- Associated Press - Saturday, January 9, 2016

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) - The family that bowls together rolls together.

Prairie High School sophomore Madi Bash doesn’t have to look beyond her house for tips on picking up a stubborn spare.

Bowling is measured by frames - and the frames on the Bash family photos surround the owners of some high bowling scores.

Madi, the top bowler on this year’s Falcons team, rolled 253 last summer. This high school season, she has scored 215 and 212 and averages a little over 170.

Her father, Donn, coached bowling at Prairie from 2005-12. He is the owner of two perfect 300 games in league play and averages 218.

Her mother, Rhonda, has bowled as high as 266. The teacher and assistant bowling coach at Prairie is relatively new to the game, having joined her first league in 2006.

For the Bashes, bowling has been more than a regular hobby. Donn and Rhonda owe their marriage in part to the game.

In 1995, while attending Clark College, Donn earned some spending money by working at Riverside Bowl in Camas.

Rhonda didn’t bowl. But one evening, her niece was intent on going to Riverside’s Rock n’ Bowl and needed a ride.

Once there, Rhonda saw some friends sitting at a table with Donn. She and Donn struck up a conversation and went on their first date a few weeks later.

Madi, the oldest of two daughters, wasn’t pushing a bowling ball down the lane as a toddler. She grew up playing soccer and volleyball and didn’t give competitive bowling a try until eighth grade.

“It wasn’t my favorite thing, but I kept at it,” she said. “Once I got to high school, I really started to like it because of the friendly environment and the competition.”

Now Madi travels to tournaments around the Northwest year-round.

This winter, she hopes to lead Prairie to state, where Southwest Washington schools have dominated recently. Battle Ground has won four consecutive 4A team titles. Columbia River won the 3A/2A title last year and Donn coached Prairie to the 3A/2A title in 2011.

While Madi loves high school events, some of her favorite moments are competing against her parents.

“When I beat either of them, it’s a huge accomplishment because they’re both great bowlers,” Madi said. “My main goal is to get where they are. So to beat them is almost like reaching my goal.”

Madi’s enthusiasm had rejuvenated her father’s love for bowling. Donn’s second 300 game came earlier this year, 20 years after his first.

More importantly, the long car trips to tournaments have provided some quality time together.

“We’ve gotten to know each other better because of those trips,” he said. “It’s fun to help her work her way through a tournament when she is having difficult moments.”

As bowling has grown at the high school ranks, more colleges are offering scholarships. Wylicia Faley, the 2014 individual 4A state champion for Battle Ground, bowls for Midland University in Nebraska.

Whether or not Bash reaches that level, it’s clear that bowling will always be part of her family.

“Bowling has meant a lot because it gets us together a lot,” Rhonda Bash said. “It’s something we can continue to do as a family.”


Information from: The Columbian, https://www.columbian.com

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