Bowling News USA - October 8, 2015 The Foul Line: DMAC
Danielle McEwan captured first-ever title at the 2015 Smithfield PWBA Tour Championship last month.
"That's a really interesting question because"...
Michelle Montgoris | Storm Products, Inc.
Danielle McEwan may have been late to the bowling party, but she has certainly has done a tremendous job of playing catch-up. Despite not bowling competitively until her high school years (and having plans to play a different sport altogether!), McEwan has already solidified her name in the professional bowling world.
The former Fairleigh Dickinson University standout was a three-time First Team Collegiate All-American, helping the Knights to a National Championship in her freshman year, and is a four-time member of Team USA. She most recently won the 2015 Smithfield PWBA Tour Championship in Arlington, Texas, edging Stefanie Johnson, 233-205, in the championship match to earn her first professional title.
McEwan took some time to talk about what a roller coaster the last six years have been growing from Teen Masters Champion to PWBA Champion.
Michelle Montgoris: Talk a little about the transition from bowling collegiately to being a member of the PWBA – what differences/similarities are there in terms of mental and physical preparation?
Danielle McEwan: Obviously the biggest difference would be going from a team setting to an individual setting; it takes a big toll on you. I really realized that the first time I made a TV show by myself, how different it felt compared to making a TV show like I did in college with my team. When you're in that setting with the girls you train with every single day right behind you it takes almost all the nerves and the outside influence out of it. But when you're there by yourself... that's when it actually hit me that, 'oh my God, this is all on me; I'm here by myself' [laughing].
MM: Has your preparation and routine changed at all from college to the PWBA? If so, how?
DM: Yes - in college and the first couple of years out of college, I was practicing every single day, twice a day, and working out constantly; I have a very, very strict practice routine that I follow. This year being out on tour all summer when we were traveling Thursday until Sunday and only had a few days until the next tournament I learned that I had to change that; I couldn't practice twice a day and work out and then get back on the road and expect myself to be ready the next week. So I had to have a couple of down days and a couple of lighter practice days and really focus on specific things instead of just bowling constantly.
MM: Six years ago you were a Teen Masters Champion. Today, you’re a PWBA Champion. How were you able to hone your skills so quickly and achieve something that takes many people so long to do, if they ever do it at all?
DM: I think a lot of it has to do with how devoted I am to this sport and how hard I push myself. I started kind of late in high school getting into [bowling] so I felt like I had a lot more to prove and I had to work harder than everyone else to do it. I just kept setting goals for myself and once I reached one I set another one and kept pushing through. That's been my driving force.
MM: How did you manage your studies while juggling the collegiate bowling/travel schedule? How is that experience helping you now balance your personal life and your bowling life?
DM: It's actually funny - in college we would compete in the middle months [of the semester], so the first month or two and the last month or two of college were down times from bowling, but my best academic time was right before Nationals when we were swamped with our season and swamped with midterms. That's kind of when I was able to focus everything in and say, 'this is what I need to do and I need to do it now.' But when I had down time or not as much practice or competing time that's when I was like, 'oh I can do this later.' So I think it actually helped me be a better student than I would have been if I just went to school and didn't bowl.
That experience has definitely rolled over. When I have a deadline or something that needs to be completed by a certain time, or when I'm preparing for an event, I'm pretty good about setting up what I need to do and getting it done. But at the same time if it's flexible it's still easy to put off [laughing].
MM: What do you love most/least about competing and traveling so much?
DM: What I love the most is, I'd have to say the traveling part - all the countries I've gotten to go to that I never would have dreamed of ever visiting, and creating friendships with people in countries I didn't know existed. That's definitely the coolest part of it all. Obviously the worst part about that would be when bowling isn't going so well and you have to deal with that on top of the traveling and bags and schedules and being tired and run down. When you bowl well it makes it all worth it, but when you're bowling bad you kind of just want to go home and hide and get back on track, and sometimes that's not an option.
MM: What is your favorite place(s) you've been to so far? Why?
DM: My all-time favorite country I'd have to say is Thailand. I went to Dubai last year and that's definitely at the top of the list also. I want to go to Australia; that's my number one place I want to go to that I haven't yet been to.
Thailand is at the top because I did absolutely love the country, and it was the first place I went to with Junior Team USA and that's actually where my boyfriend and I started dating. We won my first world medal with Team USA there. It has a lot of sentimental value.
MM: How have you managed to stay grounded throughout your early successes?
DM: My family definitely helps; I have a lot of younger brothers and sisters so every time I'm home I'm just going to their games and working out with my brother who trains for baseball and just stuff like that, normal everyday stuff. It help me keep balanced.
MM: When did you know bowling was what you wanted to do?
