Perfect game leads to more confidence

Published 9:55 am Thursday, February 14, 2019

NILES — December through February are always busy months for Niles bowler Shelby Jaynes.

That is when she has to step away from being a member of a youth league at Joey Armadillo’s and puts on a Niles High School bowling team shirt.

The junior is having a season to remember as she was averaging nearly 160 in the youth league before averaging 148 to help the Vikings win the conference championship. Jaynes finished third overall at the conference tournament.

None of that success may have happened had it not been for her rolling a perfect game back in January.

Jaynes was suffering from a lack of confidence after being told she was not good enough to be a high school bowler. But after she laid down 12 consecutive strikes at a youth tournament Jan. 13 at Joey Armadillo’s, her confidence was renewed and she carried it back to the high school team.

“I never thought I would roll a 300,” she said. “I never thought I would bowl one because I was struggling. It was getting me down. But once it happened it helped boost my confidence.”

Per Michigan High School Athletic Association rules, Jaynes can bowl in two youth league tournaments and two Sunday events, which she saves for the Pepsi tournament, which is sanctioned by the MHSAA, while participating on the high school team.

So, Jaynes bowls from September until tryouts begin in November around Thanksgiving in the youth league. She then competes for the Vikings and takes part in the allowed tournaments.

Once Niles wraps up its season, which is currently moving into the postseason, she will return to you youth league for a couple more weeks until that wraps up.

Jaynes is no stranger to rolling a few strikes here and there, but once they started mounting up, she began to get nervous.

“I have thrown six or seven before, but I started to get scared when I threw the seventh one,” she said. “I wasn’t sure if I was going to keep going.”

The strikes kept coming, and like a pitcher throwing a no-hitter, most of the people around her stopped talking about it.

But there were some that just could not help themselves.

“There were a few who wanted to talk about it,” Jaynes said. “I tried not to be rude, but I didn’t want to jinx it.”

Then came the 10th frame. She had already thrown nine in a row and only three consecutive strikes, or a “turkey” as they call it in bowling, stood between her and history.

“I could not stop shaking,” Jaynes recalled. “And I was sweating. I was just shaking the entire time and had a hard time gripping the ball. But I was also excited to see what would happen.”

Strikes 10 and 11 came and went, leaving Jaynes alone on the approach staring down the alley toward the 10 pins that stood between her and a magical moment.

She released the ball and knew right away it was going to be a strike.

“I was so happy I started crying,” she said. “I have been bowling for 13 years and I never thought I would get one.”

There were a couple of points along the way that could have sidetracked Jaynes and her date with history. She said two balls recorded “Brooklyn” strikes, which means the ball ended up on the opposite site of the pocket.

But like any other sport, like a no-hitter in baseball or a hole-in-one in golf, a little luck always plays into the skill it takes to get the job done.

Jim Jaynes, who is the Niles coach, as well as Shelby’s brother and her sister also bowl. None of them have a 300 game.

Among the coaches she has, there are 13 300 games, so they all understand the excitement she experienced.

As for holding it over the head of her father and siblings?

“I might do it a little bit,” Jaynes said. “My brother has come really close, but he loses it in the 10th frame.”