On a roll

Freshman reflects on her journey of bowling with her father and looks forward to the rest of her high school career


Skylar Greulich

Freshman Addyson Rice talks with her father and coach, Jeff Rice, on Feb. 1 before she delivers the ball down the lane. Rice made it all the way to semi-state match this year.

Freshman Addyson Rice felt her heart begin to race. Thoughts clouded her mind, and it seemed as if her brain was moving a mile a minute.

At the time, she was losing a match to another talented bowler, and she grew more and more frustrated with each minute that passed.

Then, Jeff Rice, her father and bowling coach rolled into one, called her over to talk with him. He sensed her irritation and wanted to help her get into a better mindset going forward in the match.

In their short talk, he helped her to center herself on the match at hand and focus on her own shots, not her opponent’s, and assured her that he was there for her no matter what.

“It was just really special to me that it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, we’re still gonna support you,” Rice said.

Ever since day one, Rice’s father has believed in her bowling abilities and advocated for her success.

She first started bowling at three years old when she went to the alley with Jeff. He started her out by having her roll the bowling ball down a ramp and onto a lane lined with bumpers. As she improved and got older, he slowly took away the ramp and later on the bumpers until she was bowling just like everyone else.

As the years went on, she joined a recreational league and competed in small competitions and tournaments for fun.

“She seemed to enjoy the sport,” Jeff said. “And so it was just kind of something fun for her and I to do together.”

About three years ago, Rice began to take things more seriously.

During middle school, Jeff coached Rice, and she was on a team made up of bowlers from several local middle schools. She was able to compete in larger tournaments and garnered many accolades, namely winning state both her seventh and eighth grade years.

Jeff knew that SHS didn’t have a bowling team, and so when Rice moved up, he started the team.

Throughout her years of bowling, Rice has grown more confident and social, coming “out of her shell.” At tournaments, she talks and jokes around with other competitors, and is always smiling and laughing along with them.

The sport has allowed her to make friends at many different schools, and they helped to ease her transition into high school bowling.

“I have a lot of friends from different schools that I’ve known for a couple years through bowling that kind of just helped me be more comfortable,” Rice said, “and they were a lot of fun to be around.”

These connections with teammates and competitors are what Rice is looking forward to most for the next three years of high school bowling. She wants to learn how to work together as a team better and continue to form new and grow old friendships.

Rice also has high hopes for her future seasons. She placed first at sectionals this year and was able to make it to semi-state. Next year, she hopes to make it to the state meet.

But, whatever happens, Rice chooses to focus on her own evaluations of her performance rather than basing her success off of her comparative performance.

If I’m okay with how I bowled, it doesn’t matter if I win or lose, because I know I did the best that I could.”

— Freshman Addyson Rice

“If I’m okay with how I bowled, it doesn’t matter if I win or lose,” Rice said, “because I know I did the best that I could.”

Jeff emphasizes these same values with all of the bowlers on the SHS team. His goal is for them to do their best and learn something new each time they compete.

Rice has a unique relationship with her father, as he plays both parent and coach roles for her.

This comes with its many challenges, according to Jeff, but people like assistant coach Casey Jewell make things easier.

This year, Jewell has helped coach Rice through tense competitions and enabled Jeff to watch his daughter as any other parent would.

“It’s been a blessing to have an assistant coach this year that can kind of step in and take that role in those higher pressure situations,” Jeff said.

Pressure doesn’t just come during tournaments, though. Rice also wants to be an engineer when she is older, so maintaining her grades and doing well in school is vital. She and Jeff have an agreement that if her grades begin to slip, she has to sit out of bowling until she gets them back up.

As Rice continues on with her bowling career, Jeff thinks that his daughter is capable of anything she wants to do. Whether it’s competing collegiately, on Team USA or whatever else may come, he thinks “it’s just baby steps to get there.”