Thirty years after heading to her first national bowling competition, Flin Flonner Jamie Szocs is heading back to the country’s top tournament.
The Flin Flon resident was part of a mixed bowling team based in Prince Albert that won top spot at provincials earlier this month and will represent Saskatchewan at the Canadian Open Championship later this spring.
Szocs joined bowlers from Prince Albert, North Battleford and Cut Knife, Sask. on the team.
A longtime competitive bowler with a crowded trophy shelf from three decades on the lanes, this year’s title was extra special for Szocs.
“I was so happy,” she said.
“My first nationals were in 1989 and I have been to and won many since, but this is the first year my mom will be coming with me, which will make it the best. She’s been my coach since I was four years old.”
Szocs has won seven national championships, competing on teams representing Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
Although bowling with a team from Prince Albert, Szocs is currently living in Flin Flon. She’s part of the group that has purchased the Flin Flon Hotel with the intention of turning the long-unused building into a multi-use complex including a bowling and recreation centre.
Flin Flon doesn’t currently have a bowling alley, meaning Szocs has to commute for practice. She lifts weights to keep her arms in game shape, but cannot bowl in her hometown.
“Before zone qualifying, I hadn’t bowled but still managed to make the team. I only had one practice before provincials, so sometimes that worries me,” she said, adding a joke.
“People ask how I do it and I just say I haven’t had time to pick up any bad habits throughout the year.”
This year’s Canadian Open takes place in Surrey and Abbotsford, B.C. from May 29 to June 1. As an experienced veteran, Szocs is looking forward to seeing her teammates’ reactions.
“My team is full of rookies and I can’t wait for them to experience it. It’s so awesome. I have made great friends nationwide from my bowling experience and I hope they do too,” she said.