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Up Front PEP TALK


WHY ANTHONY PEPE’S ROAD TO HIS FIRST PBA TITLE REQUIRED MORE THAN A LITTLE HELP FROM HIS FRIENDS.


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For many of the kids who bowled the same leagues as Anthony Pepe when he was a boy growing up in Queens, N.Y., bowling was just something to do on Saturday mornings, maybe a diversion their parents seized to make them spend a little time with something other than a video game. For Pepe, bowling


was a matter far more serious than a mere diversion. It was a matter of survival, the best way he knew to process a pain that was deeper and more complicated than most adolescents can articulate. “Growing up, I


had a really rough childhood … I was bullied a lot in middle school,” Pepe


said after winning his first PBA Tour title at the 2014 Cheetah Championship. “I was very, very depressed. My parents actually wanted me to go see a therapist, because that’s how depressed I was. “Whenever I was depressed, I would just go down to the bowling alley, and get my anger out on the pins,” he added. “I would just go practice for a couple hours.” Maybe the kids whose


parents sent them off to league once a week to get them out of their rooms


preferred video games or solitude out of boredom, or laziness.


But Pepe’s room protected him from a world that hurt so much he could not stand facing it. “I would just be in my room and just be by myself and didn’t want to


TOUCH FOR PODCAST


EVERYTHING BOWLING, ALL THE TIME


LONG TIME COMING: In a childhood he describes as “really rough,” bowling be- came Pepe’s way of dealing with depres- sion. At the 2014 PBA Cheetah Champi- onship, it became his greatest reward.


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