Omaha bowler Erin McCarthy finds perspective, captures U.S. Open

So imagine how life changed for an Omaha woman who is both a nurse and a professional athlete.
Published: Jun. 28, 2022 at 10:29 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Erin McCarthy is spending time off from her job as an acute care nurse to bowl a few frames at Western Bowl.

But then again bowling is work, too. Since 2015 Erin has been climbing ladders on the Professional Women’s Bowlers Association tour.

And on June 21, just shy of her 32nd birthday, Erin claimed the second title of her pro career, a major, the 2022 U.S. Open in South Glens Falls, New York.

“I don’t think you can ever prepare yourself for winning a major title,” she said. “You know it’s always in your thoughts and as a little kid you dream about it but to actually secure the victory and to know that you’re part of an elite group, there are no words to describe it. I still think it probably won’t sink in for a long time to come.”

In 2019, the pro bowling season was lost to the pandemic.

McCarthy’s other job, working on a COVID floor at Omaha’s Methodist Hospital, offered no breaks.

“I’ve never seen more death in my life than I (saw) in 2020 and even trickling into 2021,” she said. “But you know it’s part of your job. You signed up to help people and care for people...COVID taught me to literally never take anything for granted.”

Now back on tour, her co-workers at Methodist help her juggle a chaotic two-way schedule. And the challenges she’s faced as a nurse during COVID have given her a winning perspective.

”It really taught me to kinda just relax,” she said. “Bowling isn’t just a game but at the same time, it is just a game. You know it’s not life or death when you put in terms of what I do for work...I don’t want to say (it) set my mind at ease, but just kind of relieved some of the pressure I was putting on myself.”

That pressure will now change, if only from the outside, since she will be known as a U.S. Open champ.

“I’m not going to change my routine or what I do here at home, or what I do here on the lanes,” she said. “I’m just going to come in here with a fresh mindset make the best shots that I can.”

“You know everyone has a game plan but it’s rare to actually follow through with it,” she continued. “And I just finally followed through with my game plan and my process and I’m going to try to keep that momentum going throughout the rest of the season.”

Up next is the Striking Against Breast Cancer mixed doubles event with her PBA partner A.J. Johnson in Houston July 28-31, followed by the final tour event of the season in Dallas August 2-9.

That clears her schedule for what very well could be the highlight of the year, including the U.S. Open victory, when Erin gets married in Omaha in September.

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