I repeat, bowling is a family sport

Samson Thompson’s stroller was taken over by his sleeping 3-month-old brother Axl. So grandmother Tonya George fit a blanket into her two-ball Columbia bowling bag and made a new “bed” for young Samson. Another bowler let Samson use her jacket as a blanket. Despite all the noise during Monday Night Mixers league play at the Lazer Zone Family Fun Center, Samson sleeps contentedly while sucking his thumb.

Fellow bowlers, I have said it many times — bowling is a family sport.

Note the picture with this column of little Samson Thompson. Only a bowler’s child and/or grandchild could sleep so soundly during the noise of the Monday Night Mixers League and in a bowling bag, nonetheless.

Speaking of family, as I write this my son (my favorite bowler), Cliffton Conatser, will be on the road to Florida. He is relocating back to Florida after two years here to help me through the healing process of chemo. I am both happy and sad. Happy for him, sad that I’ll miss him so much.

By press time, he’ll be back in Orlando, the good Lord willing, planning to bowl with his friends there with whom he had bowled previously.

My son is one of the most levelheaded, even-tempered, laid-back but highly focused men I have ever met in the sport of bowling. He gave me some good advice one time.

“Mom, losing my cool, getting angry, throwing towels and kicking the ball return does nothing but hurt me. What I need to learn to do is stay focused on my mark, plan my next shot and realize the shot I just took is over. Get off to a fresh start.”

Such true words.

I would dare say this is why he bowls so well and enjoys the game so much. As a team player, he always took responsibility for his actions only and noted he could not change anyone except himself. To some, he may have seemed a bit aloof, but in reality, he would be calculating what adjustments he needed to make to correct the previous frame.

I have learned much from this young man, watching him bowl over the years. While he was quite competitive, his competition was always with himself and what he could do to be better.

As I watch the bowlers on Monday night, I see families bowling together and with fondness, I remember the times Cliffton bowled with me as a child and how thankful I am he bowled with our team the time he was here.

I think it’s about making memories. We have such a fun-loving and friendly league on Monday nights. Tuesday, I’ve noticed, is quite friendly as well.

I do understand bowling is not always a friendly sport, but those of us who bowl at Lazer Zone certainly make it that way during our league play.

Cliffton has noted in the past how friendly the leagues in Seminole, Shawnee and Ada have been. But it’s not always that way in the bigger cities, he says.

We are fortunate, fellow bowlers, to bowl in Ada and to be with such a great group of folks.

If there is one thing I can leave with, may it be to make memories and make them good ones. Life is short, children grow up, move off and have families of their own ... but I have to believe children raised in and around a good bowling league will want to bowl as they get older and instill the love of the game to their children.

Good luck in Florida, Cliffton. Thank you for bowling with our team during your time here. Continue to bless others with your presence and skill, as well as demonstrating to them that hard work, determination and lots of practice provides great rewards and scores.

My son, stay the caring, loving, determined man God made you. The Monday night league sends best wishes for great success with your new career. Also, when you get there, see what it would take for a travel league from Ada to come to visit ... we might surprise you sometime. (Not sure we could make that happen, but it sure sounds good.)

Finally, remember the Strike Out Cancer Tournament this Sunday sponsored by the Pontotoc County Relay for Life chapter. Registration begins at 1:30 p.m., and bowling is set to follow at 2 p.m.

Hope to see everyone there. It’s an opportunity to have a great time with fellow bowlers and support a very worthwhile cause.

Good luck and great bowling to everyone.

Recommended for you