No one understands what a college bowler goes through except a bowler. This world is so much different from other collegiate sports (trust me, I have played two others). No matter what level your team competes at, here are a few things that all college bowlers can relate to:
1. You stand all day.
Yes, this is not a joke. From the moment you walk into the bowling alley at 8 a.m., you are standing... and standing... and standing until 5 p.m. comes around and you can finally go to your hotel.
2. You live off granola bars.
Unless your parents show up and bring fruit, sandwiches and other healthy things to eat, you will most likely be stuck eating granola bars, if anything, throughout the day.
3. And you order everything off the menu when you finally get real food.
Sometimes, you order more with your eyes than with your stomach.
4. You spend all your time with the same people.
And those same people are your teammates. Between practice at least three times a week, traveling from Thursday to Sunday and then starting the whole process over again the next week, you spend a lot of time with your team. Most of the time, they end up being your best friends.
5. All you do is travel.
Since college bowling is spread throughout the country and there are no divisions (like Divisions I, II and III in other sports), you literally spend all of your time in a cramped van the same people mentioned above.
6. You have the longest season of any team on campus.
Unlike volleyball, softball, basketball, baseball or any other sport I did not mention, you are literally in season from Oct. 1 until the end of March or beginning of April, depending on if you make it to Nationals. And that does not include preseason workouts.
7. You are probably friends with at least one person on every other team.
If there is not anything more true in this article, it is this. No matter what team you face, you will probably be friends with at least one person on the other team. Unlike other sports, you are actually friends with the competition.
8. Most bowlers end up dating bowlers.
Since men's and women's bowling is done in the same venue for some college tournaments, the guys and girls get to spend a lot of time together. You probably know at least 10 couples on the top of your head that met through bowling.
9. What are weekends?
When it is time for competition, most tournaments will run either Friday to Sunday or Saturday to Sunday. You also need to include the travel day before that, and there goes your weekend. And trust me, you won't get another free one until April.
10. What bowling balls should you bring this weekend?
You are only allowed to bring five bowling balls with you, but which ones should you bring (for non-bowlers, there is a difference between them, I promise)? It is probably some of the hardest decisions you make on a week-to-week basis.
11. When the lanes don't play like they should.
You spent all week practicing on the shot and now, it is completely different. You just have to hope one of the five bowling balls you brought will work on whatever the oil machine decided to put out that day.
12. Shoe covers... you need them.
Whenever you are at the bowling alley and it's not for a tournament, people will always question why you have a cover on your shoe. For those questioning it, I promise it's a necessity.
13. Paddock areas are the worst.
No matter what bowling alley you are at, there is never a good set up for you to leave your stuff. You just hope that all of your stuff stays with your team and that you do not trip on a bowling ball trying to get out.
14. You have to get your workouts in.
Yes, college bowlers work out and it is more than just a jog around the block. You have to fit your workouts in to your schedule along with practices, travel and class, which is the whole reason you are in college in the first place.
15. Your team is a family.
It does not matter what is going on, you and your teammates would do anything for each other. There is not a closer bond than the one you have with your team.