Health Order Closures Of Bowling Alleys Force Costly Decisions To Compete Out Of State

Zach Greim, 17, is a two-time San Diego Youth Bowler of the Year practicing and competing out of state as potential scholarships loom - at times virtually learning from a hotel room

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Many parents are growing more concerned with the severe emotional and academic toll the pandemic is having on their children. Marci Greim of Poway says she’s seen the toll the public health closure order has had on her children as they’re forced to learn virtually in front of a computer.

“It’s been like watching the slow deterioration of your child’s mental well-being,” said Greim.

Compounding the problem says Greim, is the current public health order prohibiting competitive youth sports, and, in her children's case, restrictions that have closed bowling alleys.

Greim, who’s a special education teacher in Solana Beach, says her biggest concern is the lack of any social connection between friends and teachers and the impact it’s having on young students’ brain development.

But her 17-year old son Zach, who’s a high school senior, is also being recruiting by several colleges on an athletic scholarship for bowling.

However, because health orders have closed down bowling alleys, he hasn’t been able to sharpen his skills as one of the county’s top youth bowlers.

It’s forced Marci Greim to make a crucial decision; The family has been traveling out of state for tournaments.

“I’m trying desperately to find some sense of normalcy for both of my kids. I’ve had to find a way to give them something to look forward to, something to have hope for,” said Greim.

On a recent weekend, Greim’s son and 12-year old sister, who’s also a competitive bowler, prepared for an out-of-state tournament. It meant leaving during the week and completing their school work virtually, while in a hotel room under the supervision of their grandmother.

“I wish it wasn’t that way, but at least they’re not missing out on school while they’re traveling for their sport, said Greim.

“Out of all 50-states in the country, California is the last state that does not have bowling alleys open in any capacity,” said Zach Greim, who has 12 perfect games on his resume.

Zach is a two-time San Diego Youth Bowler of the Year. He’s currently considering college scholarship offers in Illinois and Iowa, where bowling is a sanctioned sport.

“We kind of have a disadvantage at every competition we go to. When we do get to bowl out of state, it has a nice feeling, but at the same time, we know we could be doing better if we had the opportunity to practice,” said Zach Greim.

Marci Greim says she is not at all concerned with her children’s health at bowling alleys. She says the bowlers are socially distanced and the alleys go out of their way to follow safety protocols.

“Actually, I feel like we’re at a lower risk participating in their sport than we are when we go to the grocery store,” said Greim.

The decision comes at a significant cost for Marci Greim, who’s a single mother. She says the family has been traveling out of state since May, several times a month. Each trip costs a minimum $500 when you factor in hotels, food, and driving costs.

“I don’t want to wait until my kids are so severely impacted that I can’t do something positive to keep their minds motivated and their spirits motivated, so this is what’s definitely the right decision for our family right now,” said Greim.

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