For one to say that the past week was very difficult for the Lima area bowling community may well be one of the bigger understatements of sometime.
In a span of five days of this past week five individuals with strong ties to bowling departed this life.
Skip Core Sr., David Perrine, Danielle “Bubba” Jackson, Keith Roney and Betty Richard were all called home by their creator. Without question the loss that the families of the group feel is far more significant than that of this writer and the bowling community. That said, the bowling community aches as well and will always be there to offer prayer and support. We are family and for each of us I cannot say enough, it has been a very difficult week.
Collectively speaking, “You are loved.”
Initially Rayleen Arthur and I chatted briefly about Perrine. She immediately shared how he had been an influence on her when she first took up the game, offering continued reassurance that she would do well if she continued to work at it.
My respect for Perrine was similar and I was saddened to hear that he had lost his battle of survival. I can foolishly remember how I was once afraid to approach him. Thankfully I learned over time that he was a teddy bear as daughter-in- law Angie would later depict him. He and his son Kraig were two of my recommendations to Jeff Jarvis to lead the initial University of Northwestern Ohio bowling team.
Thankfully the Pioneer Classic was held last Monday and initially it softened the blow a little. There was actually a moment I found myself thinking about the influence that he had during the time that his son Kraig and I coached the Lima Senior High team a decade or so back. I could imagine him at the lanes on that day rooting for the kids.
The time to mourn was abruptly cut short when I learned of the loss of Bubba. Chris Sanford was both tearful when she delivered the message that virtually took the air out of me. It is still impossible for me to use the words Bubba and murdered in the same sentence. In fact it was very difficult to even key in that last sentence.
There is so much that I could add but the individuals of Bubba Nation said it best this past Saturday evening when they gathered at 20th Century Lanes to celebrate the life of Bubba. I did not have one of those crowd counting tools but there had to be well over 125 people present to celebrate his life.
Leroy, the father of Bubba repeated to me what he had said to others, “God gave me my son for 44 years and now he has returned to him.”
There were tears in his eyes but the heart of this leader did all he could do on this night to assure others that all will be well.
Melissa Gardner and her beau Zach Robenalt wore shirts that she quickly had made. At first their soft message seemed to conflict with the raider now Bubba Nation T- shirts of the group but the ribbon illustrated on the back of the shirt did not. Simply stated it shared Enough is enough.
There were so many tears on Saturday night as I am sure that there was at the homes of the other four who we honored earlier.
Interestingly there were also a lot of young people in the group on Saturday night that seemed driven to have fun playing the game that Bubba, as well as David, Skip Sr, Keith and Mary loved so much. I am sure that they were sad but there was some peace, some relief as they appeared to by having a measure of fun.
The fog of the last few days began to left some on Sunday afternoon as the WBL Junior Bowling League rolled at Wapak and Celina. It may have only been about 15 miles away but it seemed a great deal further as the youth who call Olympic and 20th Century home took on Astro Lanes. The first game did not go well but things improved as the day went along. Next week when prayerfully things will be closer to normal we will update not only the north and south of this league but also check in on the high school version of the WBL.
Speaking of the WBL they are within one week or so of the conclusion of their season. The WBL League championship event will be held at Varsity Lanes in St Marys where Jaden Gibson among others will closeout their championship careers.
I started a conversation with Jaden to highlight the brilliant 299 she recently rolled at 20th but did not finish it as the fog had began to set in within my brain. Thankfully the fog is beginning to clear . She and I will finish that chat before my next report.