Category Archives: Bowling

Girl Trip Gone Better

The last time I went on a road trip with my daughter, we came back in tears.

Since then, Mario has made remarkable strides with her bowling.  Enough so, that we decided it was worth the trip to Indiana for a week long bowling tournament.

This tournament is the largest youth bowling tournament in the world.  There are over 700 girls in her division alone, and people come from all over for a chance to win the Junior Gold title and possibly a spot on the USA Team.  It’s HUGE for young boys and girls alike.

Mario qualified for this tournament before going to Chicago where the problems began.  Well, not really problems necessarily, but changes.  She’s had to learn a whole new way of bowling, and a lot of her confidence was taken away.

After her tears dried, she got back on the lanes and fought hrough her demons.  She  practiced daily, worked with a coach, and has gotten most of her confidence back.

So she was excited to travel to Indy, meet some of her favorite pros, and bowl with hundreds of girls who would give her a run for her money.

And they certainly have.  Her scores haven’t been overly impressive, but her attitude, focus, and determination definitely have been.  The first day of competition, the ball stuck to her hand and pulled her down.  Her greatest fear had been realized, yet she picked herself up, laughed with her teammates, and bowled again.  Every day after that, the ball stuck to her hand at least once during the day, but she didn’t let it crumble her.  It’s very scary for me to watch it happen, but I am incredibly proud of her resilience.  I know she’ll overcome this, and will be back on this “stage” again next year.  Bigger and better.





We’ve also taken advantage of all the down time between tournaments.  We went to a movie, swam in the pool, and paddle boated along the canal.

Oh, and can’t forget…  Caught tons of Pokemon.  In fact, the canal was FULL of people, old and young alike, catching Pokemon, finding Poke’ stops, and taking over gyms.  I found myself telling Mario to watch her step, move to the side, look out for the pylons…  And wondered how everyone else could see where they were going with their nose to their phones.  Even so, it was great to see all these people out walking around.  I know it’s getting my kids out of the house more.

Now off I go to her final match.  Six days of bowling – every bowler’s dream – is coming to an end.

Keep your fingers crossed for a smooth release each and every time.  (Next time you can wish for a win….)






Posted by on July 21, 2016 in Bowling, Family


The Return

Mario and I set foot in a bowling alley today for the first time since our emotionally stressful weekend.  But not to bowl.  Instead, she wanted to be there for her two teammates who had advanced to sectionals.  She quickly found out she’d rather bowl than be a spectator.  If you’ve never watched a tournament such as this, you’re missing out.  You get to stand shoulder to shoulder behind people with step stools and periscopes.  You’re forced to squeeze together in a 2 foot section in order to allow a path for people to walk to the restrooms or the snack bar or the fire exit.

You crane your neck to see a piece of the ball as it rolls down the lane, and you wait for the reaction of the team to determine if the bowler struck or not.  Some alleys have the score monitors hung from the ceiling, which is quite helpful for us short people.  We found it’s better to stand a few lanes down since that angle will allow you to look around the bowlers who stand in the pit in order to keep the energy pumping.

So it was almost as hard to spectate as it was for her not to bowl.  The good news is, she seems to be getting the itch to pick the ball up again.  Next week we plan to hit the lanes and practice her new release.  I’m still quite confident this change will allow her to improve exponentially.  If we thought she was good before, she’ll be even better now.

This weekend also marked the 51st birthday of my hubby.  We celebrated like old people do – a late lunch in the city, a few afternoon drinks at the bar next door, and home on the couch by 7.  Actually, it was so nice we may do it again on a non-birthday afternoon.  Only thing that would have made it better is 90 degree temps and a view of the ocean.   *sigh*   Someday.

And with that my weekend is over.  I’m thankful I don’t live on the east coast and will be able to travel quite easily to work in the morning.  Although a little part of me thinks it would be exciting to be buried in a couple feet of snow.  Safely of course.  With a fully functioning furnace.  And a freezer full of ice cream.  And not for too long ’cause I get antsy.  And I like to work.

Nevermind.  I’m thankful I don’t live on the east coast.  At least tonight.


