STEVENS POINT - Popular sports like football and basketball generally get the biggest crowds. They also get a lot of attention on the high school level.
But some Northwoods teams believe they're just as worthy. Newswatch 12's Ben Meyer hits the lanes with more.
NAT: 1,2,3 Yeah!
The competitors might be a little different than traditional prep athletes.
But walking into a packed alley might convince you high school bowling is absolutely legitimate.
"I think they would be amazed," Rhinelander bowling coach Mike Boarcier explains. "A lot of people don't understand this is a sport. They don't think it is a sport, but it is."
While it's not yet sanctioned by the WIAA, prep bowling is made attractive by the variety of bowlers – different ages, different genders, different skill levels, all on the same team.
"It's very diverse," Boarcier adds. "You don't have to be a top athlete…any shape, size, height, shortness, whatever, you can do this sport."
Comparing being on a bowling team to sports like football, softball, or basketball … depends on who you ask.
Tommy Strauss is a member of Rhinelander bowling team.
"It's completely different," Strauss said. "You really can't compare it. It's really more mental than it is physical."
Merrill bowler Zach Campbell adds, "I try to think of us, we're the same. I get crap a lot at school that says, it's not a real sport. But we do as much as they do like on a football team."
One difference is for sure, instead of a cutthroat competition mentality, bowlers can celebrate with their teammates, as well as opponents.
"The group dynamic of the whole thing intrigues me all of the time," Campbell explains. "I love it."
"What I like to do is I like to make sure everyone has fun," Strauss said. "You know, run around, and have everyone get involved. If you get too tense, you start thinking about it, and start messing up. If you just stay calm and start having fun, you'll do better."
The state bowling championships are in two weeks in Green Bay.
"We don't really get a lot of hype about this sport," Campbell said. "But we like it. There's really nothing else to it."