Inspired this spring by the Byrd High School girls bowling team knocking off the state’s No. 1 seed in the playoffs and finishing as the surprising, out-of-nowhere state runner-up, I accepted the challenge to captain a team last week in the 2022 “Surfs Up” Bowling Bash at the Four Seasons Bowling Center in Alexandria.
The event was one of many that made up the always-good-times Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Week, which began Thursday with a press conference to meet the Class of 2022 and ended with the induction of that class Saturday at the Natchitoches Events Center.
In between was tomfoolery, something I know a little something about.
The Big Weekend rolls around every year at this time, and all are welcome, including at the bowling event. Grab five folks, a few bucks, and you’re in. Go to LASportsHall.com and see pictures and videos of all the events and start thinking about next year. I talked with a couple of dozen first-timers who say they’ll be back.
And why? Because a good time was had by all. Especially by me. And especially bowling, because we won.
Not only won, but shattered the events record with a score of 925 for our five-man team in 10 frames of team bowling. (They tell me that’s good. What I know about bowling, you could fit inside a bowling ball’s finger hole.)
As a nod to the 50th anniversary of Title IX — and an equal nod (OK, a bigger nod) to them being really good — I recruited members of Louisiana Tech’s girls bowling team. They accepted. Even without under-the-table cash or an NIL deal.
Just solid old-school recruiting. It all comes back to that when you’re trying to build a one-game, winner-take-all team. Surround yourself with quality kegglers.
It is a plus that, besides finishing their most recent season with 33 wins over top-25 teams, 20 wins over Top-10 teams, 12 wins over Top-5 teams, three wins over No. 2 and two wins over the country’s top-ranked team at the time, these young female student-athletes are a joy to be around.
And even more fun since they earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament and finished as an Elite 8 team.
Friday in Alexandria, they finished as an Elite 1.
Our “five-man team” team is a figure of speech. There was me, bowling-lover-gone-bowling-madman/wizard Coach Matt Nantais, and three willing talents from the team, listed here with some of their 2021-22 accomplishments:
Averi Brown, a grad student from Columbus, Ohio who qualified for the singles national championships; Patricia Rosales, who made a pair of All-Tournament teams; and,
Danielle Jedlicki, who bowled two perfect games, was named to a pair of All-Tournament teams and earned a Tournament MVP.
They had rosin bags. Little pieces of tape on their fingers. A hand fan. Braces for their wrists. Everything but eye black. In it to win it, they were.
Did you even know Tech had a bowling team? Now you do. And the state does. And next year, hopefully more of the nation will know. The national championships will be in Vegas next year. Maybe I’ll “need” to go cover it.
So think about going to some or all of the Hall of Fame events next year. And think about going bowling. Start now if you want a chance to beat us.
Which you will, because I think we’ve been, for future events, disqualified.
But it sure was fun while it lasted.
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