St. Charles East senior boys bowler Alex Garza only rolled recreationally as a child. He accelerated his attitude and average – once high school arrived, and has since joined classmates Nick Binetti and Brad Basic as the Saints’ leaders. East has lofty aspirations for the season, which opened last month and continues with Tuesday’s match against Marengo at Bowling Green in West Chicago, the Saints’ new home lanes. Catching up with Garza for the latest installment of the Weekend Chit-Chat, Kane County Chronicle sports reporter Kevin Druley asks about the shift as well as Garza’s bowling background. The following is an edited transcript.
What’s your take on the early season?
So far, I think it’s been great. Everyone has been getting along with each other well. The No. 1 thing for us is confidence. Confidence boosts our morale up and we all score better when the chemistry is up and the team is more cheerful.
Talk a little more about chemistry in bowling. In high school, it’s not as individual-based as in the pros.
Chemistry definitely affects everybody because bowling is also a huge team sport. It’s just as big because all our individual scores go toward one final tally at the end of the match, so everyone needs to contribute to that to get he best score possible.
You were part of the team from the time bowling debuted in the IHSA [in 2009]. How far has it come structurally at East?
We’ve grown a lot. We’ve definitely learned from other teams, how we’ve dealt with stuff much better. The first year we weren’t sure how to handle some things, and as years went on, we were more comfortable with things. … Things like how to practice more efficiently, how to get into more tournaments. We did just one tournament the first year, and now we’re up to four or five a season. And back to the chemistry, we’re just all staying positive and helping each other out more.
Is it true you never rolled a ball competitively until high school?
I did for fun at birthday parties and with friends, but not seriously. … My high score was probably like 145-150 [growing up], and now I’ve shot four perfect games and multiple 700 series. And I won a tournament a couple weekends ago in Woodridge with a 1,408 over six games.
More people than me marvel at your climb, right?
Some people have asked me how I’ve improved so fast, faster than so many people. I just go to lessons [in Des Plaines], listen to my coaches and take their advice. At my first lesson, they told me I had natural talent and I should go develop it.
Has students’ consciousness about Saints bowling grown?
In a good way, yes. Some people still view bowling as a for-fun activity, and I just wish some people would understand that it’s actually a sport, as well. Just like football, baseball. And I do want to move on to bowl in college, as well. … So far I’ve not decided on a school yet. My top school right now is Webber International in Florida.
Any big hiccups in the move from St. Charles Bowl to Bowling Green?
I think it’s been a much better transition. Even though it’s a different house, it didn’t really take too long to adjust because we’ve all bowled there so many times. We get fresh oil every match and there’s a little bit more room. ... We’ve moved up from four lanes to practice on to eight lanes now, which gives us more free time to practice.
“Kingpin” was released when you were still crawling, I think, but how does it stack up as a bowling movie?
It’s pretty popular with bowlers. I’ve seen it a couple times on TV. I think it’s pretty funny during a few moments of the movie.