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 donít understand this is a sport. They donít think it is a sport, but it is.Ē
While itís not yet sanctioned by the WIAA, prep bowling is made attractive by the variety of bowlers Ė different ages, different genders, different skill levels, all on the same team.
"Itís very diverse," Boarcier adds. "You donít have to be a top athleteÖany shape, size, height, shortness, whatever, you can do this sport."
Comparing being on a bowling team to sports like football, softball, or basketball Ö depends on who you ask.
Tommy Strauss is a member of Rhinelander bowling team.
"Itís completely different," Strauss said. "You really canít compare it. Itís really more mental than it is physical."
Merrill bowler Zach Campbell adds, "I try to think of us, weíre the same. I get crap a lot at school that says, itís 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, youíll do better."
The state bowling championships are in two weeks in Green Bay.
"We donít really get a lot of hype about this sport," Campbell said. "But we like it. Thereís really nothing else to it."