I wrote last week about my dad's love with the sport of bowling (yes, it is a sport!). Last night this love affair reached its pinnacle as he was inducted into the Detroit Bowling Hall of Fame, in the city which has been called the "Bowling Capital of the World".
We made the 2+ hour trek to Detroit, after a few hiccups, and were able to spend some time visiting my dad at his new apartment and also visiting his girlfriend, Phyllis.
Yes, I had nothing better to do while we were stuck at the gas station than to bug my girls by taking pictures... :)
(A little girl and a Daddy with their backpacks...)
(Hmm, maybe it's open...)
We dropped the girls off at my mom's house, ordered them a pizza for dinner, and headed to the banquet. Other than my dad and Phyllis, we knew nobody. And they were seated up at the head table, so we were seated with 6 strangers. One of whom is a good friend of my dad's and the one to actually induct him last night. He didn't remember me - he did remember my brother. Everyone remembers my brother - he's the bowling prodigy. I managed a couple of 200 games during my (limited) career as a youth bowler. Donnie started bowling left-handed during practice games because he was bored and wanted a challenge. Yes, he is that good. He could've turned pro if he'd wanted to. But bowling has always been our dad's passion, not ours.
Four hours of dinner, presentations, speeches and schmoozing. And lots of sports talk as the guys at our table kept sneaking peeks at the NFL scores on their cell phones throughout the whole thing. The food was very, very good although our tablemates were not impressed by the cash bar, especially after the $40 ticket price for the banquet.
(My dad and Phyllis at their table at dinner)
My dad's was the 5th induction and one of two non-bowlers inducted this year. Well, my dad is a bowler, but his scores aren't what he is known for. Twenty years of 'meritorious service' to the bowling sport and profession as a member of the media, a board member on several organizations, an organizer of tournaments and charity events - his love for the sport. These are what got him inducted. During his friend's speech as he introduced my dad, a mention was made that, "he's written about probably everyone in this room" and that made me realize just how well-known my dad is in the bowling scene. As he accepted his plaque and made his speech (his first public speaking event in his 78 years - he'd practiced his speech on my brother over the phone several times and on us earlier at his apartment and was understandably nervous about it), I realized that in his moment of accomplishment and success...
I am proud of him. That is something I haven't really been able to say about my father in a very long time, if ever. But he took something that he loved and he worked hard to make a career and a life out of it and he has achieved a level of success that I didn't think possible 20 years ago.
He is happy. And I am happy for him.