HOOSICK, N.Y. — The start has been delayed and things are going to look different, but the Hoosick Falls Central School bowling team will start its season on Tuesday.
Coach James Lynch, after practice one day last week, said he wasn’t sure until very recently that the team would be able to play.
“Things are crazy. I mean, up until the very last minute, we weren’t exactly sure what things would look like if we’d be able to do things. I know other leagues had started and other places were bowling, but every situation is just so unique. So it’s been evolving and changing and a lot to keep on top of but I mean we were able to pull things together,” Lynch said. “We think it’s important that the kids get a chance to do something because they didn’t have sports in the fall. Our other winter sports are still kind of stuck in limbo, or maybe on the wrong side of limbo. So it’s just really exciting to have this chance.”
But in the time of coronavirus, even how matches are completed will be different. The matches will be virtual, with teams competing in their home lanes on their own.
For example, a match between Hoosick Falls and Mechanicville would have the Panthers at Barbecue Recreation, while Mechanicville would be at Hometown Lanes. The two teams would bowl (hopefully at the same time, depending on the lanes schedule) and then a winner will be determined.
It’s even more different when they’ll face off against Berlin — since both schools are sharing Barbecue Recreation this season.
For those matches, Hoosick will bowl on one day and Berlin will bowl the next, so it might be two days until they figure out a winner.
“Obviously, it’s not ideal because we lose that face-to-face competition,” Lynch said. “One of my favorite things is when we’re traveling, and we get to experience the different conditions that that other teams have elsewhere. So obviously, it’s disappointing not to have that fun, but the alternative was to have nothing. So I’m actually excited to see to see how this year unfolds. It’s going to be weird, that’s for sure. There’s going to be matches where we’re going to finish and maybe we don’t know if we win until the next day.”
Lynch said that because of the limitations, the athletes will have to find a way to self-motivate themselves.
“I think one of the more unique parts is that you have to rely on yourself for motivation,” Lynch said. “So instead of kind of fueling off that face to face competition that we’re used to, it’ll be a challenge we’ll have to overcome.”
This season, Lynch’s team will be a bit smaller than in years past. He’s usually had a full team of 16, but this year, it’s going to be closer to 12 or 14.
“Scheduling has been a nightmare not just for the league itself and figuring out when we’re going to have matches with everybody else. Also, our kids are only in the building two days a week. So figuring out how we’re going to get them to the lanes and that sort of thing when there’s limitations on how many can be on the bus and parents might be working has been something to figure out,” Lynch said.
Three of his more prolific seniors graduated in Evan Webster, Owynn Arnold and Colin Cipperly, but Lynch said he’s excited at not only his returners by also his new bowlers coming up to the varsity.
“I think I graduated three of the biggest contributors that I’ve ever graduated at the same time,” Lynch said. “So in that way, our team is going to look quite different because we’re gonna have new faces in both spots. But I’ve still got Erin [McCart], Ziena [Hurlburt] and Colin King, who were regular starters last year. So that’s exciting, and then I’ve got other bowlers with past varsity experience. So we’re ready to fill those those other spots.”
Having the matches set the way does give some of the younger competitors a smoother transition to varsity competition.
“I think that’s almost a nice way to kind of transition your way into a varsity sport. So while there are some negatives to our setup, there’s certainly some positives,” Lynch said.
McCart, Hurlburt and Kendra Marshall are his three seniors, but many of the younger bowlers — including Brody Mullen, Ethan Yonconish, Ryan Maxon, Riley Hayes, Payton Merrills and Bradley Senecal — all have had games at the varsity level. They were first at the Boulevard Bowl in Schenectady back in January and second at the C-D sectional championship in February.
Roster: Ziena Hurlburt, Erin McCart, Kendra Marshall, Colin King, Brody Mullen, Riley Hayes, Ethan Yonconish, Ryan Maxon, Bradley Senecal, Payton Merrills, Troy McCart.