Submitted by: MAJ (R) Kerry Greene, SAI
Cadet Wesley Wideman is not an amateur bowler and initially thought basketball would be his calling. That all changed when he was about nine years old and he rolled his first bowling ball. Having spent his youth enjoying other sports, like basketball, and football, he was no stranger to teamwork, but the dedicated 16-year-old from McCormick, South Carolina wants to win at new levels and be a Pro-Bowler one day. By the age of twelve, Wesley had begun entering tournaments. Now, with the USBC, United States Bowling Congress, he’s racked up more bowling-related medals and trophies than most High School or College Athletes in their respective sports. Wesley shares with JROTC his story, how his parent’s dedication and support have helped him succeed in the sport he loves.
CH(MAJ)Greene-SAI: What’s your favorite aspect of bowling?
Cadet Wesley Wideman: I look forward to the challenge of winning the tournament. It’s important for me to meet other bowlers and learn the oil patterns, the type of pattern laid out by the machine, on the bowling lane, before each tournament. I also get to travel a lot and I have a lot of friends from all of the different competitions. It’s great to have the ability to build relationships and visit some amazing host bowling alleys.
CH(MAJ)Greene-SAI: How did it feel to win the South Carolina Rising Stars Bowling Tournament for the 195 and up average division?
Cadet Wesley Wideman: It was amazing! It helped give me the confidence to believe in my abilities. To be able to accomplish that and win that major tournament gave me the confidence to think I could win other major tournaments. I was fifteen when I won the tournament, and it was an awesome experience for me. It inspired me to continue to grow in the sport.
CH(MAJ)Greene-SAI: What is it like to compete against the top bowlers in the United States?
Cadet Wesley Wideman: At first it was a little intimidating because these are the some of
the best bowlers in the United States and I felt like I could not beat them because I had watched them on T.V.. I never thought I’d have the chance to experience that and get to play alongside them. It helped impact my game and helped push me to play the best I can. Seeing how dedicated these other bowlers were, inspired me to want to work harder and practice more because that is what helps you win.
CH(MAJ)Greene-SAI: How do you perfect your bowling?
Cadet Wesley Wideman: I realize I just have to be me and just do my own style of bowling because my style is unique to me. I feel it is more important to be me than to try to watch and copy another bowler’s style and make that fit. I do not want to fit into someone else’s style. I enjoy my own style.
CH(MAJ)Greene-SAI: What kind of attitude does it take to be a successful bowler?
Cadet Wesley Wideman: I feel like you have to have a strong mind set, patience and willingness to work hard and having this overall enjoyment will bring your mental game further. Everyone gets nervous, including the best players in the United States. I just take a couple of deep breaths and go back at it. I always get a little stiff on the first ball, but after the first ball I get into my game more and my body starts to loosen up. Sometimes I think of the consequences of what would happen if I play badly, since I feel like people get nervous about how they’re going to perform. That’s where my family support comes in. I just go over to my dad and he encourages and tells me, “not to worry about it, you know what to do” and that takes care of it.
CH(MAJ)Greene-SAI: What do you do the night before or morning of a tournament?
Cadet Wesley Wideman: Before I go to bed, I relax a little. Before I sleep I watch T.V. a little bit and just go to bed. It helps me calm down for the next day’s tournament. In the morning, I just try to prepare myself normally. I’ll eat a light breakfast and do some basic stretches.
CH(MAJ)Greene-SAI: How do you relax before you bowl?
Cadet Wesley Wideman: The family support of my mom and dad has been very important to the success of my bowling career. They have been a part of my bowling career from the start, driving me to the tournaments and financing everything. They both also like to bowl and we enjoy bowling together as a family. So before each tournament, it always helps to just talk with them and have fun before the bowling starts.
Photos: (left) Wesley at USBC, United States Bowling Congress, Indianapolis, Indiana (right) Wesley with his mother and father at USBC, United States Bowling Congress, Indianapolis, Indiana