Bowler doubles as mom

Emily Heintz balances family, sports, studies

[From the Legacy newspaper, March 22, 2016]

Photo by Kelby Lorenz// Emily Heintz
Emily Heintz was dressed in black sweatpants with a coral and gray sweater. Her curly brown hair flipped forward as she looked down at her daughter Kaylee Jones while they walked through Spellmann Center.
Kaylee clung to Heintz’s hand, a star glittering on her purple T-shirt. Seeing the stairs leading to the fourth floor, Kaylee was adamant that they go “see what’s upstairs”.

I n high school, Heintz never thought that her life would be what it is now. During that time, she found a passion for design in her interest in computers.

“Originally I wanted to get into IT, and my senior year I took ‘blow off’ classes to get through the year,” Heintz said. “I had been scrapbooking for a little bit at the time. I took the [design classes] and I got really into them because I was scrapbooking on the computer, essentially.”

Heintz did not originally plan to pursue a degree in design until she came to Lindenwood. When she came to campus in December of 2011, Heintz met interactive media and web design chair David Wang, who pushed her in the direction of IMWD.

In addition to her interest in design, Heintz was interested in athletics. At Lindenwood, Heintz shows this by pursuing her lifelong passion for bowling.

Heintz started her bowling career at the age of 3, due to her family’s interest in it. Yet, bowling quickly became more of an afterthought to other interests, volleyball and dance.

Heintz kept her childhood busy going from dance practice to volleyball to bowling all the way through middle school.

“I kind of faded away from bowling in middle school, and then I started having a lot of knee issues,” Heintz said. “It was around ninth grade that I went to a new doctor, and they found a bone tumor in my knee.”

The news shocked her, and the tumor forced her to abandon her interest in dance. To fill the time, Heintz focused on her bowling.

“My junior or senior year, I realized I wouldn’t be able to go to college for volleyball anymore,” Heintz said. “I really buckled down with bowling and wanted to find colleges with a good bowling program.”

Heintz’s original plan was to attend McKendree University.

Two weeks before her sign date, Heintz found out more life-changing news.

“About a week or two before my sign date, I found out I was pregnant,” Heintz said. “I had to decline the offer to go there, and the only way I could go to college would be to go to Lindenwood.”

Photo by Kelby Lorenz// Heintz with her daughter Kaylee in the Spellmann Center at Lindenwood University.

Becoming a single mother while attending college was a challenge that Heintz was determined to face.

Balancing the life of design, bowling and motherhood came down to two things: conviction and impeccable time management.

“I would try to make my classes start around 9 or 10,” Heintz said. “Even if it’s for an hour, at least I see her everyday.”

The struggle to balance it all left Heintz exhausted at first.

Her design classes caused her to stay late at school due to expensive design programs.

Yet, through it all, the love for her daughter pushes her through. With a simple look, the love that they share is unique and insightful.

During her senior year, one obstacle came and pushed Heintz even further.

In October of 2015, Heintz sprained her ankle. She fought through the pain, and pushed it off.

“It’s not really a priority,” Heintz said. “I got an ankle brace, and I worked through the pain.”

Though she continued to fight through, the damage became worse.

During a work shift last January, Heintz felt a pain shoot through her leg, almost knocking her down.

“I went to the doctor, to find out that I had a stress fracture in my leg, because I never really let my ankle heal,” Heintz said.

The reality of this hit Heintz hard, with the realization that her bowling career had come to a close.

“There were seven of us fighting for the last three spots in our sectional and nationals team, and because of my injury, I lost my fighting chance at it,” Heintz said.

Though devastated, Heintz continued to endure.

She fought hard to get where she is today, and she plans to continue fighting for her family and her future.

“I don’t really have the option to stop working.”
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