CALUMET CITY | Some people have toted a baseball bat or basketball in their hands since they were old enough to walk.
T.F. North senior Kadejah Stephens has had a bowling ball in her hands for as long as she can remember. It is a family affair for the Stephens as dad Keith is a pretty good bowler and works at Brunzwick Zone in Homewood. Her mom Jerreen is also a good bowler and Kadejah and her younger sister Kyaria are skilled too.
Kadejah bowled her first 300 game this summer at the Brunzwick Zone and it was more than a milestone in her young career.
"It was very exciting because my whole family was there to see it," Stephens said. "I worked hard over the summer and to get a perfect game was great."
North coach Greg McCune said Stephens has a natural instinct for the sport.
"Kadejah is a great competitor with a touch for bowling that comes naturally," McCune said. "She works hard both on and off season. On top of everything else she may be one of the most likeable players I have had, and I have had a lot."
Stephens is expected to be a leader on the Meteors team and after just missing a state berth last year, she put more time in over the summer.
"I want to get to state and the only way is to work hard and improve my game," Stephens said. "One day, I might work on picking up spares or on my footwork. I broke the practices down and specialized on (certain) days."
Her dad gave her a lot of help as well.
"He really helped me and I appreciate that," Stephens said. "Our whole family goes on trips. We went to Ohio, Detroit and up to Mount Prospect. It is a lot of fun because I love the sport."
She said her family has a bowling ball rack in their garage much like some families may have a work bench. She said being around the sport made her appreciate it.
"When I was little, I just went with my parents to the lanes and watched them bowl," Stephens said. "I started bowling and just loved it."
She would like to continue her career at the college level. Alabama A&M has shown interest in her and she is also looking at Valparaiso University.
"I know it is not easy because a lot of schools (colleges) do not have bowling programs," Stephens said. "It is competitive, so you have to be good and have good grades."