PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Kyle Pranger, a senior at Northview High School, has been bowling since before he could walk and is heading to a university in Florida on a scholarship.
“When I was little, I used to sit in the lane and push (the ball) down,” he said.
Pranger bowls not only for the varsity team but in competitions around the country. He bowled his first perfect game when he was 12 years old and has had seven 300 games since then.
Pranger comes by his skills honestly, after spending his developmental years in alleys watching his dad, Jason Pranger, throw balls. The older Pranger is now the head coach for the Northview teams and assistant coach for the Aquinas College bowling team. He didn’t play in high school, because that wasn’t an option.
“Grand Haven High School started their bowling program I believe in 1998, so I missed it by two years,” Jason Pranger said.
Jason Pranger competed while his two boys were growing up, and they wanted to tag along. Bowling strikes became a talent for both boys and now Kyle Pranger will get to continue team play on a scholarship at Weber International University in Florida. Besides the warmer weather, he is also excited about the opportunities to improve.
“(They have) so many good coaches and all the tools you can use to get better at bowling, and that’s what I want to do, keep bowling. I’m trying to go pro eventually, which would be kind of cool,” he said.
There’s a lot more to bowling competitively than the casual player might realize. For example, the oil pattern on the lanes is intentional during competitions and makes it more challenging to throw a strike. That’s why Kyle Pranger and his teammates have an array of bowling balls to choose from.
“Each ball does something different than the ball before it … Balls with a polish on them … shoot down the lane better … and then they make their hook, where they turn at a certain point down the lane … the shiny ball is gonna get down the lane before it hooks and it’s gonna give us an opportunity to score,” he explained
Kyle Pranger’s dad wants more parents to realize the opportunities that exist in bowling, especially for scholarships. He said because there are fewer kids playing the sport, there is a greater likelihood of securing a scholarship offer.
He also said youth competitions are open to children as young as 8 years old. He has taken his boys to play all over the country, earning money toward scholarships for college. He has the same concerns about his son going to Florida as any parent might have about their firstborn leaving the house but is proud of the young man he has become.
“I think as a parent, that’s what you strive for. You strive for your children to be role models. Good people … he just makes everybody better,” he said.