Even though it is early in the 2012-2013 varsity bowling season an important date is looming in the Mcquaid keglers’ future. January 3, 2013. On this date Steve Pogal long time Varsity bowling coach and three time defending City Catholic champions has decided he wants the record.
            Now at this juncture let me point out that the Mcquaid bowling team is about to set another record. Most players on their team EVER! Is it the popularity of bowling? Is there a huge growth sport?
             Not really, it is the coaches’ mantra of PLAY FOR FUN and that is exactly what this team does. In the ever escalating world of High School and youth sports athletics and the damaging mantra of playing to win, more is better, and the status of being the couch and  his “club” team connections, Mcquaid bowling is saying there is another way to approach high school athletics and it is working. Their slogan of “three holes and a dream is typical of their approach. Loose, fun, and different.
            From having his players discuss certain current  events during the matches to relax his players, or  bowling against a girls all star team to raise thousands of dollars for charity, to using 6 lb. balls for an exercise in FUN and camaraderie, the McQuaid bowling team is the antithesis of what youth sports and high school varsity sports have become. They are different. It’s all about having fun and being a good teammate. OUTSATNDING! And it’s working. More and more players are flocking to his team and the word around school is spreading and in the Rochester New York bowling community.
            The President of the school has shown up for numerous matches. The Principal was there. The athletic director has attended and had his picture taken with team. A student was brought in to sing the national anthem. The schools cheerleading section called the “Samba Society” has attended a match.
            Let’s be clear here. There is real coaching going on at many different levels on this team. The coach has had requests by parents to have his players play year round. He has explained why it wasn’t a good idea. He has been stringent about academics. He cares about the kids outside of bowling.
             His resume as an outstanding bowler and holder of seven three hundred games is impressive. He does teach bowling. But what he teaches that is more important than just the technique of bowling. He teaches fundamentals of life and how much fun you can have playing a sport and have it be an integral part of the athlete getting better. Instead of chastising and benching a player for trying out for the schools’ PLAY he asks for tickets and wants to bring the whole team to the performance.
            You really want to know what youth and high school sports should be about, go watch the Mcquaid Bowling team in action!
            The coach routinely asks players who have never bowled before, or have been under tremendous pressure to play a sport year round to come out for bowling and have some fun. He doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks the walk.
             New bowlers are quickly put into the starting lineup and instructed to have fun. Why does he do it this way? Well, because it works. His bowlers continually reach heights of excellence and top scores with this approach.
             What is the response from those watching from other so called bowling experts as they observe this wonderful team I n action? One comment was, “the Mcquaid bowling team is having too much fun!” Another response was a complaint to the bowling alley where the Mcquaid team practices and plays their matches. “They are disrespecting bowling.”
             In actuality he is simply proving a point to people. Let the kids have fun, encourage them to have fun, and watch the results. This brings me back to the point of this essay. On January 3 2013 at 3:45P.M. in the afternoon Mcquaid will take on its rival Aquinas in a bowling match of little consequence in the big picture of the season. What the coach would like and I believe he has earned the right to ask for, is to have 100 students attend the match and cheer for the team. That would be the record he most wants to have. How great is that? He wants the cheering to be LOUD but positive and classy. And to show his class in terms of the big picture he wants his fans to cheer for Mercy High School’s bowlers, Mcquaids all girls sister school who will be on the lane next to his teams.
            What a tremendous message to send to all who watch and participate in youth and high school sports. What a wonderful idea and thought for Mcquaid bowling team, a team made up  of the most diverse athletes and nontraditional play for pay athletes to send to all of Monroe County and Section V athletics. Well done.
Vj's weekly blogs are an ongoing series in support of youth and high school sports. you can follow Vj on twitter @VJJStanley email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. go to his website and purchase his book Stop The Tsunami In Youth Sports. PLAY FOR FUN!