Part of the journey: Nixa bowler finds new passion through injury

Spend five minutes watching Leah Cody, and you’d think she’s been bowling her entire life.

“We [usually] start at the basics, but she progressed really quick,” said Nixa Bowling Coach Shannon Burns.

Instead, Leah, who will be a Nixa junior this fall, has only been bowling for about two years.

“I grew up with those sports, and when high school hit, I was doing all of it until the knee injury,” Leah said.

Torn knee ligaments during the summer before her freshman year made Leah’s path as a basketball and softball player much tougher.

“Going through rehab, I was always bored and I couldn’t do anything with my knee,” Leah said.

That’s when her dad offered his guidance.

“My dad begged me and begged me and begged me join bowling,” Leah said. “So I did.”

Good thing. Now she’s one of the best high school girls bowlers in the Ozarks.

“The highest score I’ve ever had I believe is a 284,” Leah said. “I average a 196 to this day.”

Her progress wouldn’t be possible without the help of Burns, who taught Leah the two-handed style she uses.

“With her athletic background, she picked it up really quick,” Burns said. “She actually enjoyed it more than bowling one handed.”

Burns says watching a player progress like Leah is the best reward for any coach.

“It’s awesome, I love watching kids go from not knowing what they’re doing as soon as they walk through this door to having a really good idea of it,” Burns said.

Speaking of ideas, Leah has a specific goal in mind: to shoot a 300.

“I’m so close every time,” she said.

You can bet Coach Burns feels the same way.

“Knowing somebody’s story and their progression from where they were say a year or two years ago, and seeing them [shoot] 300 is incredible,” Burns said. “It took me 16 years to shoot my first one.”

Besides chasing that perfect game, there’s nothing else Leah would change about her journey.

“Everything worked out perfectly,” Leah said. “I absolutely adore where I am right now.”

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