2018-01-21 / Insight

Lapeer teen bowls 300

He’s among a growing number of young bowlers
810-452-2609 • adietderich@mihomepaper.com

Nathan Farrington Nathan Farrington LAPEER — Nathan Farrington came pretty darn close to throwing a perfect bowling game last year, but ended up excruciatingly short.

How short of the perfect bowling score of 300?

He — as the lingo goes

— “threw” a 290.

That wasn’t his closest, either.

“Last season, I rolled a 297…that’s 11 strikes in a row and then a seven-count on the last ball,” Farrington said.

Of previously coming up three pins short of a perfect game, Farrington summed it up in simple terms: “That sucked.”

Alas, he “finally” threw a 300 during an open bowling game last week at Gerlach’s Bowling Center in Lapeer.

And in case you’re wondering why the “finally” is in quotes, it’s because Farrington is only a 16-year-old junior at Lapeer High School, where he also is a member of the bowling team.

“Throwing that last strike was an amazing feeling,” Farrington said, noting it was his first 300 game and “I do not believe it will be the last.”

According to the website Kids Learn to Bowl, he’s one of about 54,000 across the country participating in high school varsity bowling. The site calls it one of the fastest growing high school sports.

That’s consistent with another claim: that “over 18.8 million youth bowl each year. Bowling centers across the country provide organized youth programs where kids can meet new friends and learn to compete together in individual and team environments.”

The site highlights benefits in many areas: educational, social, psychological, and health.

Over 250 colleges offer collegiate bowling, with many of these schools providing scholarship opportunities.

Nathan Farrington (front row, left) poses for a photo with the rest of his team and coaches from last year. Next to him is Joey Novick. The back row, from left to right, is Coach Don Bell, Alex Bell, Nick Heichel, Lukas Williams, and Coach Don Heichel. 
Submitted photo Nathan Farrington (front row, left) poses for a photo with the rest of his team and coaches from last year. Next to him is Joey Novick. The back row, from left to right, is Coach Don Bell, Alex Bell, Nick Heichel, Lukas Williams, and Coach Don Heichel. Submitted photo The bowling industry generates more than $6 million in scholarships each year.

Bowling meets the five standards for physical education set by SHAPE America.

Bowling promotes learning of math skills by calculating scores, figuring averages and learning mathematical systems to adjust to lane conditions and spare shooting.

Advanced bowling incorporates physics and science including understanding friction, ball motion and biomechanics to name a few.

Youth who participate in high school bowling programs, are more likely to go to college and bowl in a collegiate program and are more likely to finish a college degree. College bowling is one of the fastest growing collegiate sports.

Organized bowling programs provide life skills such as time management, and understanding winning and losing.

Statistics show that kids that are involved in sports activities are less stressed and less likely to suffer from depression.

Three games of bowling equal one mile of walking.

Bowling uses 134 muscles.

Competitive bowling promotes the concept of overall fitness and nutrition. Most college bowling programs focus on physical fitness and nutritional knowledge for peak performance.

It can also contribute to a family bond, as with Nathan Farrington, his twin brother, Spencer, and his mother, Amy Jo Farrington.

“I think it all started when his twin brother started bowling when they were in the sixth grade,” she said. “Spencer started first and Nate would go up and watch then would open bowl for fun then he really liked it and asked to join the same league. I also bowl on two leagues and just joined a 3rd that will be starting shortly.”

Nathan Farrington — who in 2017 chose to renovate the historic downtown Lapeer cupolas as his community minded Eagle Scout project — said he gets a lot out of bowling, especially being part of the team.

“Being a part of the team is great,” he said. “I love it, the atmosphere is loud and very team-oriented and the chemistry that I have with my teammates is amazing. The amount of teamwork needed for bowling is highly underestimated.”

He also said bowling is “a rush like no other.”

“I play soccer as well and the feeling I get when bowling is far more different then the feeling I get playing soccer,” he said. “It is far more social and laid back but at the same time everyone still wants to win.”

Those who know or have youngsters who they think might benefit from bowling should consider giving it a shot, the Farringtons suggest.

“If you’re younger and want to bowl, join a league and get help right away,” Nathan Farrington said. “The worst thing that could happen is developing bad habits. Get help from someone who knows the game, there are a lot of people out there. Start off bowling the right way.”

Amy Jo Farrington seconded the notion.

“If your child wants to try bowling, do it. It’s a great sport. I believe it teaches patience, it teaches your child to be kind and curious due to learning bowling etiquette. It gives them a challenge, teaches them skills, plus if they really get into it they can earn scholarships toward school later on.”

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