Though many people go bowling with their friends to have fun and get rid of stress, Nam pursues the sport as a profession. But seeing the pins topple after a well-thrown ball is still just as much of a thrill for her as it is for the amateur.
Nam, one of the two Ewhaians on the women"s national bowling team, was a gold medallist in the 14th Asian Games in Busan 2002. She started bowling when she was in sixth grade. It was her mother, a passionate bowler herself, who introduced Nam into the world of bowling. "My mother? hobby was to bowl in a community sports club. So I got to know about bowling naturally," says Nam. Since then, her career has had ups and downs. She said the happiest moment in her bowling career was when she made it to the junior national team in 1998. "When I was in middle school, there weren"t as many bowlers so I won a lot of competitions," says Nam. "But when I entered high school, there were so many senior bowlers that I didn"t stand out. First year in high school was the gloomiest time of my career.
But in 1998, there was a turning point for her. In the tryout for the junior national team, she managed to barely make the cut, ranked tenth out of ten spots allotted to women"s bowling. "Before then, I had quite disappointing results. But after that, I sort of picked up from there." Since then, she has managed to have a fairly consistent career. In the 1998 World Junior Championship, she won a gold in the trios and a silver in singles. She got into the national team in the following year. And in the 2001 East Asian Games in Osaka, she swept four gold medals, in singles, doubles, team, and all-event.
Of the six events in bowling singles, doubles, trios, masters, team, and all-events Nam likes the team event the most.
"It is a team effort from all six members in the national squad. Because I know how hard all six players have practiced, I feel the best when winning the team event,"says Nam.
This kind of success can only be achieved through persistent effort and mental strength. For the Asian Games, in particular, she and the other national team members lived together in a training camp for two years, training every day from 6 a.m. until late at night. Even when there are no upcoming competitions, Nam plays 15 or 16 practice games every day. She finds her mental strength in religion. "As a faithful Christian, I pray to God whenever I need to keep my concentration at a high level," says Nam.
Despite her brilliant bowling career, she feels something is missing. Due to a ceaseless series of competitions, it is difficult for her not to miss school classes. "When the schedule for competitions overlaps with my class schedule, I usually substitute attendance with an official note. But it is hard because I still need to take tests even when I did not learn much in class," says Nam. Also, it is also hard for her to enjoy the kind of life that ordinary college students have, including activities like blind dates, or club membership.
Nonetheless, with bowling her main passion, Nam is reasonably satisfied. After graduation, she plans to go to join a business bowling team to further pursue her career in bowling. "Bowlers can have longer careers than athletes in many other sports, because bowling is not based chiefly on physical stamina," says Nam. "As for now, I want to keep bowling. But after competing for several years as a professional, I wish to enter graduate school and study sports more in depth," adds Nam.