COVID nurse is thrilled to be back on pro bowling circuit

Aug 4, 2021, 7:28 AM | Updated: 3:42 pm

Critical care nurse and professional bowler Erin McCarthy competes at the 2021 PWBA Kickoff Classic Series in Arlington, Texas, on Jan. 26, 2021. "You have to have a calm demeanor and think clearly," McCarthy says. "I think that's probably why I love doing them both equally as much." (USBC via AP)

(USBC via AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — Nursing and professional bowling aren’t usually found on the same resume. In fact, Erin McCarthy is just one of a few to claim that territory.

The 31-year-old McCarthy has weathered the pandemic as a critical care nurse in Omaha, and she did it during the darkest days of the coronavirus crisis without her usual release valve — competing on the Professional Women’s Bowling Association circuit.

Now back on the tour, McCarthy is splitting her time between hospital work and traveling to meets to regain her momentum on the lanes.

“Bowling has always been a part of my life, but I didn’t realize how much it meant to me until it was taken away,” she told The Associated Press in a recent Zoom interview from the home she shares with her fiancee, two soon-to-be stepkids and a couple of dogs.

“Bowling is definitely my outlet.”

McCarthy began bowling at age 2, when her parents would let her roll balls two-handed. She stuck with it through youth league play and attended college on a bowling scholarship while also completing nursing school. She’s been doing both professionally since the PWBA was revived in 2015.

“At first I was kind of quiet about it, but eventually the word got out that oh, I bowl, and people realized that I don’t just do it for fun,” she said of her colleagues at Methodist Hospital. “Now they follow my events. The hospital has been very supportive, so I feel fortunate I’m able to do both things.”

And she’s been doing both things with a trademark calm.

The unassuming McCarthy saw her share of tragedy when the pandemic stormed Omaha last year. In the early weeks, while other pro bowlers were setting up mattresses at home to fashion practice lanes, McCarthy decided not to train at all, focusing on her critically ill COVID-19 patients and helping her young stepchildren cope with remote learning.

“I saw more death in 2020 than I’ve seen in my 7 1/2 years of nursing. It was a pretty difficult time, but I think it allowed me to grow and learn more as a nurse and as a person,” she said. “COVID kind of wore me out physically and mentally.”

McCarthy sees similarities between bowling and nursing.

“Being in a critical care unit, you have to have a very mellow, laid-back personality. It’s almost like chaos calms me, as weird as that sounds. And bowling is kind of the same way. You know, you have to have a calm demeanor and think clearly. You can’t rush through things. I think that’s probably why I love doing them both equally as much.”

Before the pandemic, McCarthy spent 30 to 40 weekends each year in tournament play, with longer bowling trips thrown in. She’s been back in the groove since January, nursing during the week.

Her hospital, along with another one where she also works, remains firmly in her bowling cheer squad — and her nursing one, too.

“She’s an excellent advocate for our patients and is a true team player,” said Tim Hoarty, the service leader of the unit where McCarthy works at Methodist Hospital. “She’s also incredibly humble. Her bowling prowess doesn’t surprise me nor anyone who works with her, but she doesn’t advertise her successes.”

Those successes, since resuming competitive play, include some top five finishes, a remarkable feat considering the practice and training time she lost.

“I wasn’t quite as good as some of the other women who devote all of their time to bowling, so I feel like I’ve had to really work to prove myself,” McCarthy said. “I’m just happy to have it back.”

___

Associated Press religion coverage receives support from the Lilly Endowment through The Conversation U.S. The AP is solely responsible for this content.

___

Associated Press video journalist Emily Leshner contributed to this story.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A man takes refuge on a road in Jaffarabad, a flood-hit district of Baluchistan province, Pakistan,...
Associated Press

Flood-ravaged Pakistan contests ratings downgrade by Moody’s

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan on Friday contested a downgrading of its rating by Moody’s Investors Service, insisting it has adequate reserves and financing to pay back foreign debt despite the worst flooding in its history. Such downgrades tend to shake the confidence of investors because the action is seen as a warning that Pakistan is […]
6 hours ago
Associated Press

Judge to decide next steps on Ohio ‘heartbeat’ abortion ban

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A judge in Ohio was scheduled to hear arguments Friday on whether to extend a block on Ohio’s law banning virtually all abortions on a more permanent basis. Hamilton County Judge Christian Jenkins previously decided to pause the law through Oct. 12, after it took effect in the wake of federal […]
6 hours ago
FILE - Britain's Minister of State (Minister for Climate) Graham Stuart addresses the 2022 Nuclear ...
Associated Press

UK offers new North Sea oil, gas licenses despite opposition

LONDON (AP) — The British government opened a new licensing round for North Sea oil and gas exploration Friday despite criticism from environmentalists and scientists who say the move undermines the country’s commitment to fighting climate change. The Conservative government argues that extracting more fossil fuels from the North Sea will create jobs and strengthen […]
6 hours ago
FILE - Elon Musk speaks at the SATELLITE Conference and Exhibition March 9, 2020, in Washington. Tr...
Associated Press

To buy Twitter, Musk has to keep banks, investors on board

If the squabbling ever stops over Elon Musk’s renewed bid to buy Twitter, experts say he still faces a huge obstacle to closing the $44 billion deal: Keeping his financing in place. Earlier this week, Musk reversed course and said he’d go through with acquiring the social media company under the same terms he agreed […]
6 hours ago
FILE - In this file photo released by the U.S. Navy, a Saildrone Explorer unmanned sea drone sails ...
Associated Press

US, UK hold drone drill in Persian Gulf after Iran seizures

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The U.S. Navy held a joint drone drill with the United Kingdom on Friday in the Persian Gulf, testing the same unmanned surveillance ships that Iran twice has seized in recent months in the Middle East. The exercise comes as the U.S. Navy separately told commercial shippers in the […]
6 hours ago
Vera Ivanovna, 81, right, walks alongs with her friends after receiving her pension payment in Chas...
Associated Press

Missiles, drones hit Zaporizhzhia again as death toll rises

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — The death toll from a missile attack on apartment buildings in a southern Ukrainian city rose to 11 as more Russian missiles and — for the first time — explosive packed drones targeted Ukrainian-held Zaporizhzhia on Friday. As the war sparked by Russia’s February invasion of its neighbor ground on, the […]
6 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
...
Sanderson Ford

Don’t let rising fuel prices stop you from traveling Arizona this summer

There's no better time to get out on the open road and see what the beautiful state of Arizona has to offer. But if the cost of gas is putting a cloud over your summer vacation plans, let Sanderson Ford help with their wide-range selection of electric vehicles.
(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
COVID nurse is thrilled to be back on pro bowling circuit