|NATIONAL TENPINS COACHES ASSOCIATION
With Rod Williamson
Doubling Her Pleasure
McKendree’s Gramly Shines in Two Sports
The sporting woods are full of warriors whose ball-playing careers ended with high school graduation. They were too small, too slow, too
distracted, too awkward or too burned out to run another wind sprint.
A tiny percentage of athletes advance to play collegiately, challenging themselves against the best. And then there are rarest of all birds gifted
enough to play two sports. Welcome to Hope Gramly’s world.
Gramly is a junior at McKendree University, talented enough to have been named honorable mention All-America as a bowler her sophomore
year while also raking in second-team all-Great Lakes Valley Conference honors in volleyball.
To be sure, there is a lot of natural ability involved in this feat but to hear Hope tell it, much of her success lies between her ears.
“I have always been known as one of those people who loves to win,” says the native of Prosper, Tex. “It doesn’t have to be sports-related. My
dad and I will go to the grocery store; we’ll split the list, get two carts and see who can get done first. Everything I do I have to win.”
Gramly’s dual-sports life began innocently enough. Her family – mom (Robyn), dad (Lee) and older brother (Jay) – would take fun outings to
the local bowling establishment in their community, an hour north of Dallas. Not only did Hope enjoy these trips, she soon realized she had a
knack for the sport.
Her dad, who played basketball at the University of Dallas-Irving, saw the potential and began poking around for expertise.
“In the beginning, it was my dad and I,” Hope recalls. “We would sit down and watch all these videos on YouTube and talk to different family
friends and learn from other people. Then we’d go out and try to figure it out ourselves.”
This was going on amidst other sports experiences such as baseball, basketball, gymnastics and even sport stacking. Soon enough the
YouTube videos gave way to junior tournaments and advanced lessons from local experts, which brings us to middle school, where her 6-1
frame caught the attention of coaches.
“Being tall definitely helped,” Hope says, “and many of my middle school coaches suggested volleyball to me but up until then I played
basketball. I only started volleyball because my middle school had a rule you had to try out for two sports. Volleyball came first and I thought I’d
give it a try.”
Whereas bowling had seemed to come easily, volleyball proved to be a slower climb. She wasn’t playing it beyond the school gymnasium but
by the time she reached high school, Hope realized that the two sports were not really interfering with each other. On top of that, Prosper’s
volleyball program was very good.
“My high school coach (Erin Kauffman) was amazing,” Gramly says. “I’m close with her today. She helped me so much when I was learning
and getting better at volleyball. I didn’t see a reason I wanted to quit (volleyball) because I wasn’t bowling that much during the school year
anyway so I kept playing for my high school team and we ended up winning the state my senior year.”
Unlike bowling, in which Gramly hopes one day to turn professional, volleyball is almost certain to end with her college graduation. And for the
moment, she is a good person to ask about the similarities and differences between two very different sports.
“I struggle to give a straight answer,” she says when asked which sport she enjoys most. “I love both sports so much and they are so different
it’s hard to compare. Both sports have so many pros; I love that volleyball is so fast-paced - such a team sport. I can’t do my job without my
teammates. But I also love that bowling isn’t so much a team sport, I can’t rely on my teammates to bowl a strike for me. I just love the
differences, they really balance out.”
Gramly believes volleyball has helped make her a stronger athlete, sometimes to a fault where she has been known to whip a bowling ball a bit
Hope is an Exercise Science major with an eye on graduate school and a chiropractic career along with her bowling. But there is plenty of time
for that pursuit; right now she has her hands full juggling two busy sports while striving to win in both at elite levels.