Northcrest Lanes in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario is definitely a second home for Aidan Bass. This soon-to-be sixteen year old, (September) is rising up through the ranks of Canada’s and the United State’s bowling championship tournaments.
“I started when I was little kid, and then stopped for awhile.” shared Aidan Bass. “When I was 10 or 11 years old I started watching my dad bowl, and decided that I would like to start doing it again. When we moved to the Sault (2010) from Windsor, I picked bowling back up.”
Not surprisingly, Aidan’s father Tim is a tremendous champion for his son, as is mom Laurie. The family is a trio, and bowling is their game. Tim and Aidan Bass shared highlights of the last year, and especially summer 2016 with saultonline during a recent evening practise bowl at Northcrest Lanes on Great Northern Road (behind Quattro Hotel and Convention Centre).
The Bass family has logged some serious road mileage in the 2015/2016 bowling season, travelling to Canadian and American destinations for major bowling tournaments.
Aidan played at the YBC (Youth Bowling Canada) National championships in Calgary Alberta, May 7 – 9, 2016. He won two Gold medals there, including as part of the Northern Ontario team. youthbowl.ca
“Aidan won the YBC provincial championships and represented Northern Ontario in Calgary where he won gold in the boys team event along with Aaron Craig and Braedyn Woolley from Thunder Bay. He also won the gold in singles.” said Tim Bass.
He and family then travelled to St. Catherine’s, Ontario, for the Canadian National Ten Pin Federation (CTF) tournament in early June. Aidan won three more gold medals there. www.gotenpinbowling.ca
Aidan won the CTF provincial championships (Canadian Tenpin Federation) and represented Northern Ontario. “The three gold medals include tournament play in doubles with Abbigail Gunsinger from Thunder Bay, as well as singles, and All events categories.” he said.
“There are two different National tournament competitions. There is YBC (Youth Bowling Canada) and CTF (Canadian Ten Pin Federation).” said Tim.
Aidan also received banners commemorating the wins, that will be hung at Northcrest Lanes.
“Bowling season is usually September – May, with major Canadian tournaments taking place in May and June.”
During a normal bowling season, Aidan heads to Northcrest Lanes at least 4 or 5 times per week. He spends 3-4 hours each time, bowling around 50 – 60 games per week.
Aidan also bowls throughout the mid-western United States in the Western Michigan Junior Gold Tour.wmjgt.org
“Aidan did very well on the gold tour, winning four out of the five events he went to, qualifying him for the US National Championships.” shared Tim.
“The US Nationals were held in Indianapolis, Indiana this year; In July. We spent 11 days there and Aidan qualified 6th out of 519 youth in his age group.”
Wow. Now that’s something alright!
“Bowling for me is about getting mentally and physically prepared when going to tournaments.” shared Aidan.
Aidan was one of 4,000 young people converging on Indianapolis in July, 2016 for the US Junior Gold National Championships. The 2016 tournament was Aidan’s second trip to the US Junior Gold Nationals.
Aidan has made friend and fans while competing over the last few years. While competing at the 2016 US Junior Gold Nationals, Aidan had a cheer squad made up of family and friends of fellow bowlers that he and family have met in their travels.
“After the first couple of rounds, there is the advancer rounds. At the final advancer rounds, there were people there supporting me from other parts of Canada, especially Ontario cities, Kitchener, St. Catherine’s and more southern parts of the province.” he said.
“We’re like family at this point. We catch up with each other, and support all of the young people bowling in the tournaments.” said Tim.
All together, Aidan has been to 5 National tournaments. The cost of tournaments adds up, and a trip to Indianapolis for example can cost upwards of $3500.00. The 11 day trip to Indiana included participation for Aidan in more bowling opportunities.
“There are other tournaments going on at the same time.” said Tim. “Aidan ended up bowling in the US Open Championships. There are singles, doubles and teams. Aidan was asked to bowl with a team from Ohio. These are all friends he has made from Michigan and Ohio and other parts of the US through the Western Junior Gold Tour.”
“Our vacations are bowling tournaments. Our entire vacation allotment from work for my wife and I, is all about bowling. We love it though, and look forward to seeing everyone.”
A highlight from the 2016 tournaments for Aiden happened at the Canadian Nationals (CTF).
“On the last day, I had already bowled 5 games. For the point system we bowl against people from a different province, and then it switches throughout the schedule. During the 2nd last game, the boy behind me lost his game, so I was on track to winning the match and the gold medal. I needed to make a spare in the 10th frame to win. I ended up leaving a ‘wash-out’ which is a split so I needed to make the split to win the entire tournament. And I did it.” he said.
Tim Bass bowls as well, and enjoys bowling as a recreational pursuit with healthy competition.
“He has the house record at Northcrest Lanes. Highest three game total in the Lanes history.” stated Aidan.
Laurie Bass is the programme director for the youth bowling league.
Sam Cristillo (owner Northcrest Lanes) has been very supportive of Aidan. Ever since we moved here, and started bowling at Northcrest Lanes, Sam noticed Aidan’s talent. Whenever Aidan needs something, he accommodates us. He sees the dedication and potential that Aidan has for the game.” shared Tim.
“The staff, everyone here (Northcrest Lanes) treats Aidan like family; He’s everyone’s little brother around here.” he said.
The bowling alley is Aidan’s second home for sure.
“Bowling is fun, and I would like to see the sport growing in Canada.” shared Aidan. “More people should try it out. It’s not nearly as popular as it should be.”
The next bowling season starts in two weeks. “I’ll be moving up in an age division.” said Aidan. He will go from Junior to Intermediate in CTF (15-17 yrs.) and Junior to Senior in YBC (15-21 yrs.).
Aidan’s long-term goal is to get recruited to one of the many United States post-secondary schools where bowling teams are well supported.
“Aidan is working towards a scholarship to attend an American University or College.” said Tim.
“As far as scholarships go, we’re getting into his Junior (school) year now, and scouts can start contacting and recruiting Aidan.”
“Georgian College in Barrie, Ontario has just introduced a bowling programme and team, and will be competing in the United States tournament circuit.”
Aidan’s goal for this year, is to attend the Canadian National Youth team trials in May, 2017.
“There isn’t any high school bowling in the Sault unfortunately. We don’t have teams like they do in many of the schools in the US.” said Aidan
“When we go to tournaments in the United States, people are surprised to learn that we don’t have high school bowling teams here.” shared Tim.
“We have about 80 kids registered in the Youth League here.” said Tim, who is a coach with the Youth League at Northcrest Lanes.
“Most of the youth are between 7-10 years of age.” said Aidan. And he would like to see that growing into stronger numbers, especially for teenagers.
Aidan has 2 other national gold medals from 2013, and a National Silver from 2014.
Aidan received the Sault Ste. Marie Mayor’s Medal of Merit in 2014 as a youth who has achieved provincial or national championship status in an athletic or other competitive endeavour.
He attends high school at St. Mary’s College, Huron-Superior Catholic District school Board.
Strike! Aidan Bass is bowling golden indeed. Congratulations from the saultonline team.
To register for the youth bowling league or any recreational league, visit Northcrest Lanes here: (northcrestbowling.com)