Play. Mrs. Parker, my Nursery School teacher, described my mental activity as “Her play is purposeful, she sets herself to work well. She has an unusually long span of attention, especially working with clay. Susan has a good memory, is quite imaginative as shown by her clay work.”

Good Puritan work ethics. Certainly can’t have play motivated by fun, can we? It takes me a long time to have fun for the sake of having fun.Most of the time, I read books with the purpose of reading great works and classics or I’m convinced reading will help me become a better writer. I have to work at reading for pure pleasure.

Bowling was one of those activities that went from being fun and light-hearted to lots of work and not so much fun. I felt like the character in Rocking Horse Winner. Great D.H. Laurence short  story. The pressure to do better and better was mostly self-imposed, but often times my dad would ask me not how well did I bowl, but how much money did I make.

I pushed myself and did fairly well in a short amount of time, but I didn’t have the neither the constitution or the financial backing to strike it rich on the National Tour. I tried. I even cowed down to the idiotic dress codes. It was a joke to make me wear walking shorts and panty-hose. I don’t think I ever went a tournament without holes and runs and I just let them be. I emphasized that there wasn’t anything in the rules about holes. I really wanted to wear them on my head, as I didn’t recall reading anything about what part of the body, the pantyhose had to be worn.

The Ladies Professional Tour tried to do a makeover. The men had the Professional Bowlers Association, so the women switched to Professional Women’s Bowlers Association. The pay disparity  was so severe that to compare a woman’s earnings, you had to compare her career total to a man’s yearly winnings. But it’s not like we gave up. Women showed up no matter what just to get a chance to compete.

My career didn’t last very long, but I had some amazing experiences. My first national tour stop I got to bowl with Carol Gianotti-Block. Carol was on fire that year and earned bowler of the year. Chances are strong that Carolyn Dorin Ballard doesn’t remember me, but I’ll never forget how nice she was to me, though I think my personal favorite was the approachable Tish Johnson.

Bowling was like my clay work. Once I set my mind to doing something,and have a purpose, my attention span is lengthy. Maybe one of these days I can translate that to writing.


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