Fun to spare: Legends pin afternoon at the bowling alley
By Jaylon Thompson / The Alliance
SAN ANTONIO – A loud “Billy, Billy, Billy” chant echoed through the Oak Hills Lanes on Saturday afternoon. At 4:39 p.m., the elevated pitch reached its crescendo.
After bouncing off walls and rattling several lanes, the unique chant funneled to Atlanta Legends general manager Billy Devaney.
As Devaney sauntered towards lane 12, he was met with a cascade of emotions. Legends players and coaches cheered him on as he reached for a red bowling ball. Using a special technique, Devaney was up for the task.
— Atlanta Legends (@AafLegends) January 19, 2019
After a couple deep breaths, Devaney knocked down nine pins in his single frame. He turned around and was met with a parade of hugs and high fives.
“I was praying it didn’t go in the gutter,” Devaney laughed. “Anything other than a gutter ball I was happy with.”
The scene capped off a successful outing for the Legends. The team was surprised by Devaney and head coach Kevin Coyle with a trip to the bowling alley to bond and build chemistry instead of the normal afternoon walkthrough.
“We were thinking about a way to bring the team together away from the practice fields and the meeting rooms,” Legends head coach Kevin Coyle said. “I got to be honest, we couldn’t ask for more from our players and what they have been doing every day.”
The bowling event brought a smile to several players. Punter Cam Nizialek was happy to spend time with his teammates and linebacker Jeff Luc was excited to hit the lanes.
“It was awesome because we expected to go out for a walkthrough,” Nizialek said. “It was a great surprise by Coach Coyle. “I was excited to be here with the guys and we had a lot of fun.”
The fun lasted about two hours. The team broke into several groups and each played three games. The top performers were Legends running backs coach John Johnson with a 203, quarterbacks coach Rich Bartel and Player Personnel Director Nate Tice both scored a 171. Legends signal caller Aaron Murray posted a player-high of 166.
“It’s all about the bend of the hips,” Murray said while laughing.
Other players also crossed the 100-point plateau. Legends receiver Montay Crockett posted a 160 and offensive lineman Shawn Secola put up a 155.
“I don’t usually get over a 100, so it was a welcome surprise for me,” Secola said.
The event also brought a lot of laughs and camaraderie. At one point, Coach Coyle was providing advice to some players on their form and follow through. Another funny moment was kicker Younghoe Koo dazzled the crowd with some nice moves.
— Atlanta Legends (@AafLegends) January 20, 2019
“There is a lot that goes into putting the team together and building the chemistry that we wanted,” Coyle said. “We thought this would be a good opportunity to add to that.”
The opportunity was not lost on the players. They were excited to spend more time with their teammates in a relaxed setting and it showed. The chemistry will be key as the team continues training camp.
“We have been working real hard and it’s great to relax and have some fun with the guys,” Johnson said. “It was a good team bonding experience with this being a new league. This is our first time ever being around each other. We have to be like this in order to be together and go to Las Vegas to win it all.”
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Atlanta Legends home games will be played at Georgia State Stadium. Fans can purchase season tickets for as low as $75 at www.atlantalegends.com or by calling 470-798-3330.
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Jaylon Thompson covers the Atlanta Legends for The Alliance of American Football. Follow him on Twitter @JaylonThompson.