INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — Participants in Indian River Habitat for Humanity’s annual Bowl to Build fundraiser ooo-ed and aahh-ed at the colorful, spacious, high-tech Vero Bowl venue Sunday afternoon as they gathered to support Habitat’s Scholarship Fund for the children of Habitat homeowners.
When you think of a bowling alley, the words that spring to mind would likely not include “beautiful,” right? Well, Vero Bowl is not your grandmother’s bowling alley. It is bright, clean, beautiful – and way more. (Black bowling balls are so-o yesterday. The rack upon rack of balls here resembled a massive clutch of giant Easter eggs.)
Bowlers were young, old, men, women, kids, office teams (George E. Warren fielded three). From the uber fun-loving Women Build teams, some of whom were bowling newbies, to the Serious Players, who bring their own equipment.
Everyone was having a blast.
Habitat’s mascot, Hamilton the Hammer, greeted arriving bowlers with waves, hugs and high-fours. T-shirt sponsors MBV Engineering, Clark Computer Services and Holly A. Mantle P.A., Attorneys at Law made sure everyone had a shirt, and soon the place was swimming in orange.
Loretta and Glen Frank have bowled for years and had participated in Habitat’s event before, Loretta said, handing Glen his t-shirt. All that experience paid off, as Glen’s impressive 552 won him the Best Overall Score Trophy.
Longtime bowler Gene and wife, Joanne Griffin, had decided to spend their Golden Wedding Anniversary here, she cheerleading and he bowling with the Heritage Rollers, fun-loving retirees who laughed, joshed one another and blew the competition away. Bill Shied, Don Shied, Jim Colbert, Bob Twomey and Gene went home with the Best Team Spirit Award and Highest Overall Score Trophy.
Women Build team member Barbara Borgia had brought her daughter Raenne Cone and granddaughter Ella, 6, who bounced about the entire time, learned the basics from mom and grandma and racked up a respectable beginner score.
Another Women Build bowler, Cyndy Hazlewood, was amazed to learn that the high tech scoreboards displayed the ball’s speed, in miles per hour. Giggling, she noted that her ball had zoomed down the alley at a tad over 4 mph, while on the next alley, a young man’s effort had blasted toward the cowering pins at more than 15 mph.
“We decided,” said Cyndy while her team still bowled and others handed in their shoes and headed home, “that we wouldn’t worry about our scores anymore, we’d just try to increase our mph.”
Habitat staffer Debbie Parcher was in charge of the event, and, observing the large, happy crowd, drew a deep breath for the first time in months. Debbie works with the sons and daughters of Habitat’s homeowners, overseeing the Prep Club, where kids learn about college and perform service projects.
She also handles Habitat’s subsidized after school programs and is proud that Habitat provides such dedicated support for these young people as a key way to end the cycle of poverty.