Melissa Amster

“I have to bowl in the morning” is probably the dorkiest thing I could have said while standing outside a Lincoln Park bar at 2 a.m. on a weekend. It was this somewhat random utterance that changed my entire life….for the better.

A passion for bowling has been passed down through the generations of my family. Both my grandfather and father bowled, and that passion was inevitably passed down to me. So, it wasn’t odd for me when a guy I was dating in 2000 asked me to join a breakfast bowling league with him. My dad was thrilled and we would practice together. The league was short-lived and didn’t even go an entire season. During the short season, the guy and I decided we were better off as friends.

Although I was done dating for the time being, I wasn’t done bowling. In the fall, I decided to get a group of girlfriends together and bowl in a Sunday night pizza. Anytime one of us was unavailable to bowl at our designated time, we had to pre-bowl, which meant going at a different time prior to when our league met. When Super Bowl Sunday rolled around in 2002, I was invited to a party at a close friend’s apartment. Two friends on my team had other plans, but I invited the other friend to join me at the party. We decided to meet that Sunday morning to pre-bowl.

Around this same time, I had met some guys through my best friend and the concept of “Jewish Geography.” One of the guys lived in New Jersey (I call him NJ boy), but was in town for the weekend, so we decided to go out for dinner and get drinks afterward in Lincoln Park. NJ boy invited one of his friends to join us, as well. His friend seemed nice enough and we exchanged casual “hellos.” I didn’t think much else of it.

After we had left the bar, the guys decided they wanted to go back to the hotel where NJ boy was staying and hang out at the pool. And that’s when I delivered the aforementioned dorky line: “I have to bowl in the morning.” NJ boy’s friend laughed at me. I told him I knew that I sounded lame, but then he said something that had the power to change my life forever…. “I have a friend who is single, Jewish, lives in the suburbs, and LIKES TO BOWL.” Even though NJ boy’s friend was slightly inebriated, I gave him my number to pass along with doubts that he’d even do it. I did say that it could be besherte (Yiddish for "meant to be") though. However, when we got back to the hotel, he called his friend…at 3 a.m.! Thankfully, he didn’t wake the guy up.

The next morning, I bowled as planned, and then came home and took a long nap. I woke to a friendly voice message from NJ boy’s friend’s friend. Naturally, he had invited me to go bowling that night. I called back and left a message explaining why I wasn’t able to join him. The next night, we talked for three hours on the phone. We also e-mailed a lot between calls. We found out that we lived a close distance from each other.

That Wednesday, he asked me to meet him at Barnes and Noble for hot chocolate. (Since we both don't like coffee.) As soon as we started talking, I just knew we had a future together. I had never felt so comfortable with anyone like I did with him. About a week later, we had our first real date….bowling, of course. Within weeks, we became inseparable. He proposed to me on a cruise the following spring. We were married a year later. Fifteen years since that fateful night and we’re still crazy in love and make each other laugh all the time.

When NJ boy’s friend connected us, he had no idea what I was looking for in a guy. Even so, he found me a perfect match, right down to our similar sense of humor. He even told my (now) husband that I said “besherte” a lot, as he heard him say it often, as well.

May this be a lesson that it doesn’t hurt to say what’s on your mind, even if it sounds completely silly, absurd, dorky, etc. For all you know, you may end up finding your besherte as a result!