Let The Good Times Roll

(L-R) Evey Martin, Grace Otwell,  Callie-Jo Brookes,  Abby Wren,  Sydney Reynolds. photo by Matt Cornelius
(L-R) Evey Martin, Grace Otwell, Callie-Jo Brookes, Abby Wren, Sydney Reynolds. photo by Matt Cornelius

Let The Good Times Roll

Would you believe bowling dates back to 5200 BC? The ancient Egyptians rolled stones at objects aiming to knock them over. Over time, other bowling variations emerged from the original ancient Egyptian game. Today, besides the mainstream version of bowling, two different forms of the game continue to be played, including lawn bowling and Bocce. Several historical figures that have enjoyed the sport are King Henry VIII and Martin Luther. Francis Drake is rumored to have been engrossed in a game at the arrival of the Spanish armada. He did not let their appearance distract him too much, though. He said, “We have time enough to finish the game and beat the Spaniards, too.”

Bowling’s popularity has endured for a very long time and has been a much-loved sport by many. It is so loved to this day that it is the number one recreational activity in the United States! Most of us have been to a bowling alley and have knocked down a few pins at a birthday party or two. Whether you are a natural or one whose ball always seems to end up in the gutter, skill and strategy are required to hit the mark consistently.

The Arkansas High School (AHS) bowling team knows a thing or two about that strategy. They have recently ended a very successful season, winning matches against Lakeside and Hot Springs, and four team members qualified to compete in the State Bowling Tournament in Rogers, Arkansas. Those team members include Callie-Jo Brookes, Evey Martin, Abbie Wren and La’Damien Davis. Although the season was cut short because of COVID-19, the team gave it their all and played hard. Coach Roger Rico expressed how proud he was of the team this season. “The team worked so hard every day to get better, even those in their first year on the bowling team.”

The AHS team, Varsity and Junior Varsity combined, comprises 15 girls and 15 boys. The season begins at the end of November and typically lasts until the beginning of February. During each season, the team competes against many schools across the state of Arkansas: Lakeside, Lake Hamilton, Benton, Hot Springs, Little Rock Christian, Siloam Springs, Greenwood, Russellville, Van Buren and Alma. AHS has consistently achieved successful seasons and produced top-notch players.

Arkansas High has had a bowling team for the past decade. For the past seven of those years, Coach Rico has been leading the team. His love for bowling goes back to his high school days. The school he attended did not have a bowling team, so he participated as part of the junior leagues of his local lanes. Fortunately, Coach Rico’s AHS team is able to practice and compete more formally, thanks in part to Holiday Bowl on State Line, where they are always more than accommodated by the staff and owner. Rico expressed how extremely grateful he is for the support Holiday Bowl has shown and the opportunity they have given the team to practice. “The owner and managers at Holiday Bowl do a great job allowing us to come and practice. They are the reason this team can compete and get better,” he said. Not only does the team practice at Holiday Bowl, but it is also where they play all their home matches.

High school bowling is more than a fun pastime. Scholarships are offered to the most successful bowlers. In fact, two past AHS team members received scholarships and are currently bowling on college teams. Linda Himes, daughter of Holiday Bowl’s General Manager, Larry Himes, received a bowling scholarship from Kansas Wesleyan University. Millie Henderson is attending Dallas Baptist University also on a bowling scholarship. Texarkana Arkansas School District is proud of these students and this year’s bowling team for all their hard work.

“I enjoy watching the kids get better and when their hard work pays off,” said Coach Rico. He is already looking forward to next season as he plans to “make a run at winning the Conference and State Championship Tournaments.” He is excited to have all the girls back next season, and their drive to get better has Coach Rico ready to bring home the victory. This season’s success has given Rico and the team new confidence and just the drive they need to win the State Championship next season. Rico expressed great pride in the team’s success and expects next season will be even better. “Remember,” he said, “it’s not about how you bowl, it’s about how you roll!”


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