By Jeff Bleiler / mlive.com / April 18, 2016
JACKSON – When Dave Rodriguez walked into the hotel parking lot in the early morning hours of March 5, his heart sank at what he discovered.
A day after the team finished runner-up in the state, a trailer holding the bulk of the Jackson High School girls bowling team’s equipment was broken into and thousands of dollars worth of bowling balls, bags, shoes and other equipment disappeared.
Just over a month later, Rodriguez’s heart is in a much warmer place after individuals and businesses rallied to help replace the stolen equipment with the program out just $575 for drilling costs.
“It’s awesome to know there are such great people and companies out in this world that are willing to reach out and help in such time of need,” said Rodriguez, coach of the Vikings. “This was something that no
one ever anticipated happening.”
Fourteen bowling balls, three three-ball rolling bags, two two-ball bags and two two-ball tote bags, along with their contents – shoes and various bowling supplies among them – were taken from the trailer while it was parked in the lot at the Comfort Inn in Plymouth. The team was staying there while competing in the Division 2 state tournament March 4-5.
The trailer was locked, but the lock had been compromised and all its contents but a three-ball roller and a three-ball bag toward the back of the trailer were taken. The Plymouth Township police were contacted, but an officer Sunday said no new information was available on the case.
No matter. A story published on MLive detailing what happened that day drew swift and generous response.
Rodriguez said Ace Mitchell Bowlers Mart replaced all 14 bowling balls and the shoes that were taken; KR Strike Force replaced the three-ball rolling bags; Commando Lock Co. is sending Rodriguez a new lock for the trailer; and other companies and individuals have also offered help or money, including bowlingball.com, Mary Turk from Western, a Munith resident who calls himself “the modern day Fred Sanford,” and Jerry Slade with the the Slade Group.
Andy Schnebelt and Robb Collier at Andy’s Pro Shop drilled all the new equipment for $575. Bowlers Journal has interviewed Rodriguez and plans to run a story in an upcoming monthly issue.
“So we’ll probably get that ($575) back,” Rodriguez said. “To a program that gets nothing from the school, that’s a lot. We fundraise from ground zero. We’re not like basketball and we’re not like football. We really rely on fundraising.”
Rodriguez said he appreciated the exposure the MLive story provided as well as one that aired on WLNS-TV 6 in Lansing.
“I just couldn’t imagine those people would step up,” Rodriguez said. “Those folks that have stepped up, those are the people who make world go round. Always hear about the bad and the worst. They stepped up and saved us.”
To read the original story, please visit: http://highschoolsports.mlive.com/news/article/3593495105594339512/month-after-bowling-equipment-stolen-high-school-team-grateful-for-those-who-donated-to-replace-it/#incart_river_index
Thank you to Jeff Bleiler for his permission to use this article.