By Joi Bryant
“Please do not dismiss us as a sport. We train just as hard as every other athlete. We don’t need people to talk about us constantly, but it will be lovely if we can gain some recognition of the fact that we compete competitively and that this is not just a recreational activity for us. I guess bowling just isn’t really thought of as a ‘cool sport’ or even considered a sport by too many people that is, and it is not widely promoted in Tulane.” This statement was made by Tulane Green Wave Bowler Michelle Ng, one of Tulane’s top athletes. Having bowled 100 matches and over 18 tournaments while a part of the Tulane team, it is obvious that she takes her role on the team very seriously.
In 2011, the first Tulane Green Wave Bowling Team came into existence under the leadership of Coach Hayley Veitch. Often thrust in the shadows, the Tulane Green Wave Bowling Team has yet to achieve the spotlight it deserves among the other sports of Tulane University.
The competitive team has ranked 18th in the U.S, finishing the 2015 season with a 53-58 winning record. From visiting a man in a convalescent home to make him smile to having fans wear shirts with their team’s name around New Orleans, the team is making an impact, despite the amount of recognition received.
As said by Ng, “We only have 1 home tournament a year, and unlike football games, Tulane students won’t always be available to travel 30 minutes to Kenner, our practice site, to support us.”
The ladies of the Tulane Green Wave Bowling Team are ready to make a winning streak this season and have no plans of anything stopping them.
Ng states, “We workout at 6am two to three times a week. We practice at the bowling alley 6 times a week, each time lasting about 4 hours, including travel time. We were told by the coach to arrange our classes in the morning so we can practice in the afternoon together as a team, but of course some of us have classes in the afternoon, and those people will either train in the morning or get the day off.” As proven by Ng, the ladies of the team work hard to get great results. Yet the real question that many people have is – where are you, Green Wave Bowling Team?
Due to the lack of knowledge that many Tulane students have about the sport of bowling let alone the Green Wave team, not many know what the Tulane Bowling team is all about. As stated by Lily, a Tulane sophomore,” I knew we had a Bowling team, but I’ve never heard of a game.” When asked why she thought most of the students had this lack of knowledge, she agrees that it’s due to advertisement and popularity. “I know of football, basketball, track, and tennis, but not of bowling.” Lily stated that if she did know more about the games, she and some friends might go out to support them. What is the mystery behind the Tulane Bowling team? Do they have many games? If so, where? Are there any near Tulane? What does a bowling practice look like? These are just some of the many questions Tulane students have about the Green Wave bowlers. In an attempt to put some of the Tulane students’ puzzling minds at ease, Ng is more than willing to share information about the Tulane Bowling team to give an inside look. “Our season starts on October 1st, and ends around mid- to late April. We have about 6 tournaments each semester, and each tournament consists of 3 days with matches against 5-6 teams per day. We have one coach and one graduate assistant who was a Tulane bowler a few years back.” As seen by the information shared, the Tulane Green Wave Bowling Team is up, running, and full of action.
Although the bowling team may not be extremely popular among the Tulane community, the team has the power to draw in bowlers from around the world. Perhaps it is the team’s enthusiastic coach, Hayley Veitch. When asked what it was that made her decide to coach at Tulane in particular, she states, “I was given the opportunity to start a bowling program from the beginning. New Orleans is an easy sell to a lot of people with its culture and the weather, along with the superb academics at Tulane, so recruiting is not too difficult.”
Tulane bowler Michelle Ng traveled approximately 10,082 miles from Singapore to be part of such a spectacular team. Ng states that she has been bowling since age 9, and enjoys the team and the role it plays in her life. “This year, we have 10 members in total, but only 7 get to travel to tournaments. Many of them are doing premed, neuroscience, and bioengineering majors, while I am doing finance, and another is doing mathematics. I think everyone has the same role on the team. We all have to be there for one another in terms of moral and physical support.” Earlier this October, the Tulane Green Wave Bowling team was ranked 18th nationally, which is two ranks higher than ever seen in Tulane Bowling history.
What could be the reason behind this change? Well, like any other thing of increase, hard work, dedication, heart and drive is what pushes these ladies to success. “As the tournament is very much team-based, we communicate with one another on how the lanes are like, so we know where to bowl so as to ensure better results.” The team seems to be full of great players as well. Coach Hayley Veitch states that a good bowler is “someone who has a competitive personality yet is willing to learn. They have to be able to be a team player and have 100% trust in both coaches and teammates.”
In addition to many accomplishments, the Tulane Green Wave Bowling Team was ranked 8th at the Wildcat Invitational hosted in Orlando, Florida on the weekend of October 21st. Coach Hayley Veitch states, “Our goal this season is to have greater than 50% wins. To make it to sectionals and then to USBC Nationals as Nationals is in Baton Rouge!” When asked to sum up her experience as the coach of the Tulane Bowling Team in a few words, she says “It has been a great experience to see a team grow over the years. It definitely has its tough days both mentally and physically but overall the good days totally out way the challenging ones. I have learnt to be more patient and you also learn a lot about yourself during the process. It is a chaotic, fast paced lifestyle that is very rewarding.” The Tulane Bowling team is definitely on the rise, and is bound for success along the way!