Missy Parkin is one of the top professional bowlers currently competing in many of the big-name tournaments. A very competitive and passionate bowler, Parkin shares her experiences being a woman bowler during a time when the sport is mostly dominated by men in her article “From the Other Side.” It’s a very inspirational story, with messages we can all relate to and learn from.
From the Other Side
by Missy Parkin
I began bowling at the very young age of two-and-a-half. I grew up in a definite bowling family, with my father, Frank Bellinder, being a professional bowler and owning a pro shop. Needless to say, I was always in or around a bowling center and that didn’t bother me one bit. Most people don’t know that I have two older sisters, both of whom bowled, but never decided to take it seriously. I, on the other hand, had an absolute obsession with the sport.
I vividly remember being in first grade and my teacher asking me, “Melissa, what do you want to be when you grow up?” (Yes, my full name is Melissa.) My response never changed throughout my entire life – “A professional bowler!”
The road to becoming a professional bowler, as hard as that already is, became suddenly a lot harder with the demise of the Professional Women’s Bowling Association, or PWBA. Throughout my early years, my parents instilled a great importance on education. I was an honor student in high school, graduating with over a 4.0 GPA and not once ever thought of not going to college.
My plan was simple – go to college, get a good education and then go out full-time on the women’s professional bowling tour. Those dreams shattered suddenly and at the worst possible time.
2003 Men’s Most Valuable Player award at the Intercollegiate Bowling Championships
All was going according to plan…I bowled collegiately for California State University, Fullerton. I had a successful collegiate bowling career, breaking a few records by anchoring our men’s team to a near top-two TV show appearance, finishing in fourth place overall. I was voted the Men’s Most Valuable Player and to the Men’s All-Tournament Team at the Intercollegiate Bowling Championships against the likes of Sean Rash from Wichita State, Bill O’Neill from Saginaw Valley and Ronnie Russell from Vincennes University. That same year I was also named Women’s Collegiate Bowler of the Year and Continue reading