Max Carlson gets down low as he releases his bowling ball down the lane at the 2002 Youth Bowling League Championshiop. Hollie Joy Brown

2002 Youth Bowling League a success
Kids have fun, learn skills, play for championship

While the two teams were playing for first place, a spectator wouldn’t know there was a competition taking place at the 2002 Summer Youth Bowling League Championship July 19. Instead, high fives, clapping and support were given all around. A good score for one was a good score for all.
July 17, The Roller Rockers played against the Pinheads for 2nd and 3rd place. After winning second, the Pinheads went on to play Gutter Crew July 19 for the championship. Winning the first set 499-352 and the second 520-395, the Gutter Crew cleaned the alley for first place.
Supervised and directed by John and Janet O’Daniel, the league, in its second year, allowed the kids to learn the game, improve their skills and most importantly have fun.
“We try to emphasize fun, not so much scores and skills,” John said. “One girl bowled a zero game and didn’t get mad. The next game she bowled a 39.”
When the league started this summer, John said he and his wife Janet taught some skills before games and would help those who needed it during the games. Younger kids also learn by watching the older kids and how they play, he said.
Skills aren’t the only things they have learned, he said.
“They’re learning etiquettes,” John said, explaining that they know to stand behind the line while others bowl to minimize distractions.
At the pizza party following the championship, the kids unanimously said they liked this year better than last.
This year,the six teams and 26 bowlers participated in a 10 game, two set playing schedule, similar to adult bowling, he said.
Last year, the league operated differently, John said. There were no teams or game schedules and all the kids could play Mondays and Tuesdays, which sometimes resulted in up to 16 kids at a time, he said.
The kids didn’t seem to like that because they sometimes had to share frames, wait a long time to bowl and didn’t know when it was their turn, John said.
“There are more teams (this year) and it’s a little bit more competitive,” he said.
Bowlers also receive handicaps, which allow scores to be closer to other players, creating a better oppertunity for lower scorers, he said. However, if everyone bowled their average, the better players will win, John said.
“Kids seem to really like this,” he said. “They have to carry their own weight for their own scores. When they do good, they really feel good because no one else helped them.”
Each team played 10 games, but individuals had the opportunity to bowl as a sub if other kids were absent. Each team played each other once with two games per set. Team pins were totaled if each team won one set each.
To create teams and still have a fair but competetive atmosphere, John and Janet looked at averages from last year’s league and the last years one month winter league. They mixed high scorers and low scorers on each team and the teams then chose their names.
“Working with the kids,” was Janet’s favorite part of the league. She said she was surprised how well they played.
“They are doing an excellent job,” she said.
The two worked with the kids before and enjoyed it, so they decided to start the summer league, she said.
“We thought it would be a good thing for them to do during the summer time,” she said.
Brian Beckner said laughing, “I’m not too good at bowling, the last game really sucked,” however, he said he really liked making three strikes in one game.
Conner Kasler said his favorite part of the summer league was making his first strike ever and seeing himself improve.
Bryce Jones said he could tell he was bowling better after he made three strikes in a row.
“Oh yeah, big time,” he said of his noticed improvement.
Lachlan Dennis said his favorite part of the league was winning money. He won 10 dollars in Sakajawea coins for being the most fun to bowl with, and an additional coin when his team, Destruction Inc., took fifth place.
First place taker and frequent bowler Kyle Ellis had an ending average of 138, five pins more than his starting average.
“I didn’t really have a favorite part, I just like to bowl,” the champion said.
Lanes and awards, which were given to every player, were provided by the Elks and paperwork and food were provided by the Community Ed.

Subbing: Brian Beckner, Cirai Mason, Conner Kasler.
Perfect attendance: Jaycee Ellis, Jason O’Daniel, Bryce Jones, Quinn Weber, Jesse Ellis.
Most improved: Kaylie O’Daniel.
Most fun to bowl with: Lachlan Dennis
Best sportsmanship: Amanda Jensen

Team placements
First place: Gutter Crew
Second: Pin Heads
Third: Roller Rockers
Fourth: Strikes R’ Us
Fifth: Destruction Inc.
Sixth: Wrecking Balls