By Ms. Cathy Segal (TACOM)May 22, 2017
When Sgt. 1st Class Damian Codrington decides to do something, he goes big.
He was recovering from a shattered kneecap from a 2005 rollover accident in Iraq when a friend introduced him to bowling in 2006. He dabbled at his new hobby for a few years and finally got serious about it in 2011. Now he is one of the armed forces' best bowlers.
Codrington, a materiel supply supervisor for TACOM's Materiel Fielding Team at Fort Hood, Texas, earned two trophies in his first tournament as a member of All-Army Bowling Team. He competed with seven other Soldiers against teams from the Air Force, Navy and Marines in the 2017 Armed Forces Bowling Championship at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, May 5-8. He placed third in the men's singles and men's all-around categories, earning trophies based on total pinfall in each category.
"For that being my first time, I was shocked," he said.
Codrington scattered 1,204 pins during the men's singles round, missing second place by nine points and first place by 21 among 16 competitors. He also played on the men's doubles and mixed doubles teams, which placed sixth out of eight teams and ninth out of 12 teams, respectively. His total pinfall for the all-around category was 3,496, finishing seven points behind second place and 35 out of first.
The Army also took first and third place in women's singles, and third in women's doubles.
Codrington, who in April was selected for promotion to master sergeant, said his ability to have fun while bowling helped lead to his success.
"The people there are way more experienced than I am but the advantage that I have," he said is, "I didn't have any pressure on me. The only thing I would say to myself during the trials and tournament was, 'I'm here for recreational purposes,' so that actually calmed me down and kept me focused. 'Whatever happens happens.' As long as I'm having fun bowling, I'm going to bowl great. If I throw a bad shot I just regroup and throw a better shot next time. I learn from my mistakes on the lane. Those guys who are more experienced, I think they try to force it too much," he observed.
Codrington applied for the Army team through a process that included submitting a resume of bowling credentials, average score and tournament history. The top 14 men and six women qualifiers then squared off in a tournament to make the eight-person All-Army team. The four men and four women with the highest point totals made the team and went on to compete in the Armed Forces tournament.
"I average around 215 and I bowl all over the place," said Codrington, who is from Brooklyn, New York. "I go to the military championships every year and I think that's when I first got noticed by other bowlers."
Codrington bowls in two leagues at Fort Hood to keep himself primed for the next tournament and bowls three games every day at lunchtime to practice what he learns from YouTube since he has never had a coach.
He adjusts his delivery based on the condition of the lanes. "Because I'm a little bit versatile, I can loft it over a certain amount or I can play down and in, or I can swing," he said. "That's what helps me out. And my ball speed is not as fast as most other bowlers are, so that's really one of my advantages during this tournament is that my ball energy doesn't burn up as fast as the others."
Despite his finish in this year's tournament, Codrington will not automatically be on the Army team next year. He will have to apply again but will automatically advance to the trials. He must have one of the men's four highest totals to make the roster again.
For more information on All-Army Bowling Team selection criteria, visit https://go.usa.gov/xNKVm.