2013 National ACRY Bowling Tournament
The 2013 (65th Annual) National ACRY Bowling Tournament, hosted by St. John the Baptist Church and ACRY Chapter of Ambridge, PA took place on the weekend of May 24-27, 2013.
A Reflection On The 2013 National ACRY Metropolitan Orestes Memorial Bowling Tournament - By National Senior ACRY Publicity Director, Greg Kushner
It’s Memorial Day evening and I’m sitting down to try to recall some of the events of the past weekend at the 65th National ACRY Metropolitan Orestes Memorial Bowling Tournament, hosted by Chapter #7 – Ambridge.
As always, I looked forward to seeing all of the many friends I’ve made over the years at previous ACRY events and was hopeful that this weekend would generate even more memorable moments that I could add to the mental list I’ve accumulated over the years. I was not disappointed!
From the moment my family & I arrived, until earlier this morning when we said our goodbyes and departed, I felt like I was with family. Hugs and kisses were plentiful, as we talked about how things have been going since we last got together at the Convention (way back 9 whole months ago). There was a good turnout at this year’s event, which was encouraging to see. The numbers may have been a “little” inflated because of the presence of His Grace, Bishop Gregory being in attendance for his first ACRY bowling tournament. This was perhaps the first chance for many of the faithful to meet and interact with His Grace. I would venture to guess that all, myself included, were quite captivated and enthused by his interaction with everyone from the youngest children to the most ‘senior’ of ACRY members.
After the Friday night business meetings officially adjourned, both Jr. & Sr. Board members got together for a more unofficial social hour with Bishop Gregory. After just a few short minutes of listening, one could easily see that His Grace cared deeply about his newly appointed position but even more so, about each of his spiritual children. He spoke passionately about where he sees the Diocese currently, as well as what he is looking forward to in the future. His love for all was very evident, in the way he took the time to listen to any and all questions, comments and concerns. He was engaging on all levels, so that there was no need for anyone in attendance to feel nervous about being in his presence. This social hour of interaction was not to be the only one of the weekend.
Saturday morning all hopeful trophy winners reported for the first day of competition at Paradise Island bowling lanes. Once everyone got settled in and found their lane assignments, it was time to get things started. His Grace honored us by rolling the first ball, to start the tournament off. In an effort, I’m sure, to put us all at ease about our upcoming turns to do the same; he did roll out the first ball (his first in 20 years). It didn’t garner any pins (which is the nicest way I can think of to say that it was in fact, a gutter ball). Undaunted, he waited patiently for his ball to return and tried once more. This time somewhat more successful… One pin fell. Of this he stated that this was to remind us that he is #1, which was met with a round of applause! Afterwards, His Grace agreed to be the anchor for a team needing one more player to round out their team. He stayed at the lanes for the remainder of the afternoon, taking in all that was going on around him and even was able to increase his average a bit while doing so.
Saturday night’s theme was 1950s Sci-Fi Drive-In and many showed up in costume reflective of that era. Robots, poodle skirts, greasers and celebrity impersonators were some of those costumes that I recall. There were contests for doing the Twist and best Hula Hooping and plenty of nostalgic posters and music to keep the evening upbeat and lively. Later in the evening, many participated in dancing to some favorite Carpatho-Rusyn music, of which we found out later, was of particular interest to His Grace.
Sunday morning services were held at St. John the Baptist Orthodox Church, in Ambridge, with His Grace, Bishop Gregory presiding. Afterwards, it was back to the hotel for Brunch and then off to the bowling alley for more trophy bid attempts (or, for some of us, more embarrassment).
That evening was the Grand Banquet and bowling awards presentations. After the Invocation by His Grace, Bishop Gregory and singing of God Bless America and Ja Rusyn Byl, the Toastmaster, John Righetti welcomed all in attendance and introduced the Officers and Guests. After very inspiring speeches by the National Jr. ACRY Vice President, Paul Zdinak and National Sr. ACRY President, Amy Coffman, the main address was presented by His Grace, Bishop Gregory. He began with a history lesson of sorts, about our Carpatho-Rusyn heritage, of which he admittedly knew little about, prior to becoming our ruling Bishop. He knows quite a bit now though… probably more than most of us, who have been Carpatho-Rusyn since birth. I know personally, I intend to read up on it a little more in the future. He then made a plea for all of us to notice and encourage young men in our local parishes that may have the light inside them, to pursue a life in the Priesthood.
His Grace interspersed light-hearted humor throughout his speech, poking fun at himself and some of the clergy and laity in attendance, or perhaps a sports team or two that he is not a particular fan of. He was very charismatic and had all of us listening eagerly to what he had to say.
After the dinner and speeches concluded, it was time for the presentation of awards to those bowlers who proved to be more adept at rolling a ball down a 60 foot alley than most of us. It was interesting to note that some of the junior bowlers scored higher than many of the seniors.
The banquet concluded with His Grace, Bishop Gregory leading the Benediction and the assembly singing a very spirited rendition of the ACRY March. Afterwards, musical entertainment was provided by the band Jukebox. Later, after the banquet officially closed, there was an after-hours party for the junior members and some young at heart senior members.
After saying our goodbyes and getting our luggage loaded, we left the hotel and stopped at a nearby restaurant to get a good breakfast before our 5-hour journey home. It was during this breakfast my family and I were recapping some of the events of the previous three days, when my youngest daughter said something that just made it all worth while. In between bites of breakfast, she looked at all of us and said “Remember… If you want to walk on water, focus on Christ”! My wife, older daughter and I all stopped, looked at each other, and then proceeded to high-five her for getting the message. Out of the mouths of babes…
With that we drove home, unpacked, grilled some burgers for an attempt at a proper Memorial Day cookout, and then watched some TV before sending the girls off to bed. I sat down about an hour and a half ago to jot down a few thoughts about our ACRY Bowling Tournament weekend. I guess this might qualify as a little more than a few but hope you enjoyed reliving the weekend through my eyes.
Checking in at the hotel.
Cindy Dzubak, standing in for Mom at the Registration Table.
The Ambridge Welcoming Committee
Senior ACRY Board Meeting
Following the brief Friday Evening Junior and Senior ACRY Board Meetings, the officers enjoyed fellowship with His Grace Bishop Gregory who led an informal discussion session over dessert.
His Grace prepares to throw out the first ball
Philip Breno bowl blindfolded
Harry Coe one of the event organizers talks to one of the participants
Girls dress up for Saturday night's Fifties theme night.
John Travolta and Olivia Newton John
St John the Baptist Orthodox Church of Ambridge, PA
John Righetti greets His Grace Bishop Gregory with the traditional bread and salt before the Divine Liturgy Sunday morning
Very Rev. Fr. Robert Prepelka, Host Pastor, welcomes His Grace, Bishop Gregory to St. John the Baptist Church in Ambridge upon his arrival.
His Grace blesses the assembled faithful upon his entrance into the Nave of the St. John the Baptist Church.
His Grace delivers the homily.
Bishop Gregory Communes Fr. Peter Paproski, the National Senior ACRY Spiritual Advisor.
Fr. Miles Zdinak, National Junior ACRY Spiritual Advisor distributes Holy Communion during Divine Liturgy.
His Grace gives the final blessing in the Divine Liturgy
His Grace speaks to the faithful at the Divine Liturgy Sunday morning
His Grace Bishop Gregory with the Junior Officers
His Grace Bishop Gregory with the Senior Officers
Paul Zdinak Junior Vice President give his address
Amy Coffman Senior President gives her address
His Grace Bishop Gregory gives the main address at the Grand Banquet
His Grace, Bishop Gregory poses with the Bowling Tournament All Events Winners.