Natalie Gutierrez | Staff Writer
FIU’s Bowling Club shows students that bowling is not as laid back as it seems.
The club started at FIU’s Modesto Maidique Campus in 2022, holding tryouts and creating a co-ed team shortly after its founding.
The purpose of the club is to promote light physical activity, as well as opportunities for community engagement. However, their ultimate goal is to compete against other college bowling teams across the country.
Gillian Pons is a freshman majoring in behavioral neuroscience and president of the club. She graduated from TERRA Environmental Research Institute, where she was a competitive bowler throughout her high school career.
“I like that I am able to use my previous leadership experiences at TERRA and also get to meet new people at FIU,” said Pons.
“For many people who cannot do a physical sport that is too enduring or demanding, like soccer or football, bowling can relieve stress. It is also a very social sport that takes a lot of dedication. You don’t have to be too hard on yourself.”
A typical club meeting involves gathering at Bird Bowl, where members bring their own bowling shoes and bowling balls. The club then plays on two to four bowling lanes while listening to upbeat music and socializing.
The vice president, Ryan Toffoli, is a sophomore majoring in marketing. Like Pons, he started bowling back in middle school.
“It’s good to have a bowling club for anyone who is interested. At the end of the day, it can open doors and it is a fun thing to do,” said Toffoli.
All students are welcome to join, but those interested in competing must earn a strong score within the 170-180 range. The maximum score is 300.
“The competitive aspect is one of the great things about bowling… I am looking forward to traveling. Many of the tournaments are up north, so the traveling is the best part,” said Toffoli.
For competitive bowling, Toffoli feels that possessing specific skills is crucial, specifying “good core strength” as essential.
“Having a good understanding of how bowling works and having a good mental game is important. As with anything, if you don’t have a good mindset, it can bring you down and can affect your physical performance,” said Toffoli.
Last semester, the club hosted a Bowl-Off in collaboration with Panthers Uniting in Support of Health on the Graham Center lawn. Members brought blankets to relax on, ate snacks, and participated in a bowling competition at the event.
The club is also highly committed to community service, as shown by their cleanup at Haulover Beach on Dec. 3 last year.
“We worked with a Miami-Dade company, brought bags, and cleaned the beach. I am a big environmental supporter so, as president of the club, I insisted that we do this. I think giving back to the community is important for any club,” said Pons.
Pons commented on how the energetic nature of bowling competitions often goes unnoticed, stating that “there is chanting and some teams even bring ladders so they can see others bowling [through the crowd].”
“FIU is a great university that offers many options and as a new bowling team, it has opened doors. This club shows that bowling is not only fun but the competitive aspect also brings people here,” said Pons.
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