By Autumn Tallant

Photography by Gavin Shwahla

Bowling is perhaps one of the most underrepresented collegiate sports. It is extremely competitive, exciting, and intense. The Paul Smith’s College bowling team is gaining popularity among our student body. One second semester transfer student, Connor Bean, has quite the story to tell about this seemingly underground sport. During a visit to an exciting competition between Paul Smith’s and SUNY Adirondack, we were able to immerse ourselves in the lively atmosphere filled with the competitive spirits of his teammates. The team was getting hyped up for the match, high-fiving each other, and passing out encouraging compliments on form and ability and effort. We were able to get a feel for the strong community of the team, no doubt one of the aspects of the team that pushes them to success. During the match, we sat down with Connor between frames. Here’s what he had to say:  

What brought you to Paul Smith’s?

Well, bowling was a big part but the Sports Management aspect, the new major they just brought in, was really huge, as I was a sports management major at my previous college. Both of those just clicked and I’ve been happy ever since.

What got you into bowling?

Well, I first got into bowling with my dad around my sophomore year of high school. I played two sports and it was football in the fall and baseball in the spring. My dad became the bowling coach for my high school and wanted me to pick something up for the winter sport season. It took me awhile to get acquainted with the sport but by the season’s end I was fully invested into the sport and the opportunities it could give to me.

What does bowling mean to you?

Bowling well means a lot to me. It’s something that I’ve put a lot of time effort and money into and to see it pay off really means a lot. Last year I won my first college tournament around this time with my previous college, Franklin Pierce. Sadly, they cut their team and left me stranded to look for a school.

What experience have you had on the Paul Smith’s Bowling Team so far?

It’s been good! We’ve had our ups and downs like every team but competitively we’ve stayed in there, we’ve worked hard.

Where would you like to see our team go in the future?

Goal wise, make sectionals or place in the top 5 of a tournament. This is hard to do since many teams have great bowlers and it’s a really competitive field that many people don’t understand or see. Trying to go toe to toe with powerhouse bowling teams such as William Patterson or Rochester Tech is a extremely hard thing to do in every major tournament. It will also be hard to make sectionals this year because we aren’t registered with the governing body of our sport, the USBC (United States Bowling Congress). I think with time, effort, and people who want to get better we can have a great team and compete in major tournaments.

What would you say to beginners or people getting into the sport for the first time?

First, don’t give up. Just like any other sport, it’s hard and it takes time and work to get to a high level. It takes time to learn the proper way to bowl and some get it earlier than others. Training religiously can put a strain on the body. Some people get frustrated when they don’t score high and they just drop it then. I mean, I still get really upset when I shoot a low game, because I know I could do a lot better. But you have to push through the hard spots, and the harder you work the better you will get. Youth programs are at all-time high, with many schools south and out west giving out scholarships. Now people have a chance to make Junior Team USA and it really gives someone a goal to strive for. Just keep working, find videos online, watch the pros on FOX and eventually you’ll get there.  

We encourage our student body, faculty, and staff to encourage these amazing athletes by lifting them up at their competitions and practices in Saranac Lake! If you have never watched a bowling match, you are definitely missing out on an awesome experience!