February 26, 2009
How Bowling Has Affected My Life
By Mary Lynly
From the first time I watched my dad bowl with his two fingered ball in a smoky little eight lane pin palace I was fascinated by the game. I was eight. Little did I know that being involved in bowling would be the ultimate education tool in my life.
My first membership card came when I was 16, the beginning of a 60 year love affair with the game on all levels and a proud member every year. My first bowling ball deliveries hooked from the four board to the 39 board with ease but in time I learned to straighten that out. Loving the challenge of the game led to working in a bowling center, doing promotion and meeting I think are the best people on earth - generous, kind, fun, and always willing to take on a challenge.
In my very first league in 1948 I still vividly remember throwing my first ball. I was decked out in a red silk blouse with full sleeves and a plaque on the back and I promptly stuck and careened over the foul line 1/3 of the way down the lane ending on my stomach. Lesson No.1- check your shoes before starting to bowl.
After being married we moved to a budding area and I went to work for Camino Bowl in Mountain View, California. People who had no place close to bowl came in droves. Being a “can do” person, I became a league secretary and president, a local association secretary and president, a youth and adult coach, and along with working at the bowling center, I did inside and outside marketing. I knew everyone that came into the bowl and forming leagues became a science and joy of putting the right kind of people together. Those leagues would last for many years. I was sent to a huge AMF Coaching Seminar conducted by well known stars Billy Welu, Sylvia Wene Martin and Lee Jouglard. To my horror, I learned I was the lowest bowler there. I tried to hide when Sylvia wanted a “student” and someone who knew me raced around and found me – no shoes, no ball (I thought our bowling was over.) It was a real lesson in humility as my first ball went directly into the channel.
I became involved in the local association and when the state officers selected our bowl for their annual championship tournament, I was thrilled. I volunteered to do Publicity and to be Head Scorekeeper, a true baptism of fire. I spent the entire week lining up scorekeepers for each weekend and managed to fit in getting the press releases out as well. It was my introduction to working for the state women’s organization. Seven years later I was elected to the California Women’s Bowling Association board as a director.
Twenty two years later I assumed the presidency. This afforded me opportunities for leadership, organizational skills, moving people in a direction I thought was beneficial to the organization, travel, creativity, patriotism, charity and best of all - fellowship. Each experience taught me something, mainly tact and responsibility and even an opportunity to share my dramatic talent during our many hospitality shows. I was exposed to national conventions and ultimately asked to participate and chair committees and give seminars. Through this I cemented life long friendships with bowlers throughout the U.S.
My family was supportive and I was thankful for such a wonderful husband who allowed me to “do my thing.” My husband Paul was as into the game as I was and eventually so were our sons. Our youngest son bowled on the San Jose State collegiate team and both he and my husband proudly wore 300 rings. I was the more involved but their support was invaluable. I don’t believe I could have learned the variety of things I did in any other “paying” job or university. Ten years ago I was part of forming the California Bowing Writers and now I am their president. It’s the people. We have weathered adversity but the challenge and the friendship keep us coming back.
Bowling has been my life.