Sam Cooley: Journey to the PBA

By Tenpin Bowling Australia
February 22, 2022

Australian representative Sam Cooley’s tenpin bowling career started in a unique way.

“Mum, dad and I…we didn’t have air conditioning at the house and mum found out the bowling centre had air conditioning. She didn’t deal too well with the hot weather so we’d often go down there because she was hot,” he laughed.

Starting at the age of four-years-old, it wasn’t too long before Cooley was hooked on the sport and by the age of 15 knew that it was something he wanted to do. 

Eventually making his way to the United States he found early success, but as time drew on it, people began to expect him to win and perform at a high-level consistently.

When he didn’t reach those expectations, it was something, Cooley says was mentally hard for him to handle.

“There were a few years when the results weren’t very good and it affected me pretty hard mentally to the point where I juggled up if I was going to continue doing this or choose something else,” the 30-year-old admitted. 

In late 2019, Cooley learnt his mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer but later found out that an inoperable neuroendocrine Toulouse had aggressively developed. He made the decision to rush home to Australia from the United States to be by his mum’s side.

It was a bit of a turning point, as Cooley went on to put his full focus and commitment into tenpin bowling.

“When mum got sick, I decided to really dedicate myself because she put so much time, effort and money into getting me to where I was now. I can’t possibly think of looking at anything else otherwise…it would’ve just all gone to waste,” he said. 

“So before the lockdown started in 2020 I decided to re-dedicate myself to everything because she had only just recently passed at the time and at that point I wanted to keep doing it for her.”

Hear more from Sam Cooley and his journey into tenpin bowling below.

If you missed part one in December last year, revisit by clicking here or viewing below