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Susan M. “Susie” Ryan was born October 22, 1963 in Arlington, Va., to Ray and Maxine Brothers. Little did she know that her life would revolve so much around this wonderful game of bowling. It wasn’t long until Susie and her sister, Shari Brothers, found themselves spending their toddler years watching mom and dad bowl, anxious to join in the fun.
The little saying, “a family that bowls together never splits,” is so true to her family: She met her husband, Mike, 30 years ago while bowling in the Junior 600 Club Tournament, and all three of their children, Nick (age 24), David (22), and Missy (20), enjoy the game as well.
Susie finally got to start bowling at age 10 in a Saturday morning youth league at Bowl America Duke. On the weekends, there was only life in the bowling center. She was secretary for the “Juniors” league on Saturday morning at the age of 12. Everything was done by hand back then—no computer help.
By the age of 14, life after school included bowling in two leagues a week and practicing. After the Saturday morning youth league, it was on to the Vir-Mar District Scratch Travel league, for which she was secretary. This job included scheduling the bowling centers for the league and negotiating prices. Sunday only left the Junior Virginia Masters League at Seminary Lanes.
Between ages 10 and 15, summertime found her competing for gold, silver, and bronze medals in the U.S. Youth Games in Boston; New Haven, Conn.; Detroit; and Springfield, Mass. Her love for bowling became evident during these young years.
Becoming a great bowler was her greatest desire, but it wasn’t long until convincing adults to respect the youth bowlers became one of her goals. Learning rules and helping other youth bowlers led to her becoming a Certified Youth Bowling Coach of the American Junior Bowling Congress (AJBC).
Some of her other accomplishments include:
- Served as a youth director on the AJBC board of directors and was on several commit-tees that enabled youth to become recognized and grow in their bowling accomplishments.
- Served as president and secretary of the Junior 600 Club. In this capacity, she managed its tournaments—everything from reserving the bowling center to sanctioning the tournament to handing out the awards. Adults only supervised back then.
- Volunteered her time as a youth to help with the Vir-Mar District Championship Tournament and was one of the original members of the Junior Leaders in the area.
- Held Bowl America Duke’s Girl’s Youth record of 715 series bowled at age 16 in an after-school league.
- Won the B Division of 1983 Vir-Mar District Scratch Invitational. This was done during a time when girls were just starting to compete in scratch events against the boys.
- Appeared in WDCAWBA’s Top 10 Ranking in the 1993-1994 and 1994-1995 seasons.
- Captured the all-events and scratch (758 series) and handicap singles titles in the 1994 WDCAWBA City Tournament.
- Competed with the women pro bowlers in Baltimore.
- Won Virginia State Queens Tournament at Fort Belvoir in June 2005.
- Served as a director on the NCAUSBCA board.
- High game / series / average: 300 / 782 / 216.
To help her children get the same exposure to the game that she had, Susie coached the pee wees at General Bowl’s Annandale Bowling Center for a year and then became the youth director for the whole program for three years. Susie had and still has a great rapport with youth of all ages and is responsible for giving them, as well as their parents, a great learning experience.
It was during this time that her own children grew to love the game, too, along with many others. She continues to let everyone in the bowling community know that the youth bowlers are their stars of tomorrow, and they should get the same respect from centers as adults.
Susie continued her efforts in promoting youth bowling by putting together Junior Gold qualifying leagues. Youth from all over the area come to Bowl America Shirley to bowl for scholarships and Junior Gold spots in the Junior Gold league. She was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation in recognition of outstanding dedication as a USBC Junior Gold Qualifying Event Coordinator for the 2009 USBC Junior Gold Championships held in Indianapolis.
As league coordinator and youth director at Bowl America Shirley, Susie is responsible for over 2,000 bowlers a year. She continues to help adults as well as youth in any way she can and always with a smile.
Susan M. Ryan’s continued dedication to the sport of bowling and her overwhelming desire to serve the area’s bowlers make her an outstanding addition to the NCAUSBCA Hall of Fame.
PHOTO BY L. HOPE REYNOLDS