Kyra Lester will begin her freshman year at London’s University of Western Ontario with a few more dollars for her education thanks to the Canadian Tenpin Bowling Association.
Lester won both a national and local scholarship for an essay about the benefits of the sport. The two awards total $1,500.
Bowling has allowed her to develop and nurture lifelong friendships as well as good sportsmanship and leadership skills.
“I became a (youth) coach this year and gave back to the program that taught me,” said the graduate of St. Francois Xavier Secondary School, who has been bowling since she was four years old.
She pointed to the late Shawn Smith and her father, Jim Lester, as coaches who had the most influence on her progression in the sport.
Jim Lester is also the youth manager for the national tenpin body and sits on a committee trying to get bowling included as an Olympic sport.
The 18-year-old says her workload at Western with an eye to eventually becoming an orthopedic surgeon will curtail her time for bowling, but she still hopes to qualify for some tournament play and stay connected with friends at HiWay Bowl in Sarnia and Marcin Bowl in Point Edward.
Despite having to cut back on playing time, she will continue to promote the sport at every turn in hopes of increasing its profile and popularity.
“There’s nothing better than walking way when you get a strike,” she said. “It’s the same feeling that someone would get when they score a goal in soccer or get a basket in basketball.”
“It’s a great sport with lots of health and social benefits,” she added. “I’d love to see it get bigger at the high school and university level.”