Posted by on January 24, 2016 in Bowling, Family


Girl Trip Gone Bad

What I thought was going to be a great mother/daughter weekend, turned out to be heartbreaking for the both of us.

Wednesday night, after I worked and after she bowled, we ran home, packed our bags, and stuffed everything, including her bowling bags into my little Mustang.

Stuffed under blankets and coats, and armed with everything girls need for a fun road trip, we finally started on our way.  As we drove, we talked and laughed and listened to loud music.  We arrived at our hotel late, set our alarm for early, and drove the rest of the way to Chicago.

Despite the ungodly traffic in Chicago at that time of the day, we arrived at her college visit with time to spare.

The school itself was pretty cool.  Neither of us had seen a college that was set up in only one building.  We liked the idea of smaller classes, and the fact that the dorms were right across the street was a big plus.  For two hours we talked about the programs the school offered, toured the dorms, and discussed scholarships.

Before meeting with the bowling coach, we took a walk around Chicago.  Mario tried to picture herself living there and was quite excited.  Although she grew up in a very small town, she’s always aspired to live in a big city.  And from the way she helped me navigate around, I’m pretty confident she’ll handle herself well.

We grabbed some lunch, and headed to the bowling alley.  That’s when things began to turn south.

We learned about the program and then the coach asked to watch her bowl.  She threw a few balls for him, and he was pretty impressed, except for one thing.  Her thumb hole was too big and she was gripping the ball causing it not to roll the way it should.  5 hours later, we were still there.  With her permission they had redrilled her balls, but that little change was enough to change everything.  She found herself dropping the ball or lofting it way out onto the lane.  In her exasperation, she started to cry which only worsened things. All the college girls took turns talking with her, explaining how they had gone through similar changes, and each time she’d relax and try again.

When we were completely exhausted, she exchanged phone numbers with one of the girls and we made the 3 hour drive back to the hotel.

Both of us were scared.  She was to bowl in the regional tournament for her high school bowling on Saturday – a tournament she had been looking forward to all season.  She had been confident she would go in and kick butt, but now, she was so afraid of the ball lofting into the air, that she was no longer confident.

On our way home Friday, we stopped at a bowling alley to throw a few balls.  She began to feel a little more confident, but that night, after we arrived home, she had practice with her team.  She lofted the ball quite a few times and crumbled into tears.  We were running out of time as the tournament was the following morning.

Long after the others had gone, Mario and I stayed and practiced some more.  I kept her calm, reminded her to keep her hand relaxed, and we drilled and drilled and drilled.  Once again, we arrived home exhausted, and still a little nervous about the tournament.  I cried myself to sleep.

Long story short (or is it too late for that?), she bowled one game in the tournament.  After she lofted the ball the third time, she didn’t want to let her team down.  She asked the coach to pull her out, knowing that she would no longer be able to advance individually by doing that.  She bravely held her head up and cheered her team on for the next 5 games.  She watched as her good friend Alice excelled into the top spot, and smiled right along with her.  I held back tears knowing she wished she could have been in that spot with her.

This was it for her Junior year of bowling.  Not quite the end she had imagined.

We both know this was the right change.  With practice and time, she will be back to her normal self, and will accelerate to the top.  I know it.  She knows it.

But right now, we’re heartbroken.



Posted by on January 17, 2016 in Bowling, Family, Parenting


Happy (belated) New Year!

Having had the last week of 2015 off, I’ve learned quite a few things about myself.

First and foremost, I’m really good at being a sloth.  And when it comes to work, housework in particular, I have no problem letting it go.  I didn’t cook, or clean, or even bake the whole time I was off.

In my defense, the kids were all home, and with them comes lots of stuff.  And the kids were all home, so who wants to spend time cooking and cleaning?

Even when Link went back to Ohio, I slothed.  Maybe even more so because while he was here we bowled, and played games, and went to the movies, and after he left the other kids began spending time with their friends, so I no longer had things to keep me busy.  But since all their stuff remained in our itty, bitty house, cleaning was pretty useless.

Instead, I spent hours putting together a puzzle.  Which brings me to another thing I learned about myself.  I can spend hours putting together a puzzle.  Me.  One who normally can’t stand sitting still for any length of time.  But any chance I got, I’d sit on the floor and have to tear myself away an hour or two later.  Usually because things started to hurt.  I’m too old to sit on the floor for that long.

