Judson’s Bowling team has been coached by student’s parents since December 2017. Before Ms. Leilani Baclaan stepped up as head coach, the team had problems with having a leader. These student’s parents, who now help run the organization, saw the need to save the team and stepped up for the sake of the kids.
Baclaan stepped up to be the head coach feeling that the bowling team needed more consistency and role models.
“The kids needed consistency. No favoritism. I think most times, parents like to favor their child over everybody else and it’s not fair, especially if you have all these kids bowling. I saw that and I didn’t like it, so I stepped up,” Baclaan said.
Baclaan was not the only parent who stepped up. Mr. Greg and Mrs. Scarlet Williams decided to help out not only for their kids but the whole team to help keep it alive.
“They needed coaches, or else they would not have had a team anymore. It’s not fair to the kids for them to be doing this stuff and loving it to just not have a sport because they don’t have a coach,” Scarlet said.
For Greg, it was more than just helping the team out. It was also being there for his boys.
“It was all about being a continued part in my boys’ life, watching them improve game by game, week by week, and day by day. I also bowled forever and I know what I’m doing, so why not impart my expertise into them,” Greg said.
Baclaan had been a bowling parent as well as a bowling coach previously. Being the coach of the JV bowling team last year, she noticed how the team was not paid attention to, but also how some kids got left out in both JV and varsity.
“The JV team got overlooked. The coaches weren’t paying attention to them. They didn’t get invited anywhere. This year, I wanted to bring all of them together: the JV, the girls’ team, boys team, and the varsity. I wanted to avoid the cliques,” Baclaan said. “I wanted a family unit instead of everyone separated, especially with the new players that are coming on. Their parents are just getting introduced to bowling and I didn’t want them to feel out of place or anything. We try our best to not isolate anyone.”
Baclaan has her own way of making sure favoritism is avoided by having the bowlers do roll-offs, which is the players bowling two games and then the top five of the students that win are used, rather than picking the best or reusing the same people. This method helps the students all get a shot to prove themselves and a chance to be included.
“We work with all the kids. We have a lot of new players who have only played open bowl or cosmic bowling just for fun. So, we are working with a lot of new players, and making sure they don’t get singled out just because they’re new,” Baclaan said.
The team has been through a lot the past few years with unsteady leadership roles and losing big games. However, that didn’t stop them from working hard and continuing to strive for success.
“They have come a long way and they do work hard. I have to admit it they don’t take it for granted. They take instruction well, listen to what the coaches say. If they mess up, we tell them. If they do good, we tell them. The key… is we’re more balanced last year and this year,” Greg said. “The team now is very supportive of each other.”
Without Baclaan, the bowling team wouldn’t be such a unit it is now. The parents do multiple jobs for the team such as keep score, be in charge of books, giving the technical aspect of their plays and skills, figure out the places of tournaments etc, and even just making sure with practice that everyone is hitting their targets.
“I am very proud of the bowling team. The parents have helped out a lot. All the parents have contributed or given their time. I get a lot of help, I haven’t gotten any parents that disagree with what I’m doing,” Baclaan said.
Bowling is not a sport many students hear about often at school. It’s very unknown to many students and even parents. It’s definitely an under-estimated sport that many people don’t realize. It’s more than just for fun. It requires preciseness and to be focused. As bowling goes unrecognized for the competitiveness and the sport it is, people don’t get to see the skills it brings out in an individual.
“Bowling is truly unappreciated because people don’t think it’s an athletic sport. Most folks look at bowling as a recreation. But once they realize that there are scholarships that you can achieve through bowling – a full ride, it kinda opens up their eyes. As long as the kids get recognized for it, especially for the hard work they do, the money they put into it, and the time that goes into it, it can go a long way,” Greg said.