Merry and blessed family Christmas to all

By Jack Hammill - Guest Columnist

It was my non-bowling daughter Amanda this past Friday morning that voiced, “Wow you have an interesting group of people here this morning.”

She was referencing the wide range of individuals who were competing on that morning. Like many leagues in our community it was a broad cross-section of the individuals that live in our community, young-old, blue collar-white collar, black-white and even male and female. They had a common goal and were working together to meet that goal. In so many ways it is life as it is supposed to be in our community, in all communities.

Earlier this morning, I received a Christmas text message from a bowling couple who is very dear to me, former teammate Kevin Grumblis and his wife Cathy. The message was beautiful seasonal, an encouragement to always remember the reason for the season, as well as staying close to those that you love.

It is the time of year as well that I remember how two of the more successful bowling families in our community, the Ambrozas and the Twinings have spent periods of time on the lanes celebrating family and taking the opportunity to share a portion of the day competing together in a sport that they love.

This past Saturday I spent an extended time at 20th Century at a Christmas party with 12 individuals who mean a great deal to me. The annual celebration of Christmas Eve Eve with my daughters and their clans was a day earlier this year, but blessed as those gatherings have been over the years. Thank you Aunt Chris and the entire Riepenhoff family, the meatballs were on spot as always as was the quality of care. A special thank you as well to Maddie Knotts and Cecilia Riepenhoff for filling in for me so I could spend that time with my tribe.

What I really want to add to this seemingly personal experience is that I am not unique.

Families upon families go to bowling establishments each holiday and birthday season and have a great time, often escaping work and life stress and to celebrate special moments.

I remember a relative recent conversation with the Andy and Wes Johnston when they shared how often when friends return home for the holidays that they will gather at Westgate to share memories. That certainly has not been any less true this season as much like 20th their parking lot has been full as I have traveled always busy Cable Road. I trust or at least hope that all the lanes in our area have the same good fortune this holiday season.

As important that I may feel that bowling establishments may be in keeping families and friends together there is still a more important step that many can take this season.

Please find a church that you feel comfortable in attending in regularity.

Saturday with family was indeed incredible and stress relieving but the message of Pastor Doug Boquist of Lima Community Church of the Nazarene on Saturday evening and again on Sunday morning as well as the performance of the “Star Search” youth from our congregations was simply ‘drop the mic’ great. It is a peaceful blessing that is available to each of much more often than what is utilized.

This is the time of year when churches are filled. We would be an even better and safer community, our families would be wiser and stronger if we would make it at the least a weekly occurrence.

We can make it to bowl in league and be with friends, my suggestion is make a weekly commitment and broaden your group of friends at a church of your choice.

Two couples come quickly to mind that illustrate a strong blend of faith and bowling are Ken and Debbie Franks and Dick and Eileen Mowery.

In each case that are not shy about their faith. They have invited fellow bowlers to church programs and have spent extra time focusing on the needs of youth in their congregation.

The work of Ken and Deb is more church based and reportedly very valuable to their congregation.

Dick and Eileen have been more visible to bowling community as coaches of the Temple Christian Pioneers.

The record of the Pioneers may not be as gaudy as some of the performers of the WBL or even LCC and Lima Senior but they may be keeping score in a different way. You can see a valuable relationship developing with the youth that will be of even greater value moving forward.

What a great season this is … may you all have just an amazing holiday season, just as Kevin and Cathy advised me this morning, do not forget the reason for the season.

Be blessed and a blessing to others.

By Jack Hammill

Guest Columnist

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