DM: That's a really interesting question because I don't know the answer to that, and everyone asks me that! [chuckles]. I used to play tennis in high school and I was going to play tennis in college. My stepdad owns a bowling center and they didn't have enough girls for my high school team when I was in eighth or ninth grade, so they asked me to bowl. I had bowled the bumper leagues when I was little, but I never bowled a tournament or anything [before high school] so it was really just a fun thing. Then going into my senior year I started to take a real interest in bowling and I don't really know what happened because when I was looking at colleges I was still looking for tennis, and then something just kind of flipped and I was interested in bowling more and everything fell into place so I went with it.
MM: Who was your biggest influence after you decided to switch athletic paths?
DM: I would have to say my mom helped me the most with that, but at the same time we weren't really 'in' the bowling world so it wasn't like she knew who to send me to. We kind of just pieced it together and talked around, and she really helped me with that by talking to other bowling parents and finding out how college bowling worked. She helped lead me on the right track of where to begin and we just worked together from there on and figured it out.
MM: Did you have any doubts about making a switch that late in high school? At what point did you know you had made the right choice by going with bowling?
DM: Not really, because the way it all played out from the minute I decided I wanted to go with bowling, everything fell into place. Of course I've had my rough patches but as far as making the decision, I did take my senior year [of high school] seriously, I started competing in tournaments - that's when I bowled Teen Masters and I won it and I bowled Junior Gold that year for the first time. So I was getting out there and pushing my name to everyone, and I ended up getting a bowling scholarship. That was my first sign that I was in the right direction.
My freshman year was really rough, so I might have second-guessed it a couple of times then. But then we won the national championship my freshman year, so that was my, 'you're on the right track, keep going' moment.
MM: Why is Storm the company for you? What does it mean to be a part of the Storm family?
DM: It means so much; they've treated me so well from day one. When I started I wasn't really the most knowledgeable, but since [Storm] is the best brand out there, coincidentally I was already throwing a lot of their stuff through high school and going into college. I think by the end of college even though I wasn't sponsored by them yet I was only throwing Storm stuff. So at that point it just made sense; I'm throwing it for a reason and it's obviously good.
Since I've been with them it's just been so great - the reps, the people you come across that help you with everything are just so friendly. They all reach out to me whenever I do well, and those private messages mean so much.
MM: Which ball(s) in your arsenal is your go-to? Do you have an “old reliable”?
DM: That would definitely be the Disturbed. It's a discontinued ball, so I have a bunch of them in stock in the basement [laughs]. After that it's the IQ Tour; those are kind of my 1-2 punch that are always in my bag no matter what. I've just had so much success with them, and I read them and understand them really well. They fit my game so well across multiple patterns. It would be really hard for me to take either one of them out of my bag - which is really hard to do because Storm keeps coming out with balls that are really, really good!
MM: What is the best advice you’ve ever received, and who was it from?
DM: I've had a lot of encounters with a lot of different people who have given me a ton of advice that has helped get me to this point. The one thing I really go by and I have printed on all my jerseys - it's kind of like my motto - and I'm not 100% sure where it came from but I know it came from my family, it's how I was brought up, is, 'everything happens for a reason.' I really try to apply that to when things go good and when things go bad, and when things happen that make you say, 'well why would that happen?' from the littlest things to the most important things. I keep in mind that I'm on a path and sometimes things need to go a certain way to get to the next spot, so whatever it is, it's okay.
MM: Is there one specific moment you can remember that really put that motto to the test?
DM: I've definitely had a lot of success, but there have been a lot of moments that have completely crushed me, just tournaments that were really important to me and me not living up to my expectations. It's really hard to overcome that - you don't know why you threw it bad or got a bad break or made a wrong decision. There are a million things that could go wrong, and that's when I try and take a step back and remember that there's a reason.
MM: How do you like to spend your down time?
DM: I do a little bit of everything. Bowling aside, working out has become a big part of my life so that's definitely something I keep up with. I'm very adventurous, so I'm always trying to find something new to do. My dad goes snowmobiling so I try to do that as much as I can. Marshall [Kent, her boyfriend] has gotten me into shooting a bow and arrow so I practice that sometimes. We try to do something different every time we have down time.
MM: Talk a little bit about your relationship with Marshall - is it hard maintain it considering your different bowling schedules?
DM: It goes back and forth. There was one time we went overseas together for a month and we spent literally every second of every single day together, which was interesting because we're not living together at this point so it was a challenge to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner together and bowl with him. But times like that are cool because we don't see each other all the time, like this summer when I was competing every weekend and he was also competing somewhere else. That was kind of rough.
MM: How do you both make that dynamic work?
DM: We kind of just do. We talk about that all the time, whenever I know I'm not going to see him for a while I'll get upset and he'll say something like, 'we always make it work.' That's just how it works out; we always end up figuring something out.
MM: What goals, if any, have you set for yourself?
DM: I've always been very weird talking about my personal goals, because ever since I was young I feel like I set goals higher than what people would expect me to do. But I would like to see bowling get into the Olympics just for the future of our sport. I would love to be able to help and push that in any way possible.
Photos | PWBA Tour | Fairleigh Dickinson University
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