The world of female athletes: Josie Brooks

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Positivity all around Sarah Nakonechny

Looking at every perspective

Josie Brooks is a 21-year-old force of nature that one would be a fool to go against on the lanes. She has been participating in five-pin bowling for the last 16 years and boy does that experience show! Over the years she has been able to refine her techniques and has developed a reputation that strikes fear into the heart of her competitors. Brooks is one of many strong female athletes that proves hard work, dedication and the ability to block out other individuals’ opinions can allow you to succeed in anything. By staying focused on her goals, she has been able to collect quite the folder of achievements. 

 You may be asking how does one get involved in a sport like five-pin bowling? For Brooks this specific sport is near and dear to her family’s heart, which made it just a matter of time before she decided to carry the torch. Her father was a bowler when he was younger, which allowed him to create a strong relationship with the owner of Glencairn Bolodrome. These close family ties to the sport caused her to become fascinated with it at a very young age. While all her friends were getting ready to play tee-ball, Brooks was getting ready to bowl and has never looked back. She has developed a love for the sport like no other. Growing up at the lanes of Glencairn, there is no other way she could have imagined spending her time as she grew up.

Throughout her bowling career Brooks has cleaned up across the country, making 10 appearances at Nationals as well as participating in one Winter Games. She qualified for the Youth Bowl Canada National Championships in 2010, 2013, 2016, 2018 and 2019 where she has received silver in teams, bronze in teams, fourth place, silver in singles, gold in combo team and silver in duo teams over the years. In 2016 and 2017 she made it to the Canadian Youth Challenge but was unable to make the podium either year. As well in 2017 Brooks took bronze in the team event at the Canadian National Championships. All of these amazing accomplishments were throughout her youth career as a bowler. Now that she has moved on into her adult career this has brought forth new and exciting opportunities for her. Her rookie year in adult league during 2019 Brooks went to the Canadian Open Championships where her team placed sixth and the Canadian Master Association National Championships where she placed eighth in the singles event. As well during this past year she should have gone to the Canadian Master Association National Championships again, however, due to COVID, the event was unable to be held. 

With so many national appearances many people within the bowling community in Canada know the name Josie Brooks. There is one specific reason why they should know her name, as it should be recognized in the history books: in 2019, Brooks made it to 3 national tournaments in one year. There has not been another individual who has been able to accomplish this from her centre in over 55 years. This is a true testament to her amazing abilities and her dedication to the sport. This dedication has not gone unrecognized. In 2018 she was awarded the Adam Christopher Hammel Memorial Scholarship which was a really great way to end off her youth career. To begin her adult career Brooks was also awarded the Youth Bowl Canada Scholarship in 2019. 

Although Brooks has clearly been making a name for herself, it hasn’t been an easy road to get there. She has bad knees and a bad back which can hinder her performance if not taken care of. If neglected it can affect the form she needs when bowling. As she tries to push through to ensure that she is also at peak performance, she continues to practice three to four times per week. Having the ability to go through drills and games as frequently as she does allows for her to be as prepared as possible to bowl in any physical state. 

It hasn’t just been this physical aspect that Brooks has had to work through throughout her career. There is also a mentality that male athletes are the better bowlers as they are viewed as having more strength and are seen as being more consistent. This consistency is especially prevalent in adult leagues as female bowlers are more likely to take seasons off to have children and care for their families. However, Brooks has proven time and time again that female bowlers can offer just as much, if not more skill and ability than some of the males. Although this mentality is also sitting in the back of people’s minds, Brooks doesn’t let it bring her down. According to her, knowing your skill level and what works most effectively for you is the easiest way to combat these views.

Throughout the years Brooks has been able to harness her strength and share the joy of her passion with the country. While doing this she has been able to grow as an athlete and has one piece of advice to provide other female athletes: don’t ever let anyone tell you that you’re any less of an athlete because of who you are. As she continues to maintain her skill while waiting for tournaments to resume, this piece of advice is something that she will continue to remind herself of.

Sarah Nakonechny

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