Don't call it a comeback

Bowling Club looks to reinvent, reinvigorate

By Autumn Burin | 9/25/13 6:19pm


On an average evening at the Spectrum Lanes bowling alley, the top 40 hits playing over the
loudspeaker are drowned out by the chatter of avid bowlers. The resounding crash of the ball striking
the perfectly-placed pins is always followed by an exclamation of enthusiasm, and among the diverse
crowd there is a new group of bowlers—somewhat new, that is.

The Grand Valley State University club bowling team has been reinstated.

In years past, GVSU’s bowling team has been low-key, focusing more on having fun than competing.
This philosophy brought ups and downs for the program and its previous members.

“The bowling team was a big powerhouse in the collegiate bowling scene about 5 years ago,” former
team captain Aaron Ohl said. “With an incoming of freshman talent and a few experienced upperclass
bowlers on the team, there was great anticipation for what we could do.”

Unfortunately, many of the bowlers transferred after that first year to Davenport University due to its
competitive bowling program.

“This left the team in a very bad spot,” Ohl said. “Many athletes decided not to continue on the team
since they felt it was a waste of their time if they had no chance of winning.”

However, that is all about to change with the help and dedication of head coach Mike Eaton.

“(Eaton) is very well-experienced and is really trying to get the bowling program going,” club member
Bridget Maul said. “The bowling program would not exist and would be way too much money without
him.”

Eaton is an owner of the bowling alley where the team practices, so he is easily accessible whenever
they need bowling advice.

Although they haven’t had any competitions yet, Maul is nervous but excited to get the ball rolling.

“Right now we are working on breaking bad habits as well as teaching new people and trying to get
people to join,” Maul said.

Eaton is also excited for the revival of the bowling team. He said that for this first year, his goal is to
recruit and retain enough students to develop the program.

“And to not be embarrassed, that would be a goal for this year, something to start with,” Eaton said.

Eaton wants the team to be proud of their involvement with the team and to have the chance to
improve their bowling skills. He also suggests for the more hesitant, prospective participants to come
see what a college-level bowling team looks like.

“That’s the way we are going to try and get some players this year,” Eaton said.

Eaton is already the coach of a high school program. He was tired of his athletes not being able to
bowl competitively at GVSU. They would either have to sacrifice the education they wanted or their
bowling career, so he decided to reinvent the program that he always dreamed of athletes being able
to have in college.

“Kids need to understand this is a competitive program,” he said. “We can go out and beat some other
universities and accomplish something and have fun doing it.”

Although it has a long way to go, the GVSU bowling team is going to great lengths to start something
big. The revised bowling team will focus on giving aspiring young bowlers the chance to carry on their
bowling career through college.

“The athletes are excited about getting competitive and getting started right off the back,” Eaton said.
“It’s still not too late to join the program.”

aburin@lanthorn.com

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