California Bowling Writers

March 3, 2010

The Mystery Woman
By Pat Helwig

The door burst open into the office of the tournament officials as an excited young lady entered the room proclaiming to come quick - there is a problem. Without hesitation several officials sprang from their chairs and followed the lady out the door and onto the bowling concourse. A crowd of bowlers and spectators were gathering behind the lanes. The excitement in the voice blurting out over the loud speakers confirmed the urgency for a tournament official. As the officials approached the troubled area they were met by the squad sgt-at-arms. She assured them everything is o.k., there is no real emergency but encouraged them to follow her. As the crowd parted opening a path to the lanes the officials came upon a young woman standing on the approach waiting for her turn to bowl. There did not appear to be any problem. The Sgt. called out the bowlers name, but there was not response. She then approached the bowler and tapped her on her shoulder. The bowler turned around and the crowd cheered. There stood a young woman wearing a surgical mask and ear muffs. She was grinning from ear to ear and her eyes sparkled with the reflection of her grin. The crowd cheered because the purpose of the antics of this young woman was known and had already circled among them. The tournament officials were relieved and enjoyed the fun loving antics, but with a tournament squad ready to bowl, it was back to business and time to get started. They accepted a reasonable explanation for the antics and agreed to let the mystery woman bowl in her mask and ear muffs - with care. After bowling a couple of frames she removed them for comforts sake. She made her point and was happy with the outcome.

An interview with pictures followed the completion of her third game. She is a well known figure in the bowling community of San Diego, California, which was the tournament host city. This was her first California State Women’s Tournament and one that will be remembered for many years to come.

It has been many years – 35 years to be exact, and the Mystery Woman with her mask and ear muffs are a favorite subject with many of the San Diego senior bowlers. Oh – Our Mystery Lady - she is Sandy H. Revella of San Diego, California. Sandy is a late bloomer to the game of bowling but once she started she became a bouquet of knowledge, with support, and encouragement for bowlers to pursue the administrative workings of the game. This is where the mask and ear muffs begin to come into play.

Sandy will be 87 this March. Her late bloom to the game of bowling was all relative to availability. She was born in Canada, raised in Boston, Mass. and married a Navy career in the name of Jim at the tender age of 23. Her first game of bowling came in 1954 via a tour of duty in Sasebo, Japan. With the luxury of a maid to take care of her two little ones – Steven age 6 and Phyllis 3, Sandy joined several other navy wives to check out the base Rec. Center. There was a game called bowling. It had four wooden lanes, a young man to set up 10 wooden pins at the end of each lane, and balls to roll at the pins. The game was fun, but Sandy had no idea how to bowl. She didn’t care, it was something to do, and gave her quality time to chit chat with the other navy wives.

A few years later, in 1959, the navy tour of duty put Sandy and family in Schenectady, N.Y. With the encouragement of friends she joined her first ladies bowling league. A bowling ball purchase with bowling shoes was an important commitment. There were no bowling lessons. In spite of having no clue how to bowl, Sandy watched and imitated other bowlers and took every opportunity to learn what she could through chit chat with anyone who had information to share. Her chatting persistence showed improvement in her bowling skills, and extended her interest to the administrative part of the game.

Sandy’s youngest, Phyllis had a serious asthmatic condition. The east coast cold winters became a serious threat to her survival . Under doctors orders Jim, Sandy, and family moved to La Mesa, California. The Western climate and naval hospital facilities, was the answer for her survival. Jim was completing his 20 years with the Navy and ready for retirement so the move to California in 1961 was a good one.

After one year of settling into a new home and life style Sandy became an active league bowler. She pursued her administrative interests by taking on the league office of president and encouraged other bowlers to do the same. In years to follow her bowling skills improved to afford her membership in the ladies 200, 500, and 600 clubs. She has worked her way through all the club offices learning, sharing, and encouraging others to do the same. After serving as President of her various leagues, the 200 club and 600 club she became interested in parliamentary procedure. She is an active member of the California State Parliamentary organization and has been parliamentarian for the San Diego Women’s 600 Club for the past 15 years.

The chit chat of Sandy Revella on and off the lanes has became her trademark. She will be the first to confirm her pet name is “motor mouth”. Always mindful of what is going on in the bowling community she encourages participation and organization . Sandy enjoys talking to people. She will say “ I just want to know what’s going on.” A kind evaluation and more appropriate is to point out that communication is a very important part of our bowling game.

Remember the mask and ear muffs? It was a team request for Sandy to quiet her chatter during their team event in the 1975 State Tournament. So she did, with the help of her mask and ear muffs!