Letting it roll

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 27, 2005

Whether it was the pins in front of her or the competitors beside her, 15-year-old Jessica Vines was mowing them down in Playland Bowl.

Vines – a sophomore at Dallas County – entered her first tournament last weekend and faced off against 22 other bowlers, every one of them older and more experienced.

Using the handicap system that allows bowlers of different skill levels to compete, Vines found herself in second place after the first round.

She then knocked down a trio of men on her way to the $200 first prize.

“She whupped up on

a lot of the house pros,” alley co-owner Wesley Kelly said. “That’s an example of the handicap system working like it’s supposed to work.

She bowled well over her average and we bowled right at ours and that makes a difference.”

“I just tried the best I could but sometimes the pins just wouldn’t go down,” Jessica said. “I still tried to do my best so that’s just what got it for me.”

Jessica may have only been bowling in league play for three weeks, but she comes to the sport honestly.

Her father – Jeff Andrews – was recently profiled in The Times-Journal for rolling perfect games.

“My mom bowls, my dad’s been in the newspaper, my grandparents bowl, one of my great grandmothers bowl; I just felt the odd one out so I started bowling, too,” she said.

And now, she’s mowing down the competition. Jessica’s dad, however, was not among the vanquished.

He was out of town on business and missed the tournament.

“He said he was glad he was not here to be humiliated with the rest of the guys,” Linda said.

“Wesley Kelly told me he never thought she would have won, he thought it would have been good experience but he never dreamed she’d be the one to win.”

Linda said she would like to see more kids Jessica’s age come out and try bowling.

“We’re hoping this will challenge (other kids) to come out,” Linda said. “The league she joined is not a certain night league.

You can bowl any night you want to so they make it flexible for people who have busy schedules.”

The win was enough to inspire Jessica to reach for further heights.

“I haven’t got to practice lately but winning this tournament made me think I can practice a lot more and do a lot better in tournaments to come,” she said, “and in the league I can do better.”