Tour Life

by Stefanie Johnson

3 min read

I often get asked the question “what’s life like on tour?” of which my answer is typically a complicated response and sometimes dependent on who may be asking the question. I think back to when “life on tour” was actually a thing – meaning, when the WPBA season was almost the entire year and the ladies whom competed were literally living their lives on the road—that is most certainly not the case for me. I was not a part of that touring generation as the tour folded back in 2003 when I was a sophomore in college still finding my way in the bowling world.

Fast forward 12 years to the year 2015 and the PWBA was revamped with the vision and guidance of many different entities who deeply wanted women’s bowling to have a Professional outlet. And for that, I will be eternally grateful because within those 12 years there always seemed to be a void – an empty void none other than wanting to compete at the highest of levels against the greatest players our sport would ever see. My personal void was temporarily filled with the honor and privilege to compete on our National Team USA ( a topic to be expanded upon at another time ).

Back to the original question of “what’s life like on tour?” – I will say it has definitely changed throughout the years. In fact, when the tour first launched in the spring of 2015, I was a brand new mom to my son Levi who was only 9 months old at the time. You want to talk about hard – balancing being a first time mom with the opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream to go compete on tour was no easy decision. I give all the credit to my village at home who were able to care for my little guy when I was hundreds of miles away bowling. Chris, Mom and so many others to name – I owe you more than you’ll ever realize. To date, my rookie year was the best season I have had. Very proud and humbled to be the first Rookie of the Year for the relaunch of the PWBA. If I am not mistaken, my husband Chris Johnson and I are the only married couple who both hold ROY titles. Pretty cool and no easy task!

I wish I could say it has gotten easier – but truthfully as the years have come and gone, with each brings its own challenges. I am now a mom of 2 (Levi, 9 and Kenzie, 6) so mom guilt sets in a lot. It’s an actual thing and all the mommas reading this know exactly what I am talking about. Even though my kiddos know mommy is travelling away for “work” as we call it, it doesn’t make it easier. There are many things I end up missing including basically their entire summer. Our season falls mostly during that time of year and well, they are at home not in school and mom is away a lot competing. I do get to bring them with me to a few stops of course if I so choose, but truthfully they get quite bored since there isn’t much “down” time to do anything fun – I sacrifice my time and take the last possible flight out and the first possible flight home. Those 3 am wake up calls are no joke!

All in all, I absolutely love what I get to do. I am grateful. I am driven. And I am humbled by the chance to shoe up at any moment possible. The life lesson I have come to learn is that nothing comes easy and with a little bit of sacrifice most certainly anything is possible.