They are athletes just like any other athlete participating in more “popular” sports.
They practice 10 hours a week, compete regularly and literally go in for the “strike.” They’re just like any other Rattler team.
So, where are the schedules, the promotions and the Rattler student support for the women’s bowling team?
“Nobody knows about the bowling team,” said coach Novella Franklin.
Franklin, the Florida A&M University bowling coach for the last six years, gives credit to the sports information directors for their work, but Franklin wishes they received the same publicity basketball and football receive. After all, they are an official NCAA team.
The Lady Rattlers bowling team, which consists of seven bowlers, recently expanded their schedule and are now playing in tournaments including the Morgan State Invitational in Odenton, Md., and the Holiday Collegiate Classic in Birmingham, Al.
On Jan. 27-29, the Lady Rattlers placed fourth in the North Carolina A&T Aggie Women’s Invitational Tournament. Most recently, they hosted the Releaser’s NCAA Invitational last weekend at Seminole Bowl at 1940 W. Tennessee, where they also placed fourth. Their current standing is third in the southern division of the MEAC Conference.
Shara Gibson, a 22-year-old senior majoring in health information management and a captain of the team, feels the team is important to FAMU because “not too many African-Americans bowl” and they bring a new “groove and style” to FAMU. She also said that the team deserves more publicity and should get more recognition for what they do.
Coach Franklin prides herself in the team’s academics, unity and great chemistry. The majority of the team is on the honor roll. She cites the Aggie tournament as one such example of the great chemistry of the team.
They were unsuccessful in their early matches, but they eventually “figured it out” and started gelling.
“That Saturday morning, they won because they were clicking,” Franklin said. “They were together. There is no I in team. If one falls we all fall.”
Dominique Boatman, a 20-year-old sophomore psychology student from Apopka, is also a captain. She values the bonding experience that comes with being a part of the team.
“Coming together for the common good and always leaving having earned respect” is one of the valuable experiences she has had while being on the team. She described her teammates as great motivators who “push me and encourage me to push harder.”
Gibson described Franklin as a “great coach” and someone who always “makes sure we have what we need and are prepared.”
Boatman, along with her coaches and teammates, wants to remind FAMU students that there is a bowling team and that support from everyone would be greatly appreciated.
“We do exist. Yes, FAMU has a bowling team,” Gibson said.