thons, in which members go out to collect donations and then bowl 100 strikes. Team members receive donations for each strike they bowl. At last year's bowl-a-thon, it took one hour and 15 minutes to bowl 100 strikes.

There is still a team on campus, but it is not recognized as the "team," said former team member and graduate student, Shanna Bass. It is recognized as a club sport and is sponsored by a faculty member. Games and Frames sponsors the bowling team for one tournament that is held at different universities every year.

Recognition

"The Ball State Athletic Department doesn't sponsor the team financially, but they do sign off on travel plans and everything else the team does," Gibson said.

The Student Center is the team's only sponsor. In addition, team members each pay $100 a semester in dues to help pay for tournament entry fees and hotels to stay in during tournaments.

"We can get out of our classes to leave early on Thursdays or Fridays with a permission slip to leave for tournaments," said senior Trent Burns, captain of the men's team. "We take university vehicles to go to tournaments but if the tournament is close enough, we just take our own vehicles.

"We've gotten a lot of recognition lately because we bowled in the Rock-N-Bowl in Las Vegas twice two years ago. After bowling in that tournament, professors and a lot more people on campus realized we have a bowling team."

Membership

Burns started bowling at the age of three after his grandfather, who bowled professionally, got him interested in the sport.

The team takes six members to a tournament. The sixth person acts as an alternate in case of injury, illness or if someone is just bowling bad and needs to be replaced.

The team requires its members to maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0 and must be registered for at least 12 credit hours.

Bass, like many other bowlers, owns a lot of her own equipment.

"I have equipment that is fit to my hand," she said. "Others can use it but it would not be very comfortable for them to use. I have three different types of (bowling) balls- resin, urethane and plastic. All the (bowling) balls react differently to the oil on the lanes."

Love of the Game

"I love bowling because it continues to challenge me all the time. There is something you can improve in the game," Bass said. "It's about competing against yourself. It released a lot of stress for me. I look forward to being around the people in the league."

Bass also said bowling is an athletic experience in addition to being a social one.

"It's easy exercise," she said. "Bowling is one of two sports that use all your muscles at once. The other is swimming."

Muncie bowling alleys offer options for recreational, league play

Avid bowlers can turn the occasional game into a full-fledged hobby by participating in league play.

Liberty Bowl, 1115 S. Liberty St., has about 1,500 league bowlers, owner Bob Osborn said.

"Basically we have men's, women's, junior and mixed leagues," he said. "We used to advertise leagues in newspapers and radio, but most the time anymore we just do in-house advertising with our own flyers."

Osborn said the bowling alley attempts to draw in Ball State students with promotions.

"We usually have between 30 to 50 BSU students in here on Wednesday nights," he said. "We offer them a beer special, too, which helps."

According to Stan Willis, manager of Munsee Lanes, bowling is a family sport for all ages.

"I've seen bowlers anywhere from 3 years old all the way up to 90," he said. "We advertise to start a bowling league and try to get the bowlers in and go from there. We try to put something together the bowlers are happy and comfortable with."

Clancy's Village Bowl, 4805 N. Wheeling Ave., also offers league options.

"Anybody interested in starting their own league just give us their name and phone number and what kind of league they want to start mens, womens or mixed," said Kevin Clark, manager of Clancy's. "We will help them put together a league and sign a contract."

Recreation Programs offers bowling tournaments on campus. Robert Borden, graduate assistant in charge of intramural sports, said the tournaments draw few students.

"I think people would rather play basketball around here," Borden said. "We get fraternities and sorority teams, so they can get points if they win the tournament and get a banner and a trophy in Iriving Gym if they win. We also have residence hall competitions."

For those not interested in joining a league, the on-campus bowling alley offers open bowling at $2 pergame for students.

The eight-lane bowling alley also offers cosmic bowling Friday and Saturday nights. Cosmic bowling features black lights and sound-responsive lights and music.

Scott Evans, operations manager for Games and Frames, recommends students come to the Student Center during the week to bowl.

"Games and Frames is good for people who just want to come in through the week, because Muncie bowling alleys have leagues through the week," Evans said.

"Bowling is becoming more popular because it is a cheaper form of entertainment," he said. "Bowling doesn't depend on the weather, so people come in during the winter months."


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