Josh Parry had made up his mind.
And that meant his favorite hobby would be put on hold.
From a competitive standpoint, at least.
"I was all set to go to Akron," Parry said.
The University of Akron seemed like the obvious choice. It was close to home and some of Parry’s closest family members once stepped foot on the 218-acre urban campus.
"My dad and my grandpa graduated from Akron," Parry said.
And then a much smaller school in North Canton came calling.
"Thanks, but no thanks," Parry thought.
"I had already brushed it off," he said.
As it turned out, Parry eventually changed his mind. Thus, he’ll get to spend more time at his favorite place.
That would be the bowling alley.
Parry recently decided to continue his academic and bowling careers at Walsh University, a private Division II Roman Catholic university that competes in the Ohio Bowling Collegiate Conference.
Parry made it official this past Sunday after first receiving a text from Cavaliers head bowling coach J.C. Heighway several months ago.
"He told me he would get me a spot on the team," Parry said. "My dad told me I should get in touch with him."
His father wasn’t the only person to use his powers of persuasion. Another 2020 Tallmadge graduate and longtime teammate convinced Parry that the liberal arts college in Stark County was the place to be.
"My best friend Robert Wilson signed with Walsh way earlier than I did," Parry said. "I soon realized that Walsh was my best option."
Parry, who plans to major in accounting, also considered Youngstown State University and the University of Tiffin.
By the way, the Zips offered quality time on the lanes too. Their version of bowling is just for fun, though.
"There’s a bowling club at Akron," Parry said. "That was fine with me."
Until it wasn’t. And Parry has a very important gentleman in his life to thank for his recent change of heart.
"I owe it all to my dad," he said. "He told me about bowling collegiately. I really want to make it to the PBA [Professional Bowlers Association]. He told me that bowling in college would help me get there."
One could make the argument that Parry doesn’t need much help. His track record reveals a young man who certainly knows his way around the lanes.
With Parry leading the way, the Blue Devils reached the Division I state tournament twice during his four-year tenure. Tallmadge finished sixth at the state competition this past season and 11th in 2018.
Parry was the Blue Devils’ lone individual state qualifier during the winter. He finished 35th on the lanes at the prestigious Wayne Webb Columbus Bowl.
Parry also was a three-time district qualifier. He compiled a scoring average of 210 during the winter after finishing with a 189.74 average last season and a 188 average as a sophomore.
"Josh is a great student-athlete," said Scott Krainess, who completed his fifth year as Tallmadge’s head coach. "I jokingly referred to him as our Clydesdale. He’s just a strong, dependable, hard-working athlete.
"Josh grew and improved so much during his four years. He is always looking to get better and is receptive to coaching. I’m looking forward to seeing how Josh performs."
Parry has had plenty of practice when it comes to mastering his craft. The affable teenager has been bowling regularly since he was in the second grade. Appropriately enough, so has Wilson. Former teammates Parker Braccio and Cooper Randolph, who are both 2020 Tallmadge graduates, did too.
"We were on the same after-school program," Parry said. "We realized we were pretty good in fourth or fifth grade. We were destroying everyone."
Despite his success, Parry, who once bowled a perfect game during practice, made a drastic change to his approach when he reached high school.
That meant his left hand could no longer be useless.
"I’m a two-handed bowler," Parry said. "When I threw with one hand, I had no hook. I remember my coach said, ‘You’re not doing that anymore.’ It didn’t click at first, but it got progressively better."
While Parry embraced this massive overhaul to his game, others weren’t so stoked about it.
His old man certainly wasn’t.
"I remember my dad was skeptical," Parry said. "He would often ask me, ‘Why don’t you stick with one hand?’ When I started doing well at tournaments, he was like, ‘Yeah, two-handed is great.’"
Parry hopes his unorthodox approach to bowling can lead to the same success as Jason Belmonte. The somewhat rebellious Australian was the first to gain media attention for his two-handed style during the early 2000s.
Don’t pity Belmonte, though. He’s just fine with being called an oddball. His unconventional style has led to a record 13 major championships.
Parry would love to compete against Belmonte on the big stage someday. If it’s close to home, even better. In case you’re wondering, the PBA Tournament of Champions’ tournament takes place in Fairlawn.
Rumor has it that Parry doesn’t need a GPS to find the venue.
"The PBA has always been a dream of mine," Parry said.
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, email@example.com or @Faceto_Gannett.