We were lucky enough to have the opportunity to speak with Tiffany Greene, a play-by-play commentator for ESPN, covering a variety of collegiate sports including basketball, football, softball and volleyball and the first African-American woman to serve as a play-by-play commentator for college football on a major network. We asked Tiffany about her collegiate bowling career, bowling preferences, and impact the sport has had on her life.
Who inspired you to initially begin bowling? Was this a family activity, or a passion developed on your own?
Tiffany: Bowling began as a family activity. My sister and I would participate in bowling leagues on Saturdays. It was always a good time. I think I took it a little more seriously because I’m very competitive.
What’s your favorite thing about bowling?
Tiffany: I love hitting the pocket. There is a great sense of satisfaction when I see the ball roll into the pocket. It lets me know that I’m consistently hitting my spot, that I’ve adjusted to the lane conditions and that I’m on. Oh, and the cracking of pins is a joyous sound!
What impact do you believe bowling had on your future?
Tiffany: I grew up playing team sports, but bowling presented me with something a little different. I liked playing alongside others, but I also enjoyed competing against myself. When I would go to Florida A&M for summer enrichment programs, I would spend a lot of time in the campus bowling alley, Galimore Lanes. Little did I know the guy running it was also the bowling coach. So, when I stopped in the week before my freshman year, he asked me to roll a game, then proceeded to offer me a scholarship. Pretty sweet huh? I can’t remember what I bowled that day, but it was good enough to join the team. I averaged 180 over the two years I bowled.
The PWBA Tour was re-launched back in 2015 and has been one of the biggest success stories in bowling. What do you think it means to young girls to have incredible women bowlers like Kelly Kulick and Liz Johnson, who have won pro tournaments against the men, to look up to?
Tiffany: It is so important to see people who look like you have success because it shows young boys and girls the possibilities. Kelly and Liz are lighting up the lanes with their talent. Their wins prove they can bowl with anyone. Their example fuels the mantra for girls that if I can see her, I can be here.
Tell us about your experiences going to your local bowling center growing up.
Tiffany: I associate my time at Pin Chasers, which were the AMF lanes when I was growing up, with fun. When I stepped into the bowling alley there were all different skill levels and styles, so I could get in where I fit in. I felt welcomed by everyone and inspired by watching people of all ages and abilities.
I know you bowled when you were growing up in Tampa and I understand you bowled collegiately. Do you still enjoy bowling to this day?
Tiffany: I still enjoy bowling! I don’t do it as often because most of my friends and family don’t want to bowl with me. True story, I was engaged at the time to my husband now and we went on a date to go bowling. He was a little reluctant because we both went to FAMU and he knew I was the bowling team. Well, my skills were on full display that night and I whooped up on him pretty good with a house ball. He, also being really competitive, was none too pleased and we didn’t talk for like three days. It’s still a sore spot for him but we can laugh about it. I really try to just have a good time now and not be so competitive all the time.
You’ve played an iconic role in sports broadcasting, being able to claim a few “firsts”. What has that meant to you?
Tiffany: The hard work of those who came before me helped to create the opportunities I’m experiencing today. To be the first in something is special but it also affirms that I’m walking in my purpose. I dreamed of being a sportscaster when I was five years old and to see it become a reality is awesome. But I’ve also learned that only God can dream a bigger dream for you than you can dream for yourself. I didn’t dream I’d be a pioneer or that I could influence young people. I’m humbled by knowing I can provide hope. My greatest responsibility in all of this is to do my absolute best so that the door can remain open for other African-American women and women of color.
Is there a message you’d want to send to young bowlers about your experience? Any advice that you’d like to give?
Tiffany: Bowling is a lifelong game that you can pursue as a sport or recreationally. No matter how you decide to approach it, have fun.
As posted on gobowling.com