Volume 3, Issue 8, The 112th Edition
By Angel Zobel-Rodriguez
Readers of this column should know that I sincerely believe what I write and publish. Otherwise, I have plenty of other things to do with my time. So maybe some of you who've been reading awhile will find humor that I'm taking on another bowling role--that of Junior League Coordinator at the center where I bowl and coach at.
Sometime around two years ago I wrote a manifesto of what parents and junior bowlers should expect from their coordinators and junior leagues in "What Do We Expect". So before I started the position, I poured over the column and took every word to heart. Indeed some of the problems facing the current program where I've been coaching are the same as the ones that faced the former program I wrote about, but I'm hoping with some effort and ingenuity, we (the parents, the bowlers, the bowling center, and I) can create a great bowling program. It's certainly easy to complain about a program; it's much more difficult to roll
up your sleeves and get involved to the point where suddenly the parents are complaining to you.
The junior director was an assistant manager with the responsibilities of running a junior program on top of many other tasks in his job description, not unlike many junior programs. The luxury I'm going to have will be that I am only running the junior program. Several people suggested with my background I offer to run the program, and at first, I volunteered and helped. Having plenty of spare time, I didn't mind. But more had to be done, and I kept volunteering. Soon, the general manager was asking what my schedule was like and if I could handle the position as a job. My scant ten hours a week will be to promote junior bowling and create a program that the children want to come back to and the parents see value in.
That sounds good enough on paper, or in this case, in HTML, but the reality is even in my few shifts on the job so far, I know I have a lot to learn.
Trying to figure out which leagues need how many lanes has been a challenge. We started one week with a certain amount of kids, and I thought I got the lanes all figured out. The next week, more kids showed up, which is wonderful, except, now we need to figure out where to put them all. Did I say "we"? I meant me....
Now I'm trying to recruit more coaches for all these eager learners. But from experience, great bowlers are not always the best teachers, and especially not when the pupils are just as interested in the videogames as they are in the bowling.
City tournament deadline was this week, so I had to call and get an extension from the local YABA secretary in order to get a team floored. The older kids knew the tournament was coming, just not exactly when, and when I finally received the entry blanks, the deadline was literally two days away, and to coordinate four youth bowlers and their parents' checks took longer than that. But with an understanding secretary, the bowlers got in.
My next biggest concern is Coca Cola qualifying coming up in February, because it's free scholarship money for the kids who make the cut. Coca Cola also qualifies through their leagues, so everyone can participate without going out of their way, or paying a dime in entry fees.
As I go through the volumes of paperwork from the prior season, and talk to the previous junior director, I'll get a better handle on what needs to be done and how soon. The good news is I'm not afraid to ask questions, and I'm not embarrassed to say I don't know the answers. I always promise to get back with the person, and give them the right answer as soon as I can get it rather than any answer right now. I think that kind of attention is the kind of respect that parents and bowlers can come to expect.