Hoover Girls Bowling
Caroline Hart is one of a handful of Hoover girls who have picked up bowling as a second sport, along with softball.
Leslie Norris is trying to get the word out.
“I try to bring it up as much as I can,” she said. “We all post stuff on Instagram and talk about it all the time. People ask, ‘Wait, you’re on the bowling team? We have that?’ I get the name out there.”
The Hoover High School girls bowling team is in its first year of competition and trying to establish a foundation for a new athletics program.
Competing against many schools that have fielded teams for the past year or two, the Bucs began the season a step behind the others. But after taking their lumps in the first few matches, they have started to gain some traction.
“Our main goal — since it is our first year and a lot of other teams have been working for multiple years — is to kind of establish the program so that in future years we can build on and get to the same caliber as the other teams that are more experienced,” Norris said.
When asked about how much the team has improved over the last handful of months, Abby Tissier exclaimed, “A substantial amount.”
The varsity team consists solely of girls who also play softball, but Kellie Eubanks — who serves as the bowling coach as well as an assistant on the softball team — has lauded the girls on the team for their efforts in getting the team jumpstarted, with the hopes it will attract a more diverse crowd in the coming years.
In sanctioned bowling matches, teams compete with five bowlers. The first aspect is a traditional round, in which each of the five players bowls a game of 10 frames, with the total scores tallied.
After that, there are three Baker games, a format that requires slightly more strategy.
In a Baker game, each of the five players rotates through twice to complete a single 10-frame game. Ideally, the most experienced player will take the role of anchor, bowling the fifth and 10th frames. Hoover does not have a single girl that always handles that role, but even in that slot, the pressure does not bother Tissier, a catcher who has signed with Auburn to play softball.
“There’s not as much pressure as in softball,” she said. “We don’t put a lot of pressure on ourselves.”
That’s not to say the girls are immune to any sort of anxiety. Tissier and Norris joked about each player’s nervous quirks, many that involve the hand towels the players use before bowling.
“When I get nervous, I tie all the towels in knots and they get mad at me,” Norris said lightly.
Against Hueytown on Dec. 12, Hoover defeated Hueytown, behind Norris, Tissier, Caroline Hart, Willa Green and Sydney Chandler.
Hoover’s bowlers are not technically advanced enough to know precisely how to correct themselves after mistakes or to build upon a successful frame, but they are rapidly improving, competing and having fun at the same time.
“It’s so fun,” Tissier said. “I’m so competitive; it’s just kind of like an outlet for us. If you’re terrible, it happens. But I’m really happy that we did it.”
The relationships that are being further cultivated can’t hurt once softball season arrives.
“We’re bonding more with the other seniors so we’re able to lead more on the softball field, because we’re more comfortable with each other,” Norris said.