Bowler Danielle McEwan rolls toward FDU swan song
Senior and bowler Danielle McEwan in action at the NCAA tournament.
By Kenna Caprio
Danielle McEwan, the 21-year-old senior and Team USA bowling phenomenon from Stony Point, N.Y., talks to FDU about her team spirit, her final season, and her future.
She bowls us over in the process.
FDU: How did you arrive at FDU?
DM: I bowled for North Rockland High School and I started looking at colleges based on their bowling programs. So the fact that FDU has an amazing bowling program was definitely a big influence. And then the school had the major that I wanted too. It just seemed like the all-around best fit for me.
FDU: Tell me about being a student athlete at FDU.
DM: I love it here; itís like a small school. Itís so close, so everybody knows you and you know everybody else.
The environment here has taught me so much, on and off of the lanes. Bowling has definitely influenced everything Iíve done. In the weight room, training has taught me so much. In the classroom, Iíve pushed myself to be a better student. Between bowling and school, I learned how to manage my time. Itís made me a better student and person.
Learning how to manage my time and how to get things done the right way will definitely help me later in life.
FDU: How did you first start bowling? What made you want to keep going once you were interested?
DM: I started in high school. I donít have the typical ďwhen I was little I always wanted to be a bowlerĒ story. When I was little, I bowled for fun.
My stepdad owns the bowling alley thatís near my house. In high school, I was just bowling with friends when the coach walked by and said, ďOh, we need girls for the girls team. You look like you know what youíre doing. Why donít you try out?Ē I said, ďOkay, itíll give me something to do.Ē By my junior year, I started hearing about tournaments and wanting to compete in them, so I started practicing and getting better.
Itís just kind of taken off from there.
FDU: Whatís it like being part of the FDU team?
DM: Right now, we have a very young team. We have more freshmen than we have returners. Itís definitely been a learning year, with the upperclassman trying to help the underclassman get out there and learn the ropes.
FDU: How is it going, being in a mentor role?
DM: Itís just kind of teaching them what Iíve experienced, now Iím just passing it on. Seeing them be successful is such a great feeling.
FDU: How do you practice?
DM: Our practices are drills, for the most part. We work on mechanics and then we also have the team side of it ó learning to work off of each other and communicate with the teammates and coaches.
We practice four days a week. On our off day, Iím still practicing. Weíre in the gym three days a week.
FDU: What kind of workouts and prep do you do in addition to practice?
DM: We usually go back and forth between a lift and cardio workout. We do a lot of core and lot of legs, which is specific to our sport.
FDU: What do you say to people who say bowling is not a sport?
DM: I get that all the time. I try not to let it get me angry because I hear it so much, but if anyone wants to come and spend a week in our shoes ó I welcome them because itís not easy.
FDU: Are competitions nationwide or regional?
DM: Throughout the season we have three tournaments in the NEC and then we have the NEC championships. Every other tournament is either open or an invitational.
FDU: What was it like to be part of the NCAA winning team in 2010?
DM: That was absolutely amazing, especially to do it my freshman year. That was definitely my goal ó to come and win at least one, hopefully more than one. But winning it my freshman year made it so much harder to lose the next two years also.
FDU: When you bowl a strike, what goes through your mind?
DM: You never really get the chance to think ďOh, that was a good shotĒ for more than a second. It can be gone in a minute.
You need to think about yourself mechanically. You also need to think about whatís going on in the lane. The oil on the lane is constantly changing. So, you can make one great shot and still have to move to make another good shot. You have to think about what the shot could be and if there needs to be a ball change.
It depends on the situation, of course, but there is an endless amount of information thatís going through your mind.
FDU: What do you think youíll miss most about competing at the college level?
DM: Definitely the team aspect of it; I love competing for a team. I feel like a win with a team is so much better than a win individually because you get to share it with people. With college, itís such a process. Youíre working towards one goal for months and months and months. If you get it, itís better than you can imagine and if you donít, itís the worst feeling in the world.
Everything just seems so exaggerated but itís a good feeling.
FDU: Whatís the best tip or advice that you ever got from a coach or mentor?
DM: Have your mind be your most powerful weapon. Execute every shot.
FDU: After graduation, what will you be doing with bowling?
DM: Well, after our season is over this year, Iím going to be officially an adult in bowling. Iíve been youth up until this point. So after that, starting in the summer, Iíll be bowling the adult tournaments like the PBA Regionals and the womenís tournaments. Iím looking into going (on) the World Bowling Tour. Then Iíll have the World Bowling Cup again next year.
FDU: What is the world of professional bowling like?
DM: It is considered an Olympic sport but itís not in the Olympics. Theyíre trying to get it into the Olympics, so hopefully within the next few years it will be.
There used to be a womenís bowling tour, but unfortunately thereís not anymore. Being a woman trying to compete with the guys is an unrealistic way to make a living. So, thatís definitely something I have to take into consideration. I just want to go out and compete. I love this sport. I want to do it for as long as I can. Iím just going to go out, do my best and see where it takes me.
FDU: What does being a member of Team USA mean?
DM: Team USA has become such a big part of my life that I really hope I can continue making that every year and start traveling with them. There are a lot of really good bowlers ahead of me on the team, but I want to get up to a point to be good enough to compete with them.
FDU: What do you think you eventually want to do with your QUEST degree?
DM: Iím in elementary education. I want to teach one of the younger grades.
FDU: Do you think youíd ever want take them bowling on a field trip?
DM: I havenít thought that far, but it would be fun to teach them about bowling. I could definitely offer them a lot. I had a tennis coach in high school that was an elementary teacher and she related some of what she taught to tennis. Thatís definitely something Iíd be looking forward to incorporating since it is such a big part of my life.
And if I could offer it or influence any other little kid to get to the point where I am, that would be great.
McEwan, who placed fourth in the world for womenís bowling in the QubicaAMF World Cup in Wroclaw, Poland in November 2012, is a two-time Team USA Trials champion. She is a part of Team USA and has been a member of Junior Team USA in past years.
She was also the NTCA Bowler of the Year last year and is a two-time NEC Bowler of the Year. In 2010, when McEwan was a freshman, she proved critical in the teamís NCAA National Championship win over Nebraska and was named MVP. The 2013 NCAA Womanís Bowling Championship takes places April 11-13 in Canton, Michigan.
This weekend, on Saturday, March 23 and Sunday, March 24, McEwan gears up for her final Northeast Conference Championship (NEC) at Parkway Lanes in Elmwood Park, N.J. Jump on the fan bus, leaving from Rothman Center at 9 a.m. on Saturday and 9:15 a.m. on Sunday, and cheer on the Knights! Email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a spot.