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'Where striking out is a good thing': U of M students create new bowling club

In most cases, striking out is never what a person wants. If someone strikes out when asking another person on a date, that means they said no. In baseball, the saying goes, “Three strikes. You’re out.” But there is one scenario of life where a strike is the best you can get — bowling.

Aaron Bardos is a sophomore at the University of Memphis. He spent seven years bowling and much of his high school career on the varsity bowling team. However, when Bardos got to college continuing to bowl became a challenge.

“I wanted to join a [bowling] club in college but there wasn’t one,” he said.

At a university like the U of M, there is bound to be something for everyone and if there isn’t, anyone can create a club that fits their interest.

“I was like ‘Let me see if I can get some friends together who want to start a bowling club,’” he explained.

This is where his fraternity brother and friend, Alex Welch, came into play.

“The behind-the-scenes stuff is more his thing and I’m more of the interacting, talking to people guy,” Bardos said.

He and Welch share co-captain duties and both took part in the creation of the club as a Registered Student Organization (RSO).

“He was struggling to find the motivation to reach out to somebody to seek help to start it,” Welch said.

Their steps of starting the club began with several meetings. The two sat down with the intermural director and asked for his assistance in helping them kick start a bowling club.

“He gave us a helping hand in how to walk through the process,” he said.

After talking with the intermural director, their first task was to find a full-time faculty member to be the advisor. There were difficulties in finding someone able to take on the job.

“That was a big process because no one wants to go into the unknown,” Bardos explained.

The University of Memphis Bowling Club is now an RSO with 29 members and growing the duo said.

Anyone interested in bowling or learning to bowl is welcome to join the club. Flyers for the club are posted all around campus and state members can use bowling bumpers if they feel the need.

“The max in bowling is 300, and there are people who average a 15 or 30 a game,” Bardos said. “You’re allowed to be bad."

“It is open to literally anybody,” Welch added.

Those interested in joining must pay their club dues, which covers the cost of bowling lanes for the entire semester and attend the once-a-month meets. The group has a page on Instagram and where potential members can contact them about membership.

“People have a notion of, ‘I’m not good at bowling so I can’t join the club.’ But we don’t have a standard,” he said.

“Our mission is to have fun regardless of ability,” Bardos said.

Welch’s experience with bowling is vastly different from Bardos’s. He’s been playing for about 3 months now.

“I ended up here because of Aaron. He got me interested,” he said.

Learning to bowl is about time and repetition. Bardos has had years of this to get to a competitive level, but Welch is still learning.

“Bowling is really all about consistency and finding what works,” Welch explained. “Once you find a technique, stick with it.”

Though their goal for the future is to have a team that eventually plays against other universities, the two see the bowling club as a place where people can get together and have fun. For them, it isn’t about skill level or winning.

“If you refuse to have fun while bowling, that’s the hindrance,” Bardos said.

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