Pleasure Ridge Park, KY, Post Office Supervisor Don Ijames spends his free time coaching the local high school girls bowling team. "And we’ve won the state title four times in the past five years," he said.
High school bowling has become the fastest growing sport in the nation. Ijames credits the surge in popularity to the fact that this sport doesn’t discriminate.
"It doesn’t matter how high you can jump or how fast you can run. If you want to learn, then you can be successful," said Ijames, who had polio as a child and uses crutches to get around.
"We had two teams competing this year," he said. "What is so amazing is they both made the state tournament and then met each other for the state final!
"It was an all Pleasure Ridge Park state final," Ijames says with a laugh.
When selecting players for his team, Ijames looks for individuals who have a little talent and athletic ability. "But most importantly, I look at how well they listen to instructions."
In addition to coaching high school students, Ijames teaches free bowling clinics which are co-ed and he’s coaching his grandson. "So far this year he’s won several trophies," said Ijames.
Ijames, who still bowls in the high 200s, credits his success as a coach to being able to connect with the kids. Their parents think a lot of the motivation comes from watching Ijames get out there and bowl himself.