By Justin Parmer:
Classic Lanes started the Jim Mason’s Kids Bowl Free program a few weeks ago with the aspiration of getting local youth involved in the sport. The goal is to pull local youth into sanctioned youth programs and develop a league competition to progress with in the hopes of eventually forming a sustainable club/varsity high school program in SSISD, and the surrounding communities in Hopkins County. One of the many other goals we have is to also local kids in obtaining college scholarships. We will have licensed coaches available to help develop interested youth participants, once we move to the next phase of the program.
The Texas High School Bowling Program provides competition between high schools for boys and girls on a varsity and junior varsity level. TBCA’s mission is to provide an opportunity to high school students to represent their school and community in interscholastic competitive bowling. According to the TBCA, the 19 states across the USA that have state athletic association recognition for both boys & girls are as follows: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee.
The states of Minnesota, South Carolina & Washington have state athletic association recognition for girls and club level for boys; adapted recognition; or Private School recognition. States that have club level programs are Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin. Only Rhode Island, Wyoming has yet to start a program.
Over the past couple of years Classic Lanes general manager, Justin Parmer, has been laying the groundwork towards resurrecting a High School Bowling Club here in Hopkins County. The process started with contacting TBCA, the governing body of club bowling in Texas. After a teleconference with Karen Miller, TBCA Executive Director, Luis Benavides of the Youth Development division at the International Bowling Campus in Arlington, Texas, and Dick Atkinson, Operations Administrator over the program state-wide as well as proprietor of Hallmark Lanes in Killeen, Texas, Parmer received the green light in August of 2016 after being named the district coordinator to correspond with TBCA and Atkinson, the state administrator.
What does that mean for Hopkins County? Through TBCA, Classic Lanes and Texas High School Bowling Club, THSBC, we will be able to offer an alternative sport to kids in the area that may not be currently competing in sports or offer a chance to kids looking for either alternative or additional scholarship opportunities. The program includes practice sessions, interscholastic competition, uniforms, awards, team, and singles state championship tournaments and mirrors U.I.L. policies to the greatest extent possible.
Parmer will be contacting area High School administrations as one of the next step in the process of moving forward with this project. Parmer is also in the process of putting together a coaching staff that will be qualified to lead our local youth on the lanes as well as instill core values of sportsmanship and team comradery. Parmer is a member of the registered volunteers with the United States Bowling Congress or USBC, which means he has gone through the necessary steps of partaking in and clearing a background check as well as submitting the required documentation for TBCA to allow him work with our local youth.
All coaches and/or volunteers that will be participating in the instruction of the competing students and/or interacting with students while competing in district, regional or state competitions and practice sessions will be required to complete SafeSport training and the registered volunteer process and be approved as well. All registered volunteers will also receive a badge and lanyard with their name and identification number to properly identify them to other coaches, parents, school administrators, and officials either competing here at Classic Lanes or at other tournaments, should students make regionals and/or state competitions.
Parmer attended the USA Bowling conference in September of 2016 that is geared toward educating instructors and coaches in new and innovative ideals who work with high school students and other youth programs. USA Bowling is focused on coaching children up to age 12; whereas other certifications qualify individuals to coach age ranges above age 12. The goal is to have a coaching staff of 10-plus to where each school, with the expectations/hopes that all seven school districts in the county will participate, will have at least one dedicated coach for their school in addition to a couple coaches that will be able to work with students outside scheduled practice sessions who need or want to work on drills and/or patterns on their own time, or fill in for coaches that may have to miss a scheduled date for emergencies or work related issues.
The coaching staff will be looking to get both a boys and girls varsity team as well as a junior varsity team in both divisions. Teams will consist of eight players, five regular members and three designated alternates. The program will NOT turn away any abundance students who are willing to participate, meaning that if teams are filled and we have students outside of the varsity and junior varsity membership we will then implement a farm system. The farm system will be to help students, who do not make the initial varsity or JV teams, hone skills to either make a viable alternate in an emergency situation or to have a better possibility of making a team the following season.
While Sulphur Springs may be the only 5A school district in the county, that does not mean that the smaller ISDs around will not be able to compete. The current participating ISDs in THSBC range from 6A districts down to multitude of 2A and 1A districts, so we encourage all who are interested to please sign up and get any information you need on the program or ask questions that you may have. This is a sport and a club that is open to all participants who are willing to put in the time and effort to achieve goals at an individual level as well as a team level.
Universities that currently offer programs for men’s, women’s, or both include: Arkansas State University, Louisiana Tech University, Prairie View A&M University-Prairie View, Texas, Sam Houston State University Huntsville, Texas, St Paul’s College Lawrenceville, Virginia, Stephen F. Austin State University Nacogdoches, Texas, West Texas A&M University Canyon, Texas, North Carolina Central University Durham, North Carolina, Bacone College Muskogee, Oklahoma, Southwestern Christian University Bethany, Oklahoma, Spring Hill College Mobile, Alabama, and the University of Central Oklahoma.
In the 2002-2003 school year Larry Mason and Debbie Carter worked diligently to get a program for our local youth. They unfortunately did not have enough individuals at the time to help them make a sustainable program here in Hopkins County. It is our mission to add Hopkins County back to an ever-growing sport to help our local youth achieve goals on and off the lanes and provide alternative scholarship avenues along the way. I will be submitting updates in the coming weeks as to where we are in the process and what parents, students, and administrators can expect as we move forward. I along with the coaching staff am excited to see what the 2019-2020 season will bring and we hope to see you on the lanes!