After 20 years of fighting, bowling becomes a NSAA sanctioned sport
The Nebraska High School Bowling Federation had been trying to get the sport sanctioned by the Nebraska Schools Activities Association for two decades.
"A lot of years it felt like door were never even partially open," said NHSBF Board Member and Founder Butch Hogan.
But last week those doors finally opened.
"I was like, not believing it. At first it was like 'Ok are you going to tell me the truth?' type deal."
Bowling needed 31 of the 51 votes from the NSAA to be sanctioned. They received exactly 31.
For the past 20 years it was a club sport at the high school level. The NHSBF started it club bowling for one simple reason.
"We wanted to give every kid another opportunity to participate for their school," said Hogan.
80 percent of the club bowlers only participated in bowling, which was a big reason for it getting sanctioned. Now that it is, it opens a lot of avenues for students to continue their education.
"Colleges will actually start looking at kids from nebraska saying, 'hey you know there are some good bowlers here and there,' you know?" said Adams Central Club Bowling Coach Phil Tablazon. "They may come out and actually start recruiting them."
Hogan is a Nebraska Bowling hall of famer. Not only was he a founder of the NHSBF, he has been the proprietor of Pastime Lanes in Hastings for 31 years.
He was also the Hastings High club coach for 17 years, along with coaching Hastings College bowlers for the past six.
This moment is right up there with them all.
"This will mean so much more, being recognized by the NSAA and getting the NSAA awards at state tournaments," said Hogan. "Knowing that it's real, it's not just a club."
It may have taken a long time, but it's finally here.
"It was sad that the previous students couldn't have had that same opportunity," said Hogan. "I am so proud and glad for the new students that they will have that opportunity. It means a lot."