I also learned that I’m not in as good of shape as I thought.  At least not my left butt cheek.  See, when the family went bowling over the holidays, a little itch began to form inside me.  I’ve been pretty happy not bowling over the last few years, and instead, watching my daughter take all the glory.  But that day something sparked in me.  So on New Year’s Day, I convinced my hubby to watch me bowl in a high stakes tournament. I knew I wouldn’t win, but I felt the desire to bowl competitively.  I bowled 5 games, and two days later I’m still feeling it.  Oh well, small price to pay for a day of fun. And not that I needed it, but I have even more reason to be a sloth these next few days.

I return to work Monday after 10 days off.  I’m ready.  This has been a much needed break, and it’s been awesome to reconnect with my family, but I’m ready.

Before I go, I have to thank my hubby for allowing such slothness out of me.  He kept up with the necessary chores such as laundry and dishes and vacuuming, so that I could recharge.  I think he’s ready for me to get back to work as well.

Happy New Year to the best blog friends ever. Here’s wishing you all a happy and healthy 2016!  With a little bit of slothness mixed in…..





Posted by on January 3, 2016 in Bowling, Family, Holidays


Giving Thanks

So I’m a little late… par for the course when you run a hotel.  Especially one next to  a convention center that is hosting the local high school football championships the day after Thanksgiving.  The players and their friends and family all arrived to check in on Thanksgiving Day.

While the front desk agents checked in our entire hotel, I was in our dining area preparing to serve what would turn out to be Thanksgiving Dinner for all 500 of our guests.

Other than the other 2 managers, our entire staff worked that day.  And work we did.  We all went home that night and crashed, only to come back on Friday and do it all again.  By Saturday, my entire body hurt.  Hosting that many people three nights in a row is physically and mentally demanding.  Add to that, missing family time on one of my favorite holidays of the year, and I was d-o-n-e, done.

I’ve since made up for it, however.  On Sunday, we finally were able to have Thanksgiving dinner as a family.  We were missing Link, so we sat down together to Skype him.  He’ll be home for Christmas, and we’re all looking forward to that.

Since then I’ve also made time to watch Mario bowl.  Once again, she’s on the boys’ high school bowling team, and has proven herself enough to be anchor on the Varsity team.  As a Junior and a girl, this is huge.  The anchor is typically the best bowler on the team and is matched up against the best bowler (a boy) on the other team.  And she is up for the challenge.

She’s averaged 200 since the beginning of season, and has easily kept up with the boys.  She loves the look on their faces when she steps up in the anchor position.  And I love the whispers from the others when they realize how good she is.

She’s taking up where I left off, and it has been fun to watch.  I can’t wait to see where she’ll go from here.

So although I’m late, I’m very thankful.  I’m thankful I have a job I love.  I’m thankful I could find a day to share a meal with my family.  I’m thankful my boys are still in school (I’ve had my doubts…), and I’m thankful my daughter is pursuing her dream of bowling competitively and that I can arrange my off days to watch.

I’m also thankful I’ll have Christmas off.  Everyone will be home on that day.  Ain’t nothin’ better than that.



Posted by on December 5, 2015 in Bowling, Family, Holidays, The Hotel


The Elusive 6

There have been many a things I’ve wanted badly and have failed to achieve.  And it’s always difficult to swallow.

But to watch my daughter try over and over again and not succeed is even more heartbreaking.

She has been trying all year to bowl a 600 series.  She has been close SO many times, and that last game always falls short.

At first, it was very much a mental game.  It was obvious she was trying too hard, and in doing so, it affected her natural bowling skill.  She’d hit 599, 597, 593… all very good 3 game series, but never a 600.

During yesterday’s match, she started out with a 207.  She followed that with a 194, and the stage was set.  She knew what she had to hit in order to finally achieve her goal.

She started out with a strike, followed by a spare, then followed by 2 more strikes and a spare.  A 197 game was looking quite doable, and SHE looked in control.  But no sooner were we all feeling pretty confident, a split happened.  And then another split.  She moved to the left to avoid a third split, but left a spare she couldn’t pick. By now it was the ninth frame, and she needed a strike to have a chance.  The ball came nicely into the pocket, but left a dreaded ten pin.  She picked it, but the chance was over.  She struck and spared in the 10th frame for a 180 game.

