John Knebels
Sports Columnist

As long as they can remember, Krista Callaghan’s parents said their daughter has been blessed with initiative.

“She doesn’t take no for an answer,” said Krista’s father, Dan. “When she sees something that she wants, she isn’t afraid to try to go get it.”

So when Krista Callaghan was interviewing for admission at Cabrini College this past winter, she asked if the school had a bowling team.

After discovering that the Radnor institution had none, Callaghan asked if she could start one.

“Now they know me as the girl who wants to start a bowling club,” said Callaghan, who in June graduated from Cardinal O’Hara High School in Springfield. “They knew I was serious about it, and they said they were open to it.” {{more}}

Odds are good that by the time Callaghan graduates, Cabrini will be able to offer bowling as an activity to its students. But if Callaghan has her way, the opportunity to bowl will come significantly before that.

In fact, when she arrives on campus two weeks from now and settles in, one of the first items on her agenda is to place fliers and posters in selected areas around campus.

“I want to get a gauge of how many people might be interested,” said Callaghan. “Since it’ll be open to both boys and girls, I would be surprised if there isn’t a pretty big response.

“But this isn’t something like when people come once and stop going. That bugs me. I’m hoping it’s something that people will do and stick with.”

Callaghan realizes that garnering interest might actually be the easiest part of this project. She would have to find an establishment somewhat close by. Then she would need to organize the teams similar to how bowling leagues do.

Looking long-term, Callaghan said it is conceivable that Cabrini could perhaps field a team that competes against other colleges. At least that is her goal.

According to Krista’s mother, Susan, it’s a proposition that should not be easily discounted.

I admire my daughter for a lot of reasons, but one of them has to do with her willingness to do whatever it takes to get things done,” she said. “She was like that as a kid. And she is still like that as a young adult.”

Dan Callaghan, a 1967 graduate of since-closed St. Thomas More High School, pointed out that most college athletes stop playing their sport after they graduate. Bowling, he said, is different.

“It’s an activity that involves exercise and fun,” he said. “It never ends. People bowl well into their lives. You can bowl from when you are a kid until you are a senior citizen.”

Krista Callaghan stressed how today’s college students need opportunities for “clean fun.”

“Being a part of a bowling club means you get to meet different people and develop friendships,” she said. “It sure beats going out drinking or other stupid stuff you hear about.”

Callaghan has been bowling since she was 6. She was awarded a varsity letter at O’Hara after her sophomore season. She bowled well as a junior, increasing her average to 154, which is higher than about 75 percent of the rest of the Catholic League.

A player-coach conflict that festered since early in her junior year prompted Callaghan to forgo playing for O’Hara her senior year. Instead, she competed at Wynnewood Lanes.

It was a “tough decision” not to play as a senior, but her teammates supported her and “that was what was most important.”

At Cabrini, she will major in elementary education.

“I like being around kids,” she said. “I always have.”

When Callaghan becomes a teacher, she will no doubt prepare some interesting activities for her students.

John Knebels can be reached at