Jeff Eagan

The lanes stand silent in the still morning air as Bakersfield College students slowly make their way through the glass doors of Westchester Bowl.

They all have their reasons for bowling, but their single purpose is to meet for their daily game as part of a physical fitness class.

The cadre of bowlers all have their own unique styles, some callously throwing the ball down the alley, while others carefully cup it in their hand to release a tremendous spin toward the awaiting pins.

The class welcomes bowlers of all skill levels to come and enjoy bowling and earn P.E. credit in the process.

Ernesto Toribio, a first-time bowler, was one of the many beginners who took advantage of the class to learn about the sport.

“I don’t really care about winning, I just like to have fun. I like it because it’s laid back, and you just hit the pins, that’s it,” he said.

There are two sections of the class that meet at 8 a.m., Monday through Thursdays.

There are no requirements except that students pay a dollar to play and must show up every class day and bowl at least one game.

Since the class is offered only in the morning, some students have a hard time getting there.

One student, Joey Kaminski, 23, said the time of the class bothers him sometimes.

“It’s been a while since I’ve bowled, and it’s hard for me to wake up in the morning,” Kaminski said.

However, compared to an English or math class, bowling is fun according to some students. Instructor Tina Cummings attests to the students’ willingness to stay in the class.

“I think they’d much rather get up at eight for bowling than for an English class,” Cummings said. “This class actually has a really good retention rate as opposed to some of my other physical education classes.”

“They take this class because they want to bowl and they finish the class. They don’t flake like they do in other classes.”

Cummings encourages everyone to help each other out, especially the more seasoned bowlers who have been in the game for a while.

“We have a few students in here that are competitive bowlers that take it seriously, and I encourage them to help each other while they’re bowling,” she said.

Some of the bowlers enjoy the sport outside of class as well.

One such student, Bryan Jackson, 19, bowls competitively outside of class and has a high score of 287.

“I bowl in a league at Regency (Lanes) on Sunday nights. I’m there every week,” he said.

Jackson said he always competes against his last score, and that this class offers him an extra opportunity to practice. While he may be the best player in the class, Jackson tries to have fun despite his competitive nature.

“Yes, usually (I’m competitive). I try to have fun most of the time, but I do get that way,” he said.