Everything’s just perfect

Photo: Pexels.com.

Photo: Pexels.com.

Jesse Phillips is on a roll, and not just because he bowled a 300 game.

San Marcos High senior Jesse Phillips rolled his way into the history books last month when he bowled a perfect 300 game during the adult/youth summer league at Zodo’s — Bowling & Beyond.

“In the history of Santa Barbara, I’m the only junior bowler to ever shoot a 300,” said the 16-year-old Phillips, who started bowling when he was 13.

Recalling his 300 game, Phillips said: “I took it frame by frame. … Your heart starts beating pretty fast as soon as you’re at about eight strikes. Everybody stops bowling around you and they start watching. All the lanes were silent.

In addition to the thrill of victory, Phillips will receive a $150 scholarship from Zodo’s and a YABA (Young American Bowling Alliance) 300 Ring.

It’s like a Super Bowl ring for bowlers, Phillips explained.

“I seem to excel in tournaments more than practice, just because of the thrill of it,” he said.

Phillips and his partner, KC Ogata, won the state doubles championship last year. Phillips also placed sixth in all events, seventh in Junior Gold and eighth on Team USA.

He won his first title in the majors division last season, competing against top youth bowlers, as well as members of the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and UCSB bowling teams. Phillips was also recently honored as the Junior Amateur Tour Farm Club Rookie of the Year. He hopes to turn professional after his 18th birthday.

“That’s my goal in life, to be a pro bowler,” said the former Pony Baseball all-star pitcher.

Phillips said he tries to bowl at least four times a week, bowling in as many leagues as he can and playing in lots of tournaments.

“My mom’s been very supportive,” said Phillips, who also praised his coaches — Tom Shepard, Toshi Ogata, Dave Koppa and Bob Angulo — and Laura Shepard, Zodo’s youth director.

“There is no greater feeling of pride then watching the youths you mentor achieving success, not only in their bowling accomplishments but also in their lives,” said Shepard, who is working to start bowling clubs at the local high schools and eventually make bowling a CIF sport.

“Teaching athletes to excel in their sport is small in comparison to the life lessons we teach hoping to pass on lifelong skills on the way. These youths are our extended family and knowing that you made a difference in some of their lives is my ‘300’ every day.”

Originally published in South Coast Beacon on September 9, 2004.

A different view of alcohol use

Photo courtesy http://maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com/Alcohol-Beverages-Bottles-Spirits-Bottle-Collection-295623

Photo courtesy http://maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com/Alcohol-Beverages-Bottles-Spirits-Bottle-Collection-295623

A high school film crew documents some troubling answers while exploring accessibility.

You feel a shy tap on your shoulder as you make a quick stop at the mini-mart. A sweet-faced girl looks up at you with those big baby blues and thrusts a $20 bill toward you. “Would you buy me 12-pack of Coors?”

How realistic is this “shoulder tap” scenario? That’s one of the things teenage volunteers at the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Coalition, or ADAP, are trying to find out with their new documentary project about alcohol accessibility.

The video, which began filming last week, asks teens frank questions like, “How easy it is to get a fake ID? Have you ever tried alcohol? How easy it is to get alcohol?” and more.

While filmmakers Nico Constantinedes, Ed Santee and Kevin Spracher, all seniors at San Marcos High, admitted the group of kids being filmed was somewhat self-selecting; they said they still got some frank, and potentially incriminating, answers from teen participants.

The first question asked of everyone was whether they wanted to be anonymous, in which case their face would be obscured in the documentary and their name would not be used. And then there was the other carrot: “Free food and community service hours for doing almost nothing,” as Spracher put it.

Along with being interviewed for the documentary, teens enjoyed a live DJ and tried on “beer goggles” that approximated the effects of drinking varying degrees of alcohol.

“Whoa, I can barely see,” San Marcos senior Sadie Carlin said as she tried on the goggles that approximated a blood-alcohol level of 0.08, the equivalent of two drinks, according to the Mothers Against Drunk Driving volunteer who manned the beer goggle demonstration.

Approximately 40 youth from local senior and junior high schools showed up to participate, said Jeff Hurley, ADAP coordinator. They were partially enticed by raffle prizes donated by places like Magic Mountain, Hurricane Harbor, Subway, In-N-Out, Zodo’s, Fatburger, Pizza Mizza and Jamba Juice; the opportunity to hang out with friends; and, of course, to help make an important statement about alcohol issues in our community.

The ADAP crew will continue to work on its film in collaboration with the city of Santa Barbara Parks and Recreation Department and local law enforcement. The group plans to show the documentary at local schools when it’s complete.

Originally published in South Coast Beacon on September 9, 2004.

Moms in Motion go the distance for their cause

They carpool through the streets of Santa Barbara, they manage our local businesses and they hurry through the aisles at Vons. On Sunday they swam, biked and ran their way through the Gold’s Gym Women’s Sprint Triathlon at East Beach. They are the Moms in Motion, and they truly are unstoppable.

Founded in 2000 by local triathlete and mom Jamie Allison, the group was designed to bring women together in a constructive, meaningful way.

“It’s an awesome, inspiring, eclectic group,” said Allison, who has helped expand Moms in Motion to 10 other teams nationwide, with about 15 more in the works. The foundations of the group are fun, fitness and philanthropy.

In addition to training teams that include triathletes, runners, walkers and hikers, each year the group adopts a different charity. This year’s beneficiary is Domestic Violence Solutions. In addition to donating more than $1,000, Moms in Motion adopted one of the shelters, painting it and buying bed and bath linens and playground equipment, said Allison.

The idea is to pick a different group each session, so participants can learn more about local philanthropic opportunities. Past recipients have included Operation School Bell, the Daniel Bryant Youth & Family Treatment Center, the Barbara Ireland Walk for the Cure, the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, and the Susan Love M.D. Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

The primary beneficiaries, however, are the participants themselves.

“I love the idea that women need some time for themselves, away from all of their other responsibilities,” said Emma Rollin Moore, who served as head coach for this year’s triathlon team since Allison is pregnant.

Everyone finished the sprint course on Sunday, Moore said.

“It’s a tough duty but somebody’s got to do it,” said Jon Beeson, the group’s only male coach.

While women of all ages and abilities are welcome, including those who aren’t moms, Beeson is the first man to join the team.

“He came as a guest speaker last year,” said Allison. “All the women loved him so much” that she asked him to come on-board as the head swim coach.

“Getting in the ocean is a little frightening for them,” said Beeson.

Even women who are strong swimmers are sometimes intimidated. Beeson said he mostly works with the “back of the pack” people to get their skills and confidence ready to tackle the triathlon.

When Cathy Leyva joined the team last year, she didn’t even know how to swim. Persuasive speakers convinced her to sign up for the triathlon team that night and, “as I was driving home, I realized … I don’t know how to swim!” Days later she was in pool alongside the preschoolers at Wendy Fereday Swim School. By her first team meeting, she had a basic stroke down.

Leyva, who never considered herself an athlete, finished her first triathlon last year.

“It was so exciting, like someone had given me a gift. At that moment I realized why I had joined this group,” said Leyva, who competed again Sunday.

“To these women we were all stars, even if we came in last.”

Fear of coming in last, along with the aforementioned fear of swimming in the ocean, is among the key challenges many of the women on the triathlon team face. Allison helps make at least one of those fears disappear for teammates.

“I always come in last place,” she said.

But clearly, there are no losers in this group.

Originally published in South Coast Beacon