My heart soared with pride, but hers ached.  Once in the car, she let the tears fall.  “I just can’t do it!” she cried.  “I’ll never be able to shoot a 600 series.”

I confidently explained to her that she WILL shoot a 600.  And I reminded her that for the first time, she didn’t let her mind get in the way of her bowling.  She had a few rotten breaks, but she kept her head in the game and finished strong.  “All of these little successes will lead to your 600 series.  And once you hit it, you’ll know that you’ve EARNED it.  And after that, there’ll be no stopping you….”

With only two more matches this season, it may not happen this year.  But her determination will drive her to keep practicing during the off season.  Secretly, she would like to be anchor on the varsity team next year.  .A tough position seeing she’s a girl on a boy’s team.  But she’s got the skill and the drive.  And once she gets that first 600 under her belt, I’m guessing she’ll only get better and better.

I  may have to loan her the t-shirt I wore during my bowling days…

This is not me.  And my shirt is orange.  But the fact remains....

This is not me. And my shirt is orange. But the fact remains….



Posted by on January 14, 2015 in Bowling, Family, Parenting



Bugs Bunny’s exclamation has been screaming in my head these last few days. (Or was it Elmer Fudd??)  I can NOT get my thoughts to quiet down.  I’m used to being able to lay my head down on the pillow and crash…. not so much these days.  And anytime I’m awakened, my mind starts churning and I’m wide awake again.

Ah well, it won’t be long now before I have an answer.  I’m convinced it won’t be the answer I want, which is a good thing I guess… I’ll be prepared for a no, and will be thrilled with a yes.

You have no idea what I’m talking about, I know.  I’m keeping it to myself for a while.  Which could be why I CAN’T STOP THINKING!


In other news, surprising news, I have joined a gym.  I know, right?!  But with temps in the single digits, and ice and snow and wind, my outside runs are very limited.  I have a treadmill and elliptical downstairs, and I’ve always been good about using them…  but my hubby joined the gym, and then Amp and Chip joined the gym, and since the price would be the same for all of us to join the gym… it made sense for me to join (the gym).

The Y bought out the Health Plex at the local hospital, so I’ve found myself sweatin’ with the oldies.  It’s quite entertaining to see ’em all in their sweat pants, leisurely walking on the treadmill, catching up with each other (small town stuff), then parting ways as I’m still trying to force myself to stay on as long as I would have run outside.  It’s not been as bad as I expected, and I certainly don’t feel judged while I’m there.  So it’s a good thing.  If it helps me get through the winter without losing my running legs, it will have paid off.  But the first time the morning temps get above 28, I’m outa there.

But so far, so good this New Year.  The youngest two have settled back into their school routine.  High five to my hubby and Amp for passing the first semester with much better grades than expected.  (Did I mention Amp received the Illinois State Scholar award?  Yup.  C’s and all…. 1 of 5 in his high school to receive it.)  Smart kid.  Just doesn’t fit the roll of a student….

He’s doing his senior project these next few weeks.  Working with kindergartners at a school nearby.   He helps the teacher hang stuff on the walls, and keeps the kids corralled when walking through the halls.  He also finds himself the primary shoe tie-er.  “I’m double knotting their shoes, so there’s no way they are coming undone by themselves, yet I keep tying this one kid’s shoes over and over again….”  All I can do is smile.  I can see he likes it more than he lets on.  Besides the fact, he doesn’t have homework!

Mario is still hanging with the boys on their high school bowling team.  Each year she improves more and more.  I’m finding myself totally living through her.  So fun!  She somehow convinced me to bowl with her in a 9-pin tournament this weekend.  It’s been 3 years since I’ve picked up a ball!  Plus, my thumb has not been right since my biking accident.  But I agreed, knowing I have lots of excuses to fall back on if I don’t bowl well.  She’s looking forward to beating me… not something she’d been able to do in the past.

Alright, guess I’ll hit the publish button now.  Gotta get back to the brain churning…. aaaargh!