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L.I.’s best youth bowler has sights set on Olympics

Farber 1

Matthew Farber doesn’t introduce himself to members of the opposite sex as one of the best youth bowlers in the world.

He doesn’t say, “Hi, I’m with Team USA.”

He lets his friends and suitemates at SUNY/Stony Brook do that for him.

“I don’t like to brag about it,” he said. “Whenever I’m off the lanes, I like to live my normal life, not talk about bowling. Usually my friends will tell people. And then it’s like playing Twenty Questions.”

Farber — who as a high schooler broke Long Island’s average score record with a 244 — took a short break from practice Monday at Bowl Long Island in Patchogue to do just that — talk about bowling.

Actually from Plainview, Farber has made Patchogue his adopted home for practice ever since he started college. He can be found at Bowl Long Island every day during the week when school is in session. 

He said it’s the people at the Patchogue alley that make it worth it for him to drive from Stony Brook and even Plainview for practice.

“They take care of everybody here, whether it’s employees or league bowlers or open bowlers,” he said. “It’s really hard to find any place that’s close to as accommodating as this one.”

All that practice, he said, is what has helped him make the Junior Team USA team three times.

Farber just finished his his last summer with Junior Team USA, as he’s 21 years old now and will have to compete against adults. 

When asked what the pinnacle of achievement is for a youth bowler in the U.S., he said making Junior Team USA  — only 10 boys and 10 girls do each year — and being among the few chosen from the team to compete in the World Youth Championships. 

He accomplished both.

Among the 20 questions he’s often asked, Farber said most people want to know whether he’s won any medals, and if he’s going to compete in the Olympics.

The first is easy to answer: He has four gold medals and two sliver medals earned in international competition, including a team gold medal earned in Hong Kong last summer.

As for the Olympics, Farber and others in the bowling world are hopeful the sport will be added to the 2020 Summer Olympics lineup in Tokyo, since bowling is quite popular in Japan and the host has some leeway in the decision-making process.

CNN: Baseball, bowling and surfing among contenders for Tokyo Olympics

It’s Farber’s ultimate goal to compete there in 2020.

“That’s probably my biggest dream right now,” he said. “Even though it’s more than four years out, just recently I’ve started working harder than ever before. Working out of the gym, working with sports psychologists, and working the lanes every day and focusing on the long- term goal.

“To have that chance and let it pass because I’m not working hard enough is probably something I would always regret.”

Bill Vreeland, who co-owns The Perfect Fit Pro Shop, with locations inside Bowl Long Island and elsewhere, said the technical soundness of Farber’s swing is what separates him from other competitive bowlers his age.

“It’s not strength at all,” he said. “You can see he’s not over-muscling anything he does. His footwork is clean and his swing, his swing is phenomenal. What makes him special is his swing.”

mike@greaterpatchogue.com

About the author: Michael White

Michael White is a Bellport resident, longtime newspaper reporter and editor, and the owner of greaterpatchogue.com. Email him your story ideas or tips: mike@greaterpatchogue.com