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The Suburbanite
  • Coventry bowling works through death of former coach

  • Through the suffering of a tumultuous summer, Coventry Comets bowling has entered this winter season worrying about more than picking up spares.

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  • Through the suffering of a tumultuous summer, Coventry Comets bowling has entered this winter season worrying about more than picking up spares.  
    After the unexpected July 31 death of former head coach, teacher and friend Dave McCormick, the Comets came into the 2012-13 season with heavy hearts.
    “It hurts a lot,” said senior John Shaw. “But we’ve just got to keep doing what we are doing and doing it for him.”
    One of the people the McCormick’s death has affected is Comet girls head coach Tera Monroe, who worked with him over the last three-plus years to build the bowling program from scratch.
    “We were all caught off guard and just shocked with mourning and sadness … It has been very hard on me at times,” Monroe said. “Initially, I was just devastated and in disbelief. I just couldn’t believe that he was gone. I lost a mentor, a friend and at times, almost a father figure.”
    The loss of someone so near and dear has hit the program hard and consequently has given this season a bit of a different purpose. For the Comets, this year is all about honoring and bowling in the name of the late McCormick.
    “During our first home match, a moment of silence was had to remember Dave,” Monroe said. “Mr. McCormick loved John F. Kennedy and gave all of us a special 50-cent piece wrapped in foil. Right before each match, all the girls put their hands in over this special coin and shout ‘Do it for Dave on three … one,two,three, do it for Dave!’ ”
    A few other ways the team is honoring McCormick include a vast majority of the bowlers sporting a Comet blue and gold “In Loving Memory of Dave McCormick” wristband and selling T-shirts, with $2 of every sale benefitting the Dave McCormick Scholarship Fund.
    Despite the volatility, on the lanes the Comets have been producing results as both sides sport winning records. The boys are 4-2 overall and 1-1 in the Portage Trail Conference Metro while the girls are 5-1 and 2-0 in conference play.
    “At first, I thought we were going to need 10,000 Kleenex every match because I just
    didn’t know what to expect,” Monroe said. “But we have come together as a team and really become like a family.”
    Turkeyfoot Lanes owner Steve Kinty stepped into McCormick’s shoes as head coach for the boys bowling team.
    “... I wanted somebody who cared about the game, because I see a lot of coaches who don’t care about the game and you see the effect that has on the kids,” Kinty said.
    He said it has been a whirlwind season as he continues to adjust to the challenges of learning the league and coaching the boys.
    Page 2 of 2 - “I’ve never taken on anything like this before,” Kinty said. “I mean, I’ve worked with kids before since being the owner of Turkeyfoot (Lanes), but being a high school coach now, working with the kids, is a different experience.”
    For Kinty’s boys, the expectations are simply to continue to improve and learn the game. The spare game is one of the areas he said the team is still learning how to play more effectively.
    “The biggest struggle has been getting the kids to understand the spare shooting concept,” Kinty said. “They want to keep hooking the ball more, but I want them to throw a straight ball. If you watch it on TV and you watch bowling on Sundays, they throw straight balls for their spares, plain and simple.”
    Everything Kinty knows and teaches his team comes from one of the greatest bowlers in Ohio’s history, 1989 USA head coach Fred Borden.
    “I’ve had some lessons with Freddie and Jeri Edwards, and all I’m doing is passing on what they taught me,” Kinty said. “You can't say any more than what you get from the best.”
    As for the girls squad, this season is starting to look awfully familiar to 2010 when the Comets captured the 2010-2011 PTC season and tournament titles.
    Now that the team has started to heal from this summer’s loss, the Comet girls’ sole focus is to repeat their 2010-11 season.
    “My first goal was to just heal and move forward as a team, just survive,” Monroe said. “Now that my first goal has been reached, nothing would make me happier than winning the PTC and even moving forward from there.”
    Some of the bowlers who are expected to aid in the Comets’ second title run are senior captain Niki Zimcosky, junior Chelsea Miller, junior Karlee Evans and newcomer junior Kayla Jackson, who recently threw a 267 game, missing a perfect game by one frame, in a win against Ravenna on Dec. 11.
    The next time the Comets will hit the lanes is when they host conference rival Kent Roosevelt Dec. 18 at 3:45 p.m. at Turkeyfoot Lanes.