COLUMBIA — Jordan Kitchen of Moberly wasn't alone as he rolled the bowling ball down the lane for the first time in the Show-Me State Games on Saturday afternoon. His mom, dad and two brothers had been there all morning to support him. And to criticize him.
"He's not my brother," Isaiah Kitchen, 11, said after his older brother's game started out shaky.
Soon to be a freshman at MU, Jordan Kitchen has been bowling since he was about 4 or 5, his dad Anthony Kitchen said. His brother is the other bowler in the family.
Jordan Kitchen bowled in a league throughout high school, but none of the Kitchens have been able to bowl much now that the only bowling alley in Moberly, Community Lanes, shut its doors May 20, Anthony Kitchen said. Although Jordan Kitchen has already moved to Columbia and plans to play in local leagues during the year, his brother will have to focus on other hobbies.
"There's not much for kids to do anymore," the dad said.
He said Community Lanes was a major part of Moberly history, and his children have been bowling there on the weekends for years. When his son was in the league, he would bowl three to four times a week.
"The economic downturn hit many of our bowlers and customers hard, reducing their expendable income," Community Lanes explained in a news release. "As a result, both they and our entertainment business have not bounced back."
The release said Community Lanes hopes it will find a buyer interested in reopening the bowling alley. Anthony Kitchen is hopeful someone will eventually. If not, the family might be going to Macon to bowl.
"It gives them something positive to do," he said. "I like to keep them involved in activities."
Now that Jordan Kitchen is living in Columbia for school, he can continue to play but hasn't had much time to this summer because of his involvement with MU's Summer Transition Program, his dad said.
Isaiah said although bowling is his favorite, he likes a lot of other sports, too. He plays Wii Bowling or goes to the pool now that the bowling alley is closed, he said.
When he first got Wii Bowling, he said he stayed up all night trying to get a perfect score of 300.
"If I bowled anything less than a strike I started over," Isaiah said.
Isaiah said "beating my brothers" is his favorite part of bowling.
Anthony Kitchen said he isn't a bowler, but a lot of the extended family bowls.
"Jordan's probably the only one in our family who hasn't bowled a 300 yet," he said.
Jordan Kitchen bowled a 219, 150 and 187 in the games Saturday, but said he didn't care much about the games Sunday.
"I just care about doubles tomorrow," he said.
He and his family were about to walk out the door, because he didn't think he placed when they heard his name announced for winning the gold medal in his age group.
Bowling doubles events start Sunday at 9 a.m. at AMF Town & Country Lanes.
Supervising editor is Greg Bowers.