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by Ann Clanton, contributing writer
Hoping to attract customers, or perhaps the next great bowler, the sign on the door of the Walnut Hill Bowl reads, Yes We’re Open! The Woonsocket based Walnut Hill Bowl is, after all, the training center for professional bowler and three-time Olympic Gold Medalist Gazmine ‘GG’ Mason.
Walnut Hill was at one time part of the nationally recognized Brunswick Bowling franchise. Though there’s been a decline of interest in Bowling starting in the 1990’s, Gazmine’s presence in the women’s professional league has generated a resurgence in bowling in the Ocean State.
“We have confidence that the sport (bowling) can still thrive and maintain its audience,” says Walnut Hill’s general manager, Nicholas Smith.
The only African American in the Professional Women’s Bowling Association, Gazmine Mason is on a mission. Gazmine is a self-proclaimed ambassador for professional bowling.
Upon graduation from the University of Nebraska, Jazmine came to the realization that respect and visibility were both needed for the success of the sport that she loves. Her goal is for Bowling to become a traditional, competitive sport. She does advocate for non-traditional sports, too, because “they don’t get the recognition they deserve”. Under the banner of her business, “Got Game, LLC” Gazmine includes inspirational speaking and selling of some unique merchandise, as part of promoting her brand and her sport.
“She is hungry for equal opportunity for Bowling like the other sports,” says Danielle Daley-Mason, Creative Director, and the pro-bowler’s mother.
Beyond the professional bowling titles, and Olympic medals, Gazmine’s message to high school and college students is to be their best self. My message is not necessarily about being a professional bowler. For Gazmine, her best self comes from those who inspire her. “My parents and my college coach, Kim Terrell-Kearney (inspired me)”, says Gazmine. The PWBA Coach and Hall of Fame bowler was Gazmine’s coach when she received her Gold Medal. Gazmine was the first African American, man or woman, to win Singles and All-Events Gold medals for Team USA.
April through September is competition season for the Cranston, Rhode Island resident. Following appearances this year at the Women’s Professional Golfers Association (WPGA) sanctioned events in Hartford, Connecticut, and Jupiter, Florida, Gazmine’s season came to a halt as COVID-19 took over. But she was quick to re-focus, pivoting to promoting her entrepreneurial business “GOT GAME” for now.
GOT GAME markets merchandise with some proceeds going towards the Black Lives Matter cause and Rhode Island organizations focused on social justice issues.
Learn more about Gazmine at: https://www.gazminemason.com/
You can find her merchandise at https://www.gotgame10.com/ – including her own branded face mask – with #BGCB2 Rona Mask. (Black Girls Can Bowl Too).
#bgcb2💕Posted by Black Girls Can Bowl 2 on Thursday, July 2, 2020
Ann-Allison Clanton was born and raised in Providence, Rhode Island. As principle of Ann Clanton Communications, Ann has more than two decades of experience as a communications and public affairs consultant. She has written features and profiles articles for the Providence American Newspaper and Ethnic Online Magazine.
Among the notable persons interviewed include former U. S. Ambassador Andrew Young, Dr. Cornell West, former Florida Congressman Allen West (R-FL) and Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey Circus first African American Ringmaster, Johnathan Lee Iverson.
Ann is the founder of the Rhode Island Black Film Festival and a founding member of the Southern New England Association of Black Journalists.