Safe to say that bowling is a way of life for the Simonds family.
Brother’s Aaron (senior), Colton (junior) and Brendan (seventh grade) are key reasons why the Tonawanda Warriors boys’ bowling team is once again considered a top contender for a sectional title.
But bowling is more than just a sport or a pass time for this City of Tonawanda family. It’s a way of life. “It feels like it’s a family sport,” Aaron Simonds said, prior to a practice at the Tonawanda Bowling Center. “Because when you grow up in it, it’s more fun and more enjoyable.”
Following in the footsteps of their older siblings Austin and Jared who also bowled for the Warriors, the Simonds are carrying on the family tradition that begins with their parents, Steve and Wanda Simonds.
Both experienced bowlers in their own right, it was their parents, especially Steve who not only passed along his knowledge of the game, but also instilled the passion for bowling in their boys.
Colton added that there was also something awe-inspiring about the way everybody knew his dad whenever they walk into an alley. It fill him with pride and made him want to be just like his dad.
“I remember when I was Brendan’s age and we’d be going around for local tournaments my dad would walk in and he’d start shaking hands and everybody knew him,” Colton said. “I didn’t know anybody, but now I do.”
Tonawanda boys’ coach Daryl Macro basically sees himself as just an overseer of what the Simonds already know. Feeling very lucky to always have Simonds’ on the team since he’s been coaching, Macro gives full marks to Steve Simonds for all of the work he has done to develop them as true bowlers.
“Credit goes to their dad,” Macro stated. “He’s the rock that has gotten them into the game and it’s year-round. Taking them to tournaments and working with them.”
And the work has paid off as the Simonds are once again putting up impressive and consistent numbers this season.
Aaron, a co-captain, made varsity as an eighth grader. He is sporting a 213 average and is the anchor for the Warrior’s A-Team. His high game (277) and series (725) rank at the top the ECIC North Small School Division.
Colton, who anchors the B-Team, has a 209 average and has also been on varsity since seventh.
Continuing the family legacy, Brendan, who is on the B-Team holds a 174 average.
Striving to be as well-rounded as possible Aaron played varsity football for the Warriors, while Colton is on the golf team and Brendan played modified football. While the Simonds do enjoy competing in other sports there is no question that bowling is what makes them all tick.
“It’s bowling for me,” Colton said. “I want to go to college (on a) bowling (scholarship).”
One would think that being the youngest of five, Brendan might have the desire to make his own name in a different sport. While other sports did cross his mind deep down Brendan knew his place was on the lanes with his brothers.
“You gotta stick to what you’re good at,” Brendan said.
Aaron, on the other hand, did experiment with other sports. First drawn to wrestling in seventh grade, Aaron joked that when the losses piled up he knew wrestling wasn’t his calling. So he gravitated to bowling, but then gave the swim team a try as a sophomore. Though he did well, the pull of his real love-bowling-was too great and he returned his junior season.
“I always knew that I was really good at bowling and that I could come back to it,” Aaron said.
“So I wanted to try something different because I know I have a wide athletic range and I wanted to see what else I could also be good at.”
The perfect blend of supporting and challenging each other, Aaron, Colton and Brendan know they can rely on each other for emotional support on a tough day. But they also know that no one will push them to the limit harder. Like when they play King of the Hill a game within the match where the one with the highest pin total is the king for that day.
“I bowled a 720 (On Dec.20) in our match and I said ‘Aaron, you see that up there?” Colton said.
“He goes you’re in second place, bud. Because he had bowled a 725.”
“That’s the part of family bonding. Will call it brotherly love,” Macro said.
“The competitiveness. They’re trying to outdo each other and that’s typical of a sibling rivalry. What they do is they’re gonna push. I wanna beat you, but then again I’m also there to support you. So there’s a caring side. There’s a competitive side and there’s a hey-you know what. You’ve got to do this (to improve). So when you’re not bowling well they’re right there to help out.”
Though his numbers may not be quite as gaudy as his brother’s at the moment, Brendan said seeing Aaron and Colton do well is what motivates him to want to do better.
“A hundred percent,” Brendan said. “Every game I just try to beat them.”
All driven to make states, the Simonds are also wise enough to live in the moment and know how special it is to share this varsity journey together.
For the Simonds bowling is more than just about fun, it’s about family. And it will always be that way.