Meridian Star


June 29, 2014

Bowling a family affair for Brackens

MERIDIAN —     Michelle Bracken may have given her son plenty of advice when he was young, but nowadays, it's Don Bracken who's offering tips.

    The pair competed in the State Games of Mississippi bowling matches Saturday morning at Family Bowl Lanes. It was their second year to compete in the State Games, and the two have only taken up bowling as a hobby in these last two years.

    "He tells me, 'Mama, don't think about it, just go up there and roll the ball,'" Michelle said. "He's helped me a lot. He coached me today. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't."

    Don said having his mother as a bowling partner is an enjoyable experience — for the most part.

"It's fun, and it can be aggravating when she doesn't listen to you," Don joked.

    Their interest in the sport began in 2012 when Don watched a bowling tournament and decided to give it a try. He mostly does league bowling with his brother-in-law, Dustin Evans, but it wasn't long before Michelle began to watch her son and start bowling herself.

    "I started basically when they did, and they kept me interested," she said.

    As a dancing instructor, Michelle said she had a little bit of an advantage in learning how to bowl because of certain things dancing teaches you.

    "It helps with coordination, and you have to be coordinated in bowling," she said. "I know I'm a coordinated person, because I have to be (as a dance instructor)."

    Don, meanwhile, used the resources available at his fingertips refine his craft.

    "The best thing you can do is get on the Internet and watch bowling videos and get your own ball," he said.

    At first, he was averaging only 111 as a bowler, but soon her took that up to 137 and then 167 in just a year's time, Don said. Now, he said, he's trying to pass on some of his know-how to his mother.

    "She'll throw a bad ball, and then throw her hands in the air and say, 'Oh well,'" Don said. "I always try to tell her, 'Don't give up. Just try to make the best of it.'"

    As a participant in the State Games of Mississippi, Don said he's hoping bowling gets more recognition locally.

    "I like bowling tournaments, and this is a different format, because there's no money, only a medal," he said. "I'm mainly just trying to represent Meridian and keep the State Games here."

    Don also said the competition is one of the main enjoyments he gets from the State Games. Michelle, meanwhile, doesn't worry about the people surrounding her as much.

    "When you're bowling, you're not bowling against someone, you're just bowling for yourself," Michelle said.

    But Don wasn't buying that.

    "Come on, Mom, you know you want a medal," he said.

    Michelle then mentioned the bronze medal hanging in her BMW — something Don isn't terribly fond of.

    "When he drives my car, he takes it down," she joked.

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