There may been none as dressed for success as Rosanna and Jason Morgan. The mother-and-son duo has donned matching camouflage shirts, Jason's top almost reaching his knees. "We're ‘Team Morgan,'" Rosanna says, with a little Vanna White gesture.
The Morgans were at Stardust Lanes on this Saturday for the annual Mother-Son Bowling, sponsored by the City of Walla Walla Parks and Recreation.
It's their second year in attendance, Rosanna says. "It's good bonding time and a focus on mother and son."
Which Jason, 8, clearly welcomes. "I've got two sisters," he explains. "I just can't stand 'em."
The Mother-Son Bowling event is popular every year, says Angela Potts with Parks and Recreation. "It just keeps getting bigger and bigger."
Reservations fill fast and at least half of this year's attendance was here last year, she notes, looking around the bowling alley as she unpiles baked goods. "And the year before. And the year before."
Last year, one 32 year-old son showed up with his mother in tow, Potts recalls. "I told him, ‘You realize you're going to be surrounded by kids, right?' He knew that, but he just wanted to do something special with his mom."
Shawn Laughlin has brought her son Alex, 8, to the special day for the first time. She works all week at Applebees restaurant, she says. "So I really want to do things on weekends with my family."
Alex, quite the Nintendo Wii bowler, came to Stardust Lanes for his birthday recently - where he discovered real bowling felt a bit different. "I didn't make it down the lane the first two times," he says.
On the other side of the alley, Wesley Powell is lacing up shoes, which he "borrowed" for the day, he says, shrugging a shoulder toward the rental counter.
He had already wheeled a bag tote nearly as tall as himself into the building. "Oh yeah, I'm a bowler," the 6 year-old says nonchalantly.
Well, sort of, says his mom, Jessica Powell. "My in-laws are really into bowling, and we've got hand-me-down balls."
It's bonus to find a couple of other mother-son teams from Wesley's school at Stardust, she adds. "Yeah, like my best friend is here," Wesley chimes in, his eyebrows hitting his hairline.
Not long after the 2 p.m. opening, boys are two deep at the food table, which bears several sugar-loaded treats. Dessert pizzas, made with a cookie crust and filled with an inch of frosting, are surrounded by cookies, doughnuts, brownie bites and glazed mini muffins.
By 2:30 p.m., mothers are beginning to circle the table, as well, snatching a cookie up in a swift move. The treats, Potts says, may be as important as the bowling.
Down a few steps at the lanes, little boys absentmindedly pull at wedgies as they watch their bowling balls wander toward the pins, veering into gutters as often as not. Moms with cameras around their necks chat together and snap pictures, taking time out to caution their sons to leave their food at the snack counters.
The Potter family is here for the first time. Dad Cory and son Carson, age 1, have come along as cheerleaders for Mom Deena and Logan, who is 5 and finally old enough to participate.
The Potters have looked forward to being part of this, even if there is no guarantee of proficiency. "I haven't bowled in a very long time," Deena says, looking a little nervous while coaxing her foot into a bowling shoe.
Jeannine Manny, on the other hand, has brought her son every year since inception of the event, she thinks. "At least five years."
Ryan, now 12, considers himself to be an "OK" bowler, he says. Jeannine hasn't progressed in bowling skills, either, but much appreciates the City of Walla Walla's efforts on behalf of families, she says.
"They have kinds of new classes. The city is doing a lot."
Sheila Hagar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 526-8322. Check out her blog at blogs.ublabs.org/fromthestorageroom.