There are 32 club sports at the University of Miami. If you were to name them you would probably start somewhere between baseball and volleyball. Then, as they get more obscure, you would move on to scuba diving and water polo. Maybe you would even get to roller hockey. But did you know there is a bowling club?
Probably not. Most people don’t.
But why does a sport that enjoys great popularity across the nation have so little attention at a university that at one point in time even had its own bowling alleys? Especially considering that the prototype of the club was conceived about 25 years ago.
“Bowling took a down-plunge, [a] nationwide trend and then so [the bowling alleys] weren’t renovated,” said Rhonda DuBord, the financial adviser for the club. “The bowling club moved off campus and with that, two years, later they had their best year ever… regional championship, had an outstanding national player and did great. That was in ’87 and ’89.”
So what happened?
“Some presidents just didn’t care and they just let the club die,” said junior Lauren Toribio, current president of the club.
Previous poor leadership and a lack of dedication have led to less funding and, as a result, less prominence on campus. But with the current team it seems that the club is on the upswing again.
“We’re still trying to bring the club out. It died out a long time ago and now we’re trying to bring it back, which is still a process,” Toribio said.
It might be a process, but it seems to be working.
“This year was the big year; we got a lot of people we weren’t expecting,” said sophomore Brad Morris, who has been playing competitively since he was 5 years old.
Both Morris and Toribio play competitively for the club and practice with seven other members every Sunday at 9:30 a.m. at Bird Bowl.
At approximately 9:40 a.m., the first pins start hitting the hardwood. As the X’s add up on the scoreboard, some players stand out more than others, like Seth Gram, who once threw an astounding nine strikes in a row.
Every player seems to have his own stance and special swing, both acquired over years and years of practice.
And just like how most of the players started playing with their families, the club itself feels like one big, ambitious family- a family that is trying to resurrect a club that almost died out completely. The club has big goals for the future. The members plan to hold tryouts for both the women’s and the men’s competitive team. And eventually, they hope to attend tournaments outside of Florida.
As of now it’s still baby steps. One pin at a time.
Patrick Riley may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org