Big-eyed and filled with questions, the little boy watched his dad send the shiny bowling ball down the lane, knocking down every pin. Watching the score rise at every turn he took, he knew this was what he wanted to do.
At only 6 years old, Antonio Alonzo found his passion — bowling. Now, 10 years later, he is the captain of the varsity bowling team at Denton High School and is in two other leagues.
“I bowl about three times a week,” Antonio said. “I started bowling when I was 6 because my dad was bowling with his friends. I joined in, too, and eventually I just kept going with it. I got my first bowling ball of my own when I was 7.”
With his dad as his biggest supporter, Antonio now bowls an average of 200 per game.
“My dad is my biggest inspiration because he kept pushing me to keep going and to get better,” Alonzo said. “My favorite thing about bowling is the thrill of getting the high games of the match.”
Alonzo is one of 22 bowlers on the team that will be competing against three other teams in their league this season. His teammates love having him as captain and they know, with him in charge, they can only get better.
“He’s really, really good, and a great addition to the varsity team,” junior bowler Raychel Jones said.
Coach Diana Simpson has been at Denton High for 12 years and has been bowling since she was 21.
During practice on Monday nights, she works with them on getting the ball straight down the lines and with stance and procedure. She loves working with the kids and seeing them progress.
“Since we found Antonio last year, he has done a tremendous job,” Simpson said. “He is … up-and-coming and will be really good with a little more time.”
The highlight of Alonzo’s bowling life was two trophies for getting 11 consecutive strikes. He accomplished this feat during his league play, in which he still participates, as well as the school team.
“I never imagined being very good at bowling,” Antonio said. “I just kept practicing and working with my dad to get better.”
Alonzo’s father is his biggest inspiration when it comes to bowling. He pushed him to become better and to pursue his dreams.
“It’s hard to explain how proud I am of him,” said Antonio’s father, Rene Alonzo. “He’s a hard-working, awesome kid, and all I’ve ever told him is to do whatever it takes to do your best.”
JORDAN GILL is a sophomore at Denton High School and a participant in the Denton Record-Chronicle’s “Speak Out Loud” writing program for student journalists.