#5 | Blue KC Coaches with Character
Erin Nathan, Blue Valley North bowling coach
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC) and Dayton Moore’s C You in the Major Leagues (CYITML) Foundation have announced Blue Valley North High School bowling coach Erin Nathan as the Blue KC Coaches with Character honoree for the month of August. Her passion and dedication to growing the sport of bowling, while also teaching life-long lessons in the process, make her a deserving recipient of this monthly award.
Nathan became a bowler by marriage and quickly fell in love with the sport. Once the Kansas High School Activities Association (KSHSAA) adopted bowling as a varsity sport, Nathan wasted no time being the head coach for her alma mater. She’s been coaching the girls bowling team for the past decade, and recently the newly created Blue Valley North boys and unified bowling teams.
While most of the student-athletes on the bowling teams have not been frequent bowlers growing up, Nathan enjoys the fact that they are interested in trying something new and are able to have fun while learning a new sport.
“After just a few practices, they realize there is a right way to bowl, and they start to improve,” said Nathan. “I’m a math teacher, so I love looking at their statistics. Most of my bowlers were able to boost their averages by more than 20 pins throughout the season!”
On top of coaching bowling for the past 11 years, Nathan is also preparing to begin her 26th year of teaching math. She’s been ingrained in the Blue Valley North community and looks for any and all opportunities to help improve the lives of her students, both in the classroom and at the bowling alley.
“I like to think of teaching as putting on a performance daily,” said Nathan. “I want my students to have a good experience in the classroom and on the bowling team and know that I am always there to support them however I can.”
The bowlers at Blue Valley North have a motto: ‘Have fun, don’t come in last!’ Each year, they compete against various school districts that have had a bowling program for many more years than Blue Valley North. Those other schools also have a majority of bowlers who practice and bowl year-round. The main goals for each bowling meet are to encourage each other and to look for personal improvement.
“I advise my bowlers to get involved,” said Nathan. “It is okay to not be the best as long as you’re giving it your best try. Unified bowling (a team comprised of students with special needs) has helped student-athletes, who typically go straight home after school, to get involved and meet other students they may not get to interact with during the day.”
As someone who has given her heart and soul to coaching and teaching, Nathan knows the importance of instilling standards and expectations within a program.
“The main standard we focus on is to be a good human,” said Nathan. “That’s really the bottom line for my teams. There will never be a time when being kind is the wrong thing to do, and that helps them throughout their lives. Our team is very diverse, but as a team, they all mesh together as one.”
“It’s wonderful to see the bowling program picking up steam at Blue Valley North,” said Royals President of Baseball Operations and C You in the Major Leagues Founder Dayton Moore. “Coach Nathan’s dedication to growing the game and teaching her student-athletes valuable lessons they will use throughout their lives is admirable. It takes patience and hard work to build something special, and watching Coach Nathan thrive is worthy of our congratulations.”
“Erin recognized the need for a team sport that anyone of any level can play at Blue Valley North,” said Nathan’s nominator, Amy Shapiro. “She has created a safe, supportive, fun and competitive place where anyone can be an athlete. As an offshoot of her high school bowling teams, she has also captained and championed a bowling league for students with special needs where they can compete in a high school sport and feel the success of their own.”
“As evidenced from Coach Nathan’s nominator, her school involvement with coaching bowling, as well as teaching math, shows her commitment to students within the Blue Valley North community,” said Jenny Housley, Blue KC Senior Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer. “Coaching a sport requires time, dedication and a strong knowledge of what it takes to succeed. On top of those characteristics, Coach Nathan always remembers to incorporate fun and excitement to help keep her players motivated throughout the season.”