By Dave Ricci
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — Tonawanda bowling coach Peter Maduri smiled as he called freshman Josh Large his "stone-faced killer" during a recent practice at the Tonawanda Bowling Center. Meanwhile, the somewhat mild-mannered Large wasn't quite sure what to make of his coach's statement.
Rest assured, Josh. It was a compliment. As the Warriors closed the books on the month of December, Josh Large emerged to be the biggest surprised of the season as his 204 average leads the team.
"He's a really calm guy," Maduri said. "He doesn't show a lot of emotion."
In the opening match of the season, Large posted a stunning 289 score that included 10 strikes. Maduri said that Large's demeanor was unchanged throughout. He was focused and ready for business.
"The 10th one had the same reaction as the first one. No reaction at all, really." Maduri said. "I think that's actually a good thing."
Large, still somewhat shocked at his strong start, wasn't really sure how to sum up why things have clicked so quickly for him so far.
"Yeah," Large quietly said. "I've been doing good."
In his second season of varsity, Large spent most of his eighth grade season as a sub on the Warriors C-team. This season, a lead bowler on the Warriors B-Team, Large has made such an incredible leap that he is actually challenging for the all-time high season average for freshmen which, according to available information, is a 207.
"Just keep practicing and keeping coming out and working my hardest," Large said of his game plan for the rest of the year.
Though bowling obviously isn't a contact sport like football or wrestling young bowlers are still prone to an intimidation factor when it comes to facing older opponents. Large's time spent on the C-Team gave him a chance to acclimate himself to his varsity surroundings and thus be more effective this year.
"I think it was good because he was able to sit back and analyze what the older players last year were doing and just get comfortable with the high school bowling environment," Maduri said. "It is a lot different because Josh was used to bowling in Saturday morning league. So I think that was part of the thing that got him comfortable."
The combination learning from the more experienced teammates and getting spot starts last year gave Large the foundation for the success his is seeing now.
"It helped me get better," Large said."It was really beneficial because I could learn more from them (older teammates) because they've been on the team longer."
Maduri also believes that the time sitting, watching and waiting last year helped Large cultivate his desire to comeback stronger this year so he could earn a starting spot.
"I'm more comfortable because I saw how it was last year," Large said. "My confidence is getting better."
Developing into a true student of the game, Large has shown the maturity to dissect and adjust to whatever situation he is facing on the lanes.
"He definitely shows a lot of versatility and just a really good understanding of the game and the moves that he needs to make," Maduri said."And adjustment wise, he's always right on his game."
One look at Josh's scores proves it.