By Eric Keppeler email@example.com
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — It’s amazing what you can do when all of your limbs are intact. Just ask Kyle Behr.
The North Tonawanda junior gutted out the entire second half of last year’s high school bowling season with a cracked right forearm.
He managed respectable numbers — averaging in the neighborhood of 197 — but they pale in comparison to what he’s been able to do so far this season.
“I couldn’t hook the ball at all last year,” Behr said. “It was really painful to move my hand at all. Right now, I’m just trying to slow the game down and not be as nervous. It helps me keep my sanity.”
The results have been most impressive.
Behr currently owns the highest single game so far this season in Niagara Frontier League play at 289, as well as the high series at a staggering 845.
His 215.79 average is second-best in the league as he helped the Lumberjack boys win six of their first eight league tilts.
“He has a tremendous enthusiasm for the game,” NT coach Bill Rohring said. “He never quits on it. He really rips the cover off the ball, but now he’s also learning better control.”
Behr has been the bane of local alleys since the tender age of 4, when he discovered the sport as a fun way to spend time with his father. He started participating in leagues and tournaments by the time he was 8.
By the time he hit seventh grade, he became a fixture on the high school team.
Now at age 17 and in his fifth year on the team, Behr likes the way his game is evolving. The right-hander describes himself as a finesse guy with a big hook.
“Now I try and just let it flow,” he said. “Before, I used to try and bowl to reach a certain score, but that didn’t work out too well. Now, I don’t over-think when I’m up there, and that helps a lot.”
Behr admitted that last season was tough after he injured his arm while snowboarding (“Guess I was a little over-confident on the slopes.”)
He knew that he had hurt his arm, but he held off getting confirmation until after the season ended because he didn’t want to be shut down.
So he played without any kind of hook because, he said, turning his wrist was just too painful.
“He still had plenty of strength, but he had some trouble aiming his shots,” Rohring said. “He was kind of like a wild pitcher. But he wouldn’t get it X-rayed until after the season, because he knew he’d be done if it showed he had a broken arm.”
The rebound has been solid enough that Behr has turned his ambitions to qualifying for the state bowling tournament — either with his team, or more likely on the squad of top individual bowlers.
“I think I’ve got a shot at the individual team for states,” Behr said. “Focus is important. If you’re angry after you miss a spare, you’re not going to do well the rest of the game. You have to be in control.”