Thrilled with the opportunity, but very humble about how they got there, are four talented and successful young ladies who will soon be heading to the Youth Bowling Canada (YBC) Nationals. Portia Eldaun, Kally Campbell, Macenzi Lukkar and Janaya White will soon be on board a flight heading to St. John’s Newfoundland to compete against teams across Canada. These nine year old girls, who have been bowling for one to three years have seen much success, placing at the top in tournaments leading up to the Nationals. “These are really a special group of girls,” says Coach Bob Stockey, who is standing in for regular Coach and MP Dave Wilks. “They are all at the right age, at the end of their bantam eligibility, and they very successful,” he says. “In perspective, the girls are part of a 30 person program from our small town, they will be competing against kids from programs with over 250 people from the big cities. We have bowled at locations with five times the lanes we have here,” he says. I have to take them in to see the facility before we actually play, so they aren’t awestruck right before a game,” he says with a chuckle.
The girls who are also great friends in school express their love for the sport in giddy giggles and excitement as they talk about heading to the Nationals. “You know,” says Coach Stocky as he proudly looks at the girls. “The most important thing here is that the girls are having fun, and this afternoon they are here practicing instead of hanging around the mall which could be the alternative,” he says.
With such a huge accomplishment, the community has been getting behind the team showing their support with donations and little souvenirs that the girls will trade with other bowlers at the tournament. “We are really thankful to everyone who has supported us,” says Lukkar. “We appreciate all of their help,” chimes in Eldaun.
Recently, Stan Kilford, Sparwood Legion Branch 81 President has presented the team with a $200 donation for them to purchase items they will trade with other bowlers. “We are really happy to help support this team,” he says. “The Legion generates funds through 50/50 draws and meat draws and it is important for us to be able to give back to groups and youth sports,” he says.
Coach Bob Stockey, who has been involved in bowling for over 15 years would like to remind parents and kids about the benefits of the sport of bowling. “You don’t have to be super athletic, tall, or fast to be a bowler. It is fun and inexpensive to join,” he says. “We would like to extend an invitation for kids to come out and join the youth bowling leagues. It’s a fantastic thing for kids to be involved in,” he says.