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Adventure to, from tournament was more exciting than bowling

  I know in the past I've talked about the privileges I had as a little kid. I tried an abundance of different things, but one thing I was really good at at a young age was bowling.

I went to state in third, fourth and fifth grades, but the fourth grade year was extremely interesting.

I had league bowling once a week, and one day out of the season the bowling alley manager would watch us all bowl (not telling us) and on that day, if we bowled well enough above our average, we would qualify for the district bowling tournament.

In fourth grade I had a 128 average, and that day I bowled a 163 and a 158, which qualified me for the tournament, which that year was in Ada.

When I went to Ada, I didn't think I did particularly good, but I ended up taking sixth out of 40, which qualified me for the state tournament in Brooklyn Park.

At that age, I didn't really understand the whole state tournament set up, but looking back it was pretty cool I got to do that.

Anyway, I remember my parents booked a super nice hotel in Bloomington (a Hilton or Radisson or something of the sort), and we went down a few days early to enjoy the place a little bit.

We got all over the metro area (mall of America, Metrodome, etc.), and on the day of the tournament, we left the hotel about 45 minutes early so we could make it to Brooklyn Park (which was 30 minutes north).

We were about 10 miles down the road when my mom's (extraordinarily crappy) Subaru managed to splutter out a few black clouds of smoke followed by nothing. It was dead and showed no signs of life.

I had a half an hour to get to Brooklyn Park and we were broken down on the side of the Interstate. Things didn't look too promising for me.

Just as hope was about gone, a young couple stopped to see if we needed help. My mom explained the situation, and the couple kindly offered to bring my mom and me to Brooklyn Park, and my dad stayed behind to try to get things with the car sorted out.

I got to Brooklyn Park and bowled in the tournament (not doing overly exceptional), but afterwards came the interesting part.

Now my mom and I were stuck in Brooklyn Park, with no car, and no phone (keep in mind this was 2004, and my parents weren't the most technology advanced, so neither had cell phones).

We managed to find a bus that had a stop not all that far from our hotel. The only problem is that the bus went straight through north Minneapolis (which isn't a great place for a 9 year old and his mom).

Some of the neighborhoods got real rough looking, and just as we got to the worst part of town, a few kind of scary looking guys got on the bus.

My mom was really nervous when out of nowhere one of them asked me if my name was Jonah.

I asked the guy how he knew me and he said I played on his little brother's baseball team in Detroit Lakes (the Astros) and he recognized me.

He stayed with us the entire ride back to hotel (he pretty much watched out for us), and when we got there he said goodbye, and we went back to the hotel and found my dad. The whole event made quite the story to tell him.

A couple years later, I was playing in a little league game, and after the game was over that same guy came up to me and congratulated me on a good game, and that was the last I ever saw of him.

Jonah Bowe is a junior at Detroit Lakes High School.