Families a Bowling Tradition at Sunnybrook Lanes
Families bowling together on the same league team is one of the great traditions of the game of bowling. Sunnybrook Lanes in Sterling Heights, one of the Detroit area’s premier bowling centers, features several families that have kept that tradition alive and well over the years.
According to Sunnybrook proprietor Randy Shank, “Through my 20 some years at Sunnybrook, I have seen many youth bowlers come up through the ranks of bowling and eventually become adult league bowlers. And now their children are in the youth programs.
“When I was growing up and going to the bowling center with my parents, I often thought about how great it will be when I can bowl with them in an adult league. When it finally happened, it felt great. I now see it time and time again that our great sport brings family, friends and generations together.”
One team at Sunnybrook features three generations of family members. The “Sunnybrook Misfits” team, which features Armando, Mike and Matt Papais, competes in the Thursday Bowling IQ Men’s league.
According to Mike, 55, “Its fun for a couple of reasons. Foremost, it lets us be together on a regular basis. Then it lets us compete in a fun way and always have a common activity to talk about. At various times my mom, dad, wife, brothers, sister-in-laws and children have bowled with or against me. The family aspect includes a number of people that have created an extended bowling family.”
Also on the team are Tom Moenaert, Jerry Sroka, Jim Stirnemann and Joe Lemiesz. Mike speaks fondly of his father, Armando, known to league bowlers as “Armi.”
“I've bowled with him in leagues for the last 37 years, but he first taught me to bowl around the fourth or fifth grade,” Mike relates. “Bowling with three generations of my family is the fondest memory.”
Also competing in the Bowling IQ league is the “Robinson Saw Service” team that features the father and son tandem of Daniel and Derrick Busch.
Daniel, 58, averages 220 and enjoys bowling with his 22-year-old son. “I enjoy bowling with my family because I enjoy being with them. It is an awesome feeling to watch your family improve their bowling game and to watch them grow. It's pretty amazing.”
Rounding out the team are Ed Burnett, Wayne Colden and Ken Kulin.
“Over the 40 years that I have been bowling, I have made many friends,” continued Daniel. “Bowling really is a small world. My sons have come home from their bowling leagues and are really surprised to find out that I know some of the parents of the friends they have made in bowling leagues.”
Son Derrick, who was a member of the 2009 MHSAA High School State Champion Stevenson High School bowling team, agrees with his father. “I just enjoy spending quality time with my dad and friends. It's a night out and you can relax. It's always fun to try to beat your dad.
“Bowling is something I have done for a few years now. I enjoy it and it is fun to pass on knowledge of the sport. Being a coach for Stevenson now, I enjoy seeing how this sport can have such an impact on the kids. They grow not only as athletes but as people, too.”
Women bowlers are well represented by the “Suite Seats” team that competes in the Tuesday Night Ladies league. Pam Bogden bowls with daughters Melanie Bogden and Tara Miller, along with teammates Claudette Kelley and Mary Dunlap.
“It’s a night out with my daughters to do something we all enjoy,” Pam explains. “That’s one night a week we know we will see each other and be able to catch up on each others’ busy lives.”
Daughter Tara, who has bowled since the age of 3, agrees, “So many good memories have come out of bowling. I remember bowling Saturday mornings in a league when I was a kid and staying after to practice with my uncle Joe and my dad and my sister and my mom.”
Tara was able to convince her sister Melanie to join the team and get back into bowling. “Having fun with the ladies is the best,” Melanie explains. “Because you are able to get competition between yourselves. Even though you are on the same team it helps you bowl better.”
“There’s constant conversation and lots of laughing,” Pam adds. “We have always been a bowling family, and to be able to bowl with my daughters means a lot to me.”
Perhaps the most famous bowling family at Sunnybrook is Detroit Bowling Hall-of-Famer Jerry Penza and his two children, >>> add copy <<<.
From left: Sunnybrook proprietor Randy Shank and three generations of the Papais family ( "Armi,", Mike and Matt Papais).
From left: Pam, Tara and Melanie Bogden.
Hall-of-Famer Jerry Penxa (center) and his two children.
Dan and Derrick Busch
P.O. Box 96, Fraser, MI 48026 | Phone (586) 286-2450 | FAX (586) 286-5877