Arlen “Yogi” Holmes started bowling at age 22 on a dare from childhood friend Kevin Diggs. Kevin bet Yogi a lunch he could beat him in bowling and then did so all six games. When Kevin and Yogi had their rematch, Yogi beat him four games out of six and became hooked.
Yogi is a founding member of the Poison Bowling Club (1989) that promotes community service and youth bowling in addition to the competitive yet fun side of bowling for adults. He has been a youth coach since 2004 and received his coaching certification in 2010. Yogi has coached youth leagues at Rinaldi’s Riverdale and AMF Capital Plaza, where he also coached a travel league team. He currently coaches at The Lanes Fort Meade.
His coaching style not only teaches the basics for beginners; it prepares them for the advanced levels in bowling. He has coached several 600 Club bowlers, taking them out of the area to expose them to tournament play on various levels. Several of his students have moved on to bowl at the collegiate level, including his two sons, Najee and 2013 NCAUSBCA Ted Gruszkowski Jr., Youth Star Award recipient Zahir Holmes, along with Brandon Lowe, Cameron Brooks, and also Kayla Meadows, who competed for a national championship last April representing Bowling Green University. Several of Yogi’s students have placed high in the Youth Invitational Scratch Singles Tournament.
Yogi works hard to improve his knowledge of the game and shares that knowledge with youth and adult bowlers. He has spent many hours assisting bowling teammates, opponents, and those that want to improve their game. For several years, he has spent every Sunday morning, as soon as the doors opened at Rinaldi’s Riverdale and now The Lanes Fort Meade, coaching and training any youth or adult that needs assistance. He explains the importance of stretching before starting, having the proper equipment, adhering to the basics, and being on time.
On the lanes, Yogi, a 30-plus-year USBC member who has competed in over 25 national tournaments, has recorded numerous 300 and 299 games and 700 series. This past season, he composited a 220.464 average for 390 games.
Yogi believes many in our area are losing interest in bowling, and it is his passion to help others find their appetite for our sport. There is hope for the sport with people like him encouraging our youth. His sons are young men away at college, yet he keeps showing up every Saturday morning on time, even though the parents may not be around, to encourage, mentor, train, and coach our youth bowlers. He keeps showing up, ready for anyone who wants to be a better bowler.
For his untiring efforts in supporting youth bowlers and promoting the sport in this area, Arlen “Yogi” Holmes is a most worthy addition to the NCAUSBCA Hall of Fame.