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Bowlers are a special breed

ORU bowling coach Christina Holcomb is United States Bowling Congress (USBC) silver level certified.
ORU bowling coach Christina Holcomb is United States Bowling Congress (USBC) silver level certified.

Surviving a plane crash and owning a restaurant make bowling a 300 seem easy, but for ORU Bowling Coach Christina Holcomb, all three require a high level of dedication and passion.

Now a silver level bowling coach, coaching for ORU and privately coaching, Holcomb is someone who doesn’t shy away from life’s challenges.  Her sense of adventure led her to one of the world’s top culinary institutes, and then to opening her own restaurant, gaining her pilot’s license and owning her own plane, and becoming a nationally ranked bowling coach.

Holcomb has had no shortage of exciting experiences, and she has faced each one head on. A powerful example of this is when a mechanical problem caused Holcomb’s plane to lose power at 10,000 feet. She and her husband crash landed.

“By all rights, my husband and I should have died in that plane crash,” Holcomb explained. “The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) said ‘if you didn’t fly that airplane all the way to the ground, you both would have died.’ There wasn’t a scratch on my husband, not a scratch on him.”

Holcomb herself walked away with only minor injuries, and the crash only served as a reminder of another adventure for her.

“I honestly believe that God spared my life,” Holcomb said. “He wanted me to come to Tulsa and work with these special needs kids. It’s the best part of my day.”

Holcomb coaches 14 special needs students and gives over 100 private lessons a month. She started working for the ORU Athletic Department 16 years ago when she noticed room for improvement in the bowling class.

“There was a guy here who did the program when I first got here,” Holcomb said. “He was just having them come out and bowl.  It wasn’t a serious class at all, even though they were getting credit. So I put together a syllabus and spoke with the owner here and they decided to make the change.”

The class meets at Andy B’s once a week, and students get free bowling passes every class period. Holcomb seeks to merge fun and real technique learning in her class.

“I like to have fun with the students. But still, I want you to learn,” Holcomb said. “And when you guys are done, you’re gonna be able to take four steps, swing your arm, and run the ball down the lane, and you’re gonna knock down pins, and that’s what I care about.”

For Holcomb, bowling holds a special place in her heart. Of all the adventures she continues to have, she finds a specific kind of fulfillment in coaching bowling.

“Bowlers are a special breed. It’s kind of interesting, because it’s kind of like I’m a doctor and they’re coming to me to get healed,” she said. “Well, you know what, I think what I really like about working with the kids is the fact that I am giving them a lifetime skill. And it’s something they’re gonna take with them when they’re grown.”

Holcomb is a living example of taking advantage of everything life throws at you, seeing challenges as new experiences.

“If you ever say ‘what if,’ just go do it,” Holcomb challenged. “I just lived my life to that and it’s led me down many courses. I love it, everything I do; it’s like if I didn’t do it, I’d be sorry.”