When I was a small child, I thought that my dad was the greatest in the world. He was fun, he was funny, and he could do no wrong, at least in my eyes. My brother remembers those years differently, but I was very much a 'Daddy's Girl'. As I grew older, I began to realize he certainly has faults - but then again, who doesn't? I wouldn't say that my dad and I are terribly close now - we just don't see him often enough for that and when I do see him, it's hard because we really have very little in common to talk about. Sometimes I miss those days of just being able to run around and play games with him and I love that Ron makes the time to do those kinds of things with our girls.
My dad has one passion. It's something he's loved ever since I can remember. He is a bowler. Yes, bowling - you know, the 10 pins, heavy ball, goofy shoes... And my dad was actually pretty good at it. Very good, in fact. He bowled regularly in two leagues - and still does. He and my mom (and later my former stepmom) always bowled in a couples league on Friday nights. Every Friday night as far back as I can remember was the same routine. My mom would take my brother and I out to eat (fast food - McDonalds when we were younger and then we switched to Arby's later on), then on the way home we'd stop and pick up the babysitter (a neighbor girl). Then my parents would take off and Donnie and I would have a blast with Diane. She'd bring her record albums (yes, the vinyl kind!) and it really was our first exposure to any music other than classical, big band or musical soundtracks. I can remember dancing around the living room to Barry Manilow, Shaun Cassidy and the Carpenters. And watching our usual shows - The Muppet Show, Donny and Marie, and later on the Dukes of Hazzard. As we grew older, sometimes we'd go to the bowling alley with our parents and hang out there. I learned to add by helping keep score (on those plastic sheets which were projected up onto a screen above, no computers to do it for you back then!). I had the bad manners to be born on a Friday night - my mom used to joke that it was the only Friday night that my dad ever had missed bowling - and even then she wasn't sure he was going to skip it. :)
My dad also bowled in a Sunday morning league. This was a Masonic league, made up of what I think of as "little, old Jewish men". It was fun to get up early sometimes on Sundays and go with him - there were always fresh bagels and cream cheese (one big draw for me!) and the bowlers were lots of fun to watch and listen to. Plus there were usually extra lanes for my brother and I to get a few games in. This league met every Sunday without fail - even bowling on Christmas mornings if it fell on a Sunday - remember, they were all Jewish. (my mom still celebrated Christmas morning with us - even when my dad was home, he was never very involved since the Christian holidays made him uncomfortable) My dad still bowls in this league, although they've had to merge with some others because they've been (literally!) losing members over the years.
When I was very small, my dad was on a local bowling show in Detroit called "Beat the Champ" - and he did. He won a color television. However, the biggest, most important night of my dad's life came on a Friday night. I wasn't there - I was a teenaged girl and sleeping over at a friend's house was a much bigger excitement than heading to the bowling alley - again. I got a call from my parents right after my dad did it. Yes, he bowled a perfect 300 game that night. It was a huge deal - he got a ring and a trophy from the bowling association for it and a lot of clout in the local bowling community.
My dad has written a column for our local newspaper (on bowling, of course) for about 20 years now. He isn't a reporter and doesn't even have a college degree, so he makes very little money for it, but he doesn't write it for the money - he just loves doing it. He's become very involved in putting together tournaments and other events and has met many professional bowlers over the years. He's served on several boards and committees as well.
On Sunday, my dad will be one of 6 people inducted into the Detroit Bowling Hall of Fame. This is a culmination of his lifelong achievement in the sport of bowling, as a bowler, as a writer and as a promoter. And Ron and I will be there to help honor and celebrate him in this accomplishment.
He may not be the 'World's Greatest Dad', but he is my dad and I love him and am very proud of him. I suppose at heart in many ways, I am still a 'Daddy's Girl'.
(My dad with Becca in 2006)
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