Communities are everywhere. They’re in small, tight-knit towns, and in churches and synagogues. There are even communities comprised of fans of certain genres of music.
But, it’s not every day you hear about a bowling community.
I started bowling as a youth when I was about seven, and I’ve been a part of this community for as long as I can remember.
I’ve known Central DeWitt High School girls Bowling Coach, and part owner of DeWitt Lanes, Seth Ketelsen, for a protracted time. He’s coached me through tough and happy times, and I’ve gotten to see him age just as he’s seen me grow. It’s definitely been quite the experience.
I’m proud to say that he’s made a huge impact on my life and that I’ve gotten accustomed to his rather prickly personality. He’s inspired me to want to do more than the minimum, to be honest, and to manage myself in a mature manner.
Seth has always pushed me to be better than what I thought I could be not only in bowling but in work and life, too.
I see him push himself physically almost every day we work together. His joints pop and I dash after him wondering if he needs my help in the back of the bowling alley governing any of the machines. He’ll groan and sigh when troubles arise but shrug me off in favor of doing things himself.
I’ll run for tools as fast as I can when he hollers for them, recalling what’s needed to fix a broken sweep or fallen curtain. I’ll do my best to help as much as I can, whether that’s dealing with unruly customers, telling him I can take care of a mechanical problem, or simply vacuuming after a youth league ends.
Seth has also taught me to be honest, whatever the situation or consequence. It could be something easy to answer like what I want for lunch or as complicated as telling someone where I want to go to college. He’s always taught me to be honest with what I want or need to say to people.
When I manage a bunch of people and repair problems on a time crunch, being honest is really important, especially if I don’t know how to fix an issue that arises. Not only do I need to be honest with the people around me, but I also need to be honest with myself too. If I’m feeling a certain way, then I need to admit it and shouldn’t disregard my feelings because it isn’t convenient for the people around me. I want to be like Seth, fearless and unafraid to say what’s on his mind no matter what.
Finally, he has taught me to take myself seriously as well as make fun of myself sometimes. Seth can definitely be pensive and stern, especially when it comes to things he’s passionate and opinionated about, but he can also be very sarcastic and even hilarious when given the proper situation. He knows what should be done when and where, and I want to be like that someday. I want to have the wisdom he has, the confidence he carries with him, the no-BS attitude he holds in every interaction he conducts.
I know I don’t say it as often as I should, but thank you, Seth. Your tough exterior has been without a doubt intriguing to see fall away sometimes, and I definitely have learned plenty from you. You’ve been my trusted guide through these endless years, and you’ve introduced me even further to what the bowling community has to offer.
But now that these years with you are ending, I only wish I could’ve helped you more while I had the chance to. I’ll miss you.
Raelynn Gibson was a senior at Central DeWitt High School and a part of a Composition II class, a college-level writing class offered at the school through Clinton Community College.