Filling the lanes: Fairfield bowling program full of participants
There is something unique about bowling that maybe no other sport can offer.
Nearly everyone can play it. Competitors don’t need to be agile, speedy, or able to bench press 250 pounds. All they need is a little finesse.
Coach Lisa Greenig grew up bowling, and when Fairfield High School wanted to give bowling club status at the school, Greenig volunteered to coach. This is now the fifth year the program has had varsity sport status.
“It really helps to have someone who has bowled to instruct the kids,” Greenig said.
Greenig and assistant coach Bryan Marlay both are volunteers and are not paid for their efforts. The program is in its fifth year of probationary status, meaning that after this season, the school will make the decision of whether to keep the sport or not. Interest in bowling has risen from 23 participants the first year to 40 participants this year, so there is definitely enough positive momentum to keep bowling balls rolling for another winter.
The bowling program was certainly not always what it is today. The Saturday morning league, which helps up-and-comers become established bowlers, has helped cultivate interest in younger kids. Coaches are able to teach the students technique and how to make adjustments. If a bowler can read the lane and adjust to the way the ball is rolling, scores can be raised drastically.
“I like getting the newbies because they haven’t picked up any bad habits yet,” Greenig said. “We spend the first three practices just covering technique and how to hold the ball.”
Bowling is more difficult than what people think. No one really thinks about it until they start tossing gutter balls. Hand placement and technique is very important. So is the difference between synthetic lanes and wooden lanes. There are a plethora of aspects to reaching your bowling potential.
Who knew is was so complicated, huh?
Varsity spots are going to be up for the taking this season. The bowling program graduated 17 seniors from last year’s team. Six spots need to be filled on the girl’s side and on the boy’s side.
Juniors Cody Craff and Andrew Chatfield will be leading the varsity boys. After that, there is a ton of talent waiting to compete for the last four spots.
“This new class of freshmen has a lot of talent. Boys and girls both,” said Marlay.
Freshmen girls Sara Trent, Kylee Marlay, Taylor Marlay, Shannon Morrissey and Abby Adam all have serious chances of making the varsity roster.
Mount Pleasant, Keokuk and Washington round out the Southeast bowling conference. The loss of a bowling alley in Fort Madison shut down that program. Whatever the competition shapes up to be, Greenig and company will hope another successful season awaits them on the lanes.
“Bowling is a life skill,” Greenig said. “It’s something that when you’re old like me, you can still play it. Some kids are just getting experience and having fun. Others are trying to move up the chain and compete.”
The Fairfield team travels Dec. 17 to Keokuk for the first competition of the year.