You probably don't know this about me, but I grew up in a bowling alley. Literally. Since before I was born, my grandparents ran the bowling alley in my hometown. Throughout the years, my mom worked there, my aunt worked there, my grandparents both worked there. My dad bowled in a league...with my uncle. I was on a junior league, so were my brothers, and my cousins. So we all spent a LOT of time at the bowling alley.
It's a big concrete building on the edge of town, but for all of us, it's like a second home. It's our family's business. It's where I could aways go and find someone who loved me. The doors were always open. We've probably all worked at the bowling alley for extra money at some point in our lives. I learned countless lessons there: how to count (by adding up pins and keeping score); how to work hard (by watching my grandfather climb in the machines to fix them); how to play fair (from countless games of tag, hide-and-seek, cards, etc. with my cousins); what a naked woman looks like (from sneaking a peek at the nudie cards the men in the Monday night league had); and that I should always tell the truth (even when I accidentally broke a woman's car window in the parking lot throwing a rock). It's a familiar place with a distinct sound and smell that always reminds me of family and fun and adventures. So I was really upset a few years ago when my grandparents decided to retire and started looking to sell the place.
However, as luck would have it, I wasn't the only one who felt this way about the place. My aunt Diane bought the bowling alley and has been running it ever since. She's made really fantastic improvements like new ball returns, automatic score keepers, new carpet and chairs, new (cosmic) lighting. She even brought back the snack bar that had been closed forever and remodeled the bar. She's poured her heart and soul into the place and it looks amazing. Now she runs it with her kids and their families, so a new generation of the Lenz family will grow up with similar feelings of love and memories of family.
Naturally, with our family all having grown-up in a bowling alley, bowling is in our blood. Don't laugh! My uncle is a professional bowler (I'm not kidding) and has like 15 perfect games. My brother actually bowled a perfect game last year! And my cousin Jenny is one of the best female bowlers around. She's really good! So, what do you think happens when you get a bunch of competitive rowdy cousins home together for the holiday with an empty bowling alley just down the street?
We are not the kind of family to sit around after a holiday meal and watch sports. Oh no. We all pack up and head to the bowling alley and get our bowl on!
The rest of us get our shoes on and get mentally prepared.
This is my pretty pink bowling bag with purple shoes (that match my purple ball).
And then it's time.
Let's meet the players...
Tim (my youngest brother)
Jason (Jenny's beau)
Chris (my other brother)
Jenny (my cousin)
Brian (another cousin)
Ryan (my hubby)
Danny and Payton (more cousins!)
Look at that beautiful form! (My grandpa taught me that)
Chris vs. Jenny.
...and then Chris (who was in the USMC and stationed in Okinawa).
Are these two full of themselves or what?!
So yes, it's probably a strange family holiday tradition, but I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.