Life is never boring for the chef-pilot-coach
By BRENDA MARSHALL 2003
What do the job titles executive chef, pilot and USA Bowling Silver Level certified coach have in common?
All are occupations held at one time or another by Tulsa bowling standout Christina Borzelleca.
Borzelleca, who was born and raised in Norristown, Pa., took a circuitous and adventurous route prior to arriving in Tulsa three years ago.
"After high school, she attended Stockton State College majoring in accounting. From there she attended The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park New York and graduated with high honors. "From there I went to Atlantic City where I was the Executive Sous Chef at Caesars Palace for six years. She opened her own restaurant while working for Caesars Palace. Later I was a food service director for the Marriott Hotel Corporation in the health care division."
Always wanting to live out west Borzelleca moved to Colorado where she opened up 2 family restaurants. She proceeded to earn a pilot's license with more than 400 hours of flying time. She is also an International 99 Women's pilot with additional training in Mountain flying. "Flying is something I always wanted to do," she said. "After only 10 hours in the air, I bought my own plane."
The next career move took Borzelleca to Winnemucca, Nev., where she married Ben Morrow, a gold mining engineer, took a 1 year sabbatical went to work for the Red Lion Inn and Casinos as marketing director. On a return trip from Boise, Idaho, to Winnemucca, she and Ben who had been flying at 10,000 feet crash-landed. The airplane was destroyed, but Borzelleca and Ben walked away with only a few bumps, scrapes and bruises thanks to her experience.
Upon learning from the FAA that a mechanic had left a part off of her airplane - which was ruled the cause of her crash Borzelleca changed directions again.
"I decided at that point to come to Tulsa to Spartan College of Aeronautics so I could learn how to spot problems and fix my own airplanes myself," she said. "I got my A&P (airplane and power-plant technicians degree) from Spartan. It was a tough way to go, but I graduated with highest honors - straight A's."
While in Tulsa she got bit by the bowling bug and the rest is history. Borzelleca can be found these days doing what she loves helping other bowlers at Riverlanes (Andy B's). "Actually, I came on board last June 2000 to coach," said the bronze' level instructor who received her certification at Wichita State University last July. I spend probably 80 percent of my day on the lanes either through bowling instructions or private instructions or teaching 100 students at Oral Roberts University students a 14 week credit course.
She is also sponsored by Ebonite International Bowling Ball Company.
"If I see an open bowler who is struggling, I try to help them knock down a few more pins rather than drop it into the gutter every .time they roll the ball.
Borzelleca uses the latest in digital video analysis and computer technology in addition to one-on-one lane instruction.
“Most of my students, once they take the first lesson, end up taking about four or five because they really want to get things right; It is kind of tough to cover everything in one lesson.” she said.
Borzelleca said she averages 40 private lessons a month. “I really think the satisfaction that I get out of it is the fact that I can help people improve their game of bowling.” She said, “When I see the light bulb come on and they get it, it just really makes my day. It is just a great, great feeling.” “I can’t think of a better job. I am doing something I love to do. If I wanted to, I could fall back on a lot of different things.:
The success of the program has earned Borzelleca a trip to Las Vegas in August where she expects to earn her USA Bowling Silver Level Coaching Status. Her goal is to become a gold level coach.
“Steve Inasy (Riverlanes general manager) is so behind me with this program, it is absolutely unbelievable,” She said, “If is wasn’t for Steve’s foresight to see that this is such a good thing, I wouldn’t be here today doing this. All of the staff and been very supportive and accommodating.”
Borzelleca’s lessons are begging to take her all over the state as word of her success has increased. She is even working on getting her pilot’s license recertified.
“Last week was the first time I have flown with only an instructor since the crash,” said Borzelleca, who is looking to buy another airplane. “I am not afraid to fly. I think I could get around Oklahoma pretty easily.”
I am still here at Andy B's formerly Riverlanes.
Sharon Mooney, the General Manager is doing a great job surrounded by her excellent staff.
My husband Ben passed away in 2005.
I am coaching in 2 states now, Oklahoma & Colorado.
I am still under contract with Ebonite International.
Business at the Bowl is going extremely well.
I am the conference coordinator for high school bowling.
I run a league for the bowl called Learn to Bowl Better.
I work with numerous special needs children.
I LOVE my job and have a passion for what I do.