Senior girls’ bowling team hoping to ‘leap’ over opponents

Though sporting an unusual mascot in “Kermit the Frog,” there’s no questioning the local senior girls’ bowling team is one of the best in Northern Ontario.
The team, which includes Meghan O’Brien, Megan Bale, Jennifer AmOrde, Tina Hyatt, and Carolyn O’Brien, and coached by Janet Ellis, are off to the provincial showdown in Timmins this Sunday after winning the zone round two weeks ago.
They did it in dramatic fashion. Needing a strike with their last bowler in the final frame, Hyatt delivered–giving the Fort team a narrow seven-pin victory over Kenora.
At the provincials, they will face teams from Sudbury, Timmins, Thunder Bay, and North Bay in the round-robin affair, with the winner advancing to the nationals in Winnipeg in May.
But what about their fascination with frogs as their team mascot?
“‘Kermit’ was given to me when I went to the nationals in Victoria when I competed at the Masters,” Ellis noted Saturday morning at Plaza Lanes.
“The girls just love it. It gives them enthusiasm, it’s a fun element, and it’s intimidating–the other teams think we’re nuts,” she added.
In fact, the girls showcase a plethora of frog artifacts on the sidelines while they bowl, as well as wear frog earrings, eat frog candies, and often dye their hair green.
“It helps us a lot in that we are always cheering. The girls are very loud and very high-strung,” Ellis noted.
But they also are very talented on the lanes. Ellis expects this group to finish in the medals at the provincials, and said it’s plausible they will advance to the nationals.
Several of the team members competed at the junior provincials in North Bay a few years ago (finishing out of the medals) and Ellis expected that experience will help them this weekend.
She also doesn’t feel her relatively young team (made up of three 14-year-olds, a 15-year-old, and one 16-year-old) will be intimidated competing in an age group that allows bowlers as old as 17.
Ellis feels–as a team–they can compete with anyone.
“It’s definitely a team effort,” she stressed. “When one girl has a weak game, the others pick it up.”
And while none of them have a particularly high average (AmOrde is tops with a 172), Ellis said they have a knack of competing well when the pressure is on.
And with “Kermit the Frog” behind them, they don’t expect to “croak” under the pressure at the provincials.