Indianapolis in the summer of 2016 was hot. In the middle of July, temperatures were hitting over 100 degrees and being packed in a warehouse building with 3,500 of my ‘closest friends’ wasn’t helping the heat.
I looked around at the lines surrounding me. Everyone wanted to meet the pros from Storm and parents were swarming around their kids while fussing over their hair and skirts. Practice was in less than two hours. I stepped sideways to avoid being sideswiped by a fussing parent and bumped into the side of my mom.
“Well,” she said as she caught her balance, ” who do you want to talk to first? What was that one college you said Tommy liked?”
“Morningside,” I replied. My head was swiveling from left to right as I looked down the rows of tables. They each had banners with their school colors fluttering from the white plastic. I had no idea what the coach looked like or the college mascot or the colors. I just knew they had a team and I wanted to bowl.
“There!” I said and pointed to the right. The maroon and white banner was hanging about halfway down the line of tables. I grabbed my mom’s hand and pulled her behind me as I bee-lined for the table.
I walked up to the table and looked at the man behind it. The skin around his eyes was rough and wrinkled and he had a beard that wasn’t necessarily well-kept but didn’t look like an accident either.
“Hi, my name is Mari Pizzini and I want to bowl for your program,” I said. I stuck my hand out towards him and he grabbed it in a loose handshake. He eyed me warily. I smiled back at him, “I have been researching your program for the last couple of months. You’re new. I want to bowl somewhere and I want to help the team.”