By Raffles Bowling
To the untrained eye, bowling seems simple. It’s always the same bowling ball, rolling down the same lane, in the same bowling alley. Again, again and again. But beneath the surface, there’s so much more. Bowlers are required to strike a delicate balance of knowledge, technique and mental strength to hit every seemingly effortless strike.
Contrary to popular belief, bowling is not a mindless flexing of muscles to whack the ball at the pins. Instead, it demands precise technique and knowledge of your equipment. Most importantly, you can still flex, since flexibility in adjusting according to the lane conditions is absolutely imperative. Whilst you might think that all lanes are identical, they each consist of different oiling patterns that vary in length and thickness.
Bowling is often misconstrued as an individual sport—each shot being taken individually against wooden opponents. In reality, the element of competition forces us to work together as a team to achieve a strong cohesion, spurring each other to the summit. There are three separate events in the national inter-schools—Singles, Doubles, and Team (made up of four bowlers per team), all of which culminates towards the all-events placing. Whilst there is a finite limit of bowlers within the pair of lanes you bowl on (anywhere from four to eight!), the wild screeches and hollers of support from our teammates behind our back becomes a constant throughout the competition, pushing each of us through every shot.
Throughout our events, we strive to maintain a high level of team synergy throughout the three to four hours of intense battle, giving each bowler zeal to stay focused and push through even the most nerve-wracking of moments. This is the team spirit that has been inculcated in Raffles Bowling over the years and is the defining characteristic of our family. We are proud to say that none of our achievements in A Division 2019 could have been possible without such strong pillars of support.
Cheers done before every event not only motivate us to give our best, but also gives us the assurance that we are a team on this journey. We know that there will be someone watching our backs in every shot we take—solid strikes or ghastly gutters—and that sense of assurance is what drives us to never call it quits, even in our darkest hour.
Training for A Division (held in April) commences from November the previous year. They are usually held at Orchid Country Club (also our competition venue) three times a week: Mondays and Fridays from 6 to 8 pm and Wednesdays from 3 to 5 pm (subject to change according to our timetables).
After some simple stretching exercises and jumping jacks on the lanes, we start training with some interesting and sometimes seemingly dubious drills, sometimes even throwing our balls to our teammates instead of the pins. These exercises help us to hone various skills vital for bowling such as increasing our accuracy and ability to hit our targets.
These training sessions strengthen our repertoire of bowling skills, helping us get into the zone for competition whilst perpetually solidifying our overall team spirit. Consequently, we achieved good results in the National Inter-Schools competition in 2019, with both the Girls and Boys Team coming in second, whilst simultaneously bagging numerous individual achievements—including two gold medals.
Apart from our toil of trainings and the annual National Inter-Schools competition, some of our most memorable highlights originate from our much-anticipated annual events: March Holiday Camp, Post A Division Party, and Y6 Farewell.
The March Holiday Camp focuses primarily on promoting inter and intra-batch bonding, ensuring that our J1s are able to transition into the team smoothly. Breaking from the usual monotone of the bowling alley, we partake in various sports and games ranging from the adventurous treasure hunting to the nonsensical United Badminton to foster a close-knit family before we are thrust into our competitive mood.
Upon the conclusion of our A Divs, we traditionally throw a Post A Div Party to celebrate our accomplishments, allowing us to build stronger, long-lasting friendships to last us for the remainder of our tenure, and possibly beyond.
Last but certainly not least, the Y6 farewell celebrates our seniors’ hard work and efforts; allowing us to express our gratitude towards their guidance and support, which serves as the very foundation for our batch spirit since our induction. Well-wishes for Prelims and A levels aside, this also serves as a warm way to wrap up the year.
Lack prior experience in competitive bowling? Fret not, our team has a wide range of competitive experience from seasoned veterans to those whose A Div experience this year was their first outing. As long as you’re open-minded and possess an enthusiasm to learn, no peak is too high to surmount!
Hence, if you’ve ever found it a struggle to get that balance between social life and grades but still seek to achieve some form of perfect balance, or felt up for a challenging mental game to test your tenacity when faced with ten pins 60 feet away, or just want to be part of a fun, loving, supportive bowling family, we look forward to seeing you at trials!