Searching for the proverbial Fountain of Youth may be an age old fallacy. But for those who know, staying active and engaged "is" the way to a long and productive life. For some local seniors, their ticket for aging gracefully is bowling.
" I look forward to it, every Thursday, I look forward to it," beams 81 year old Chattanooga native Bobbie Jean Houston. Every Thursday afternoon at Brainerd's Holiday Bowl, this is where she rolls, as the Roaring 20's Bowling League takes to the lanes. " Some of these people bowl two or three times a week, I just bowl once," Houston clarifies. Bobbie Jean admits she got into the sport as a late bloomer, in her early 60's, after retiring from the Postal Service and raising 9 children. " Always wanted to, but we never had the money to do stuff like that," says the working mom of her child raising years. Now, nearly two decades later with her kids now grown, she's a solid 200 bowler. " I just get up there and throw the ball, sometimes its good and sometimes its not," laughs Houston, as she points to her teammates she feels are better bowlers than her. If at 81 years young and bowling a 200 average isn't impressive enough, consider this, Mrs. Houston has had both hips replaced, both knees replaced with one knee not being replaced once, but twice! " Bobbie is a sweet woman, she's been bowling in this league for years and we really enjoy having her," quips Etta Cheney, league secretary and treasurer. Etta isn't a bad bowler herself, nailing a strike before the unblinking eye of our camera, squarely focused on her. But Etta says Bobbie Jean's story is just one of the many of seniors keeping the boll rolling, in the bowling lane as well as the game of life. " I personally bowl with a little guy who will be 96 years old on Friday and like I told you my husband, he's had a stroke but he bowls with me on Friday night and he's beating me right now!" "To do something like this it really keeps you going , it really keeps you going , keeps you from sitting home and doing nothing," smiles Houston, as she rolled her first strike of the day.
Bobbie Jean's and Etta's bowling league is made up of 25 teams consisting of 75 bowlers, and it's just one of a number of leagues available to players of all ages and experience. If you're interested, head down to Holiday Bowl and get your ball a rolling.