SAN BERNARDINO (CBSLA.com) — A local teenaged sensation hopes to land a college scholarship through his spectacular talent for bowling.
Ever since a birthday party at the age of seven, which took place at a bowling alley, Terrence Robinson has been nearly inseparable from the bowling lanes.
Eight years later, now at the age of 15, Terrence has competed in, and won, several of large-scale tournaments, and even has a pair of perfect games under his belt.
"I have to stay aggressive, I have to stay in the moment, stay in the shot," Robinson said. "I can't fall off too early or get lackadaisical and just soften up my speed or anything, I have to stay in it and stay focused. Technique is at least 75-80 percent of it. If you can't execute a shot consistently, then you're not going to be able to score consistently."
However, becoming an elite athlete in a sport such as bowling, which offers little opportunity to nurture when compared to other, more popular team sports, has not been easy emotionally or financially.
In addition to the costs of training and equipment, the Robinsons are required to cover the costs of traveling to and from the various tournaments.
"The travel, the hotel rooms, you know, the eating out," Terrence's father Darren Robinson said. "The bowling balls themselves are anywhere from 150 to 250 dollars each, (and) you've got six to nine balls each tournament. The shoes are 150 dollars for a pair of bowling shoes now, then you've got to pay for the tournament itself. We drove to Detroit, we drove to Indianapolis, we are flying to Buffalo, New York this year, so it gets really expensive."
Despite the costs, Terrence and his parents are hopeful that, as he continues to win and gain national attention, more schools offering full scholarships for bowling prospects will take notice.
The United States Bowling Congress awards scholarship money for every tournament win and top-finish, but despite the vast number of tournaments won, Terrence's financial winnings alone will not cover college dues.
"He's earned scholarship money, but has he earned enough scholarship money to get through a year of college, no," Terrence's mother Tangie said. "So to learn that there are schools out there to offer bowling scholarships, partial, full or whatever, is amazing."
However, the knowledge of his parents' financial burden, along with the subsequent pressure to win as frequently as possible, places a heftily emotional weight on his shoulders to be successful.
The fact that bowling scholarships are exceptionally limited and infrequent in number compared to other collegiate sports that command infinitely more widespread attention, such as football or basketball, adds its own fair share of pressure.
"Knowing that if you are not performing that day, that a scout could turn away from you, and that can be one offer that goes away," Terrence said. "It's a lot of pressure to stay centered, execute shots, and keep that even keel to not show that pressure that you feel."
Meanwhile, Darren and Tangie Robinson have cautious faith that their son's talent, and their decision to invest broadly in nurturing that talent, however rare, will reward their family with the unique goal they are looking for.
"Mid-west or back East somewhere, I'm all for it, and if his college tuition is all paid for, then all I've got to worry about is getting my son home for Christmas."
Anyone interested in sharing information or aiding in Terrence's pursuit of a collegiate scholarship through bowling can contact Terrencebowling4college@verizon.net .
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