The student news site of Hillcrest High School

The Hawk Eye

The student news site of Hillcrest High School

The Hawk Eye

The student news site of Hillcrest High School

The Hawk Eye

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Jakemah Calhoun, Senior Staff Writer • April 30, 2024

My Experience on the Bowling Team


Throughout my four years of high school, I didn’t participate in many extracurricular activities. Since this is my senior year, I thought that I should do as much as possible so that I don’t have any regrets. After volleyball season (I was a manager) was over, I wasn’t really sure what was next for me. When I realized that Mr. Ramel was the girls bowling coach, I decided to go for it. I liked having Ramel as a teacher, and I did like bowling to some degree, so I thought it would be a good sport for me. I didn’t want to do it alone, so my friend and I decided to sign up and do it together. At the time, it was just something to do. Little did I know that it would become much more than that.

Humble Beginnings 

I’ve been bowling before; I even went bowling for my birthday. That being said, I wasn’t particularly good at it. The bowling balls were usually too heavy for me anyways. But it’s just throwing a ball right? How hard can it be? I would soon find out how wrong I was. There were only 11 of us (he could only take 13 girls), so everyone made the team. After tryouts, it was time to get to work, and learn how to bowl properly. Coach Ramel taught us that bowling is a 5 step process. Hold your ball, take three steps, swing your arm on the third step, and release on the fifth step. When you release the ball, your hand should be up as if you’re “shaking hands with Jesus”.

When I tried doing it, the wheels that were turning in my head were going into overdrive. It felt like there was too much going on. Counting the steps in my head plus needing to remember to keep my arm straight was too much. Coach Ramel reassured me that by our first match, I wouldn’t be counting my steps anymore (he was wrong).  After a couple days of practice, I was ready to give up (I get discouraged easily). I couldn’t understand why things seem to click for everyone else but not me. Ramel said that bowling is 90% mental and 10% athleticism. I didn’t really believe him at first, but it’s probably true. Fast forward to our first match (I’m on JV). I was really nervous and wanted to do well. My parents even came to support me. In my opinion, I didn’t do as well as I wish I had. My scores were in the 50s and 60s. But with my first match out of the way, I could now focus on getting better. There was nowhere left to go but up.

Finding My Groove

I had periods where I seemed to improve and do well, then I started doing poorly again. To this day I still don’t understand why, but it is what it is. A common problem that was constantly pointed out to me by Coach Ramel and Coach Mulcahy is how my arm tends to move across my body instead of going straight up. It was hard for me to be cognizant of my steps and keep my arm and shoulder straight at the same time. After all, when I’m mid swing I can’t see or feel which direction my arm is going. There was no solution other than I just had to practice.

Alexis earns the Turkey Hat!

A few practices and matches in, I eventually found my way. I was somewhat consistent with my averages (I averaged around 78). I wasn’t completely satisfied with this average, but I could see the improvement. I would happily jump up and down whenever I got a strike! A moment I’ll never forget is when I got a turkey at one of our Saturday tournaments. When I hit that first strike I was excited. When I hit that second strike, I knew that I had one chance to get this turkey. I rolled back my shoulders, focused in on my mark, took a deep breath, and started walking. When I watched the ball roll down the alley and knock all those pins down, I can’t even describe to you the joy I felt. Finally getting to wear that turkey hat was the highlight of my bowling career.

My Overall Experience 

My bowling experience was beautiful. Although I wanted to quit at first, Ramel and I were both glad that I didn’t. Getting to know my teammates and Coach Mulcahy was one of the best parts of the whole experience. Saturday tournaments, goofing around during practice, cheering each other on during matches, I loved it all. I’m really sad that it’s over now. I enjoyed every minute of it. These days I don’t really know what to do with myself anymore. At first I was doing it just to have something to do, but I really grew to love the sport. It’s what I looked forward to everyday.

I almost cried on our senior night because I was so overwhelmed by all the love I received from my coaches and teammates. I wish that our season was longer. I miss bowling so much. I don’t know where I’ll go next, but what I do know is that I won’t forget the good times that I had with all of my teammates. I also won’t forget the feeling of belongingness that I felt. Bowling might just be one of my top 5 sports now.

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Alexis Dickens
Alexis Dickens, Senior Staff Writer

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  • A

    Arianna RouleFeb 23, 2024 at 10:40 am

    Aweee Alexis this is so sweet, I’m very glad about your accomplishments, and the way you kept it up with all the doubt and thrived very well. Im going to miss you so much, i love youuu -Ari.