When one thinks of bowling, it is typical to think of Al Bundy’s bowling team from “Married With Children” or fondly remember the days from childhood enjoying birthday parties at Bumper Bowl Night.
The UCSB bowling club team is neither of these. The squad is a competitive sport club team that competes at the intercollegiate level at large tournaments throughout California and Nevada, and the Gauchos are planning a trip to St. Louis.
“Our biggest problem is that no one knows we are out there,” senior team president Tim McCormick said. “It doesn’t help that [Zodo’s Bowling & Beyond] is closed.”
With Zodo’s bowling alley, formerly Orchid Bowl, closed for renovation since summer, the team must travel to Ventura for its practices. The team practices on Wednesday and Saturday but will probably change the practice times and days once Zodo’s reopens in November.
“We have had a lot of people say they are interested in our team, but they don’t want to drive to Ventura, so Zodo’s closing is a real problem for us,” McCormick said.
With a team consisting of only nine members, all of whom are men, the club actively seeks to draw more women into the sport and onto the team. It is always looking for more athletes, whether they have previous experience or not. The team members really attempt to emphasize teaching, coaching and learning from each other. If people are interested in the team but have never bowled before, the team is willing to teach them all the skills they need in order to be successful members.
“[Bowling] is a way for me to compete at something I’m good at,” senior Steven Rodriguez said. “It’s like going bowling with a bunch of your friends. We have a lot of fun at our practices.”
With new coach Dan Hollowell back for his second stint coaching the UCSB squad, the team looks forward to improving its fundamentals.
“I’ve been around bowling for a long time but didn’t learn how to bowl well until I was in my 40s,” Hollowell said. “I have a few basic rules, but if the team wants to have fun, I say have fun.”
With about six players averaging only a score of 200 out of a possible 300, the team knows it is not made up of professional bowlers who have been competing since they were young kids. McCormick began bowling only last year, while many other players have been bowling only since high school.
Most of UCSB’s biggest competition comes from the Cal State universities, including San Jose State and Fresno State, among many others. At each tournament, the schools compete for total tournament points against about 16 other squads. The tournament points are then used to qualify the team for the regional championships, held in Las Vegas in February. Because the Southern California league was dissembled last year due to a lack of members, the team must compete against almost all the teams within the state, which gives the team a better opportunity to face quality competition.
“We are just trying to compete in as many competitions as possible this year,” McCormick said.
Santa Barbara is working toward building a quality program that will far surpass any previous team. The addition of Hollowell has solidified the team.
“We have a lot of seniors on the team, so we are really looking for a lot of freshmen and sophomores to come out and help carry the team into the years,” McCormick said.
The team is lucky in that it does have a very strong community trying to help it by donating bowling balls and shoes, and assisting with purchasing new bowling shirts. With all this support, the team really looks forward to making a significant impact this year, especially with its first competition, the West Coast Championships, coming up at UC Davis on Nov. 2.
“It doesn’t take an eternity to get good at bowling, only an eternity to get great,” McCormick said. ” But to get a good average it doesn’t take long, especially when you have a good coach.”
For more information about the UCSB bowling club team, please visit www.geocities.com/ucsbbowling.
UPCOMING EVENTS FOR SPORT CLUBS:
Bowling – Nov. 2 – West Coast Championships at UC Davis
Fencing – Nov. 2 – at the Calif. Institute of Technology
Men’s Lacrosse – Nov. 2-3 – LMU Tournament
Rowing – Nov. 2 – Parents’ Weekend at Lake Cachuma, 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Rugby – Nov. 2-3 – Las Vegas Tournament
Sailing – Nov. 2-3 – Jean Schenck Team Race at UC Irvine
Surfing – Nov. 2 – #2 Southwest Conference competition at San Diego’s Black’s Beach