7214 Airline Drive
Houston, TX 77076-2436
“The next number is B14. Is there a winner? B14?” James yells from the middle of the room. Everyone rushes to look through their cards for the number all hoping no one else screams “bingo” before them. Just as the room begins to calm down, a lady stands and screams “BINGO!!!” with excitement. The whole room tears up their cards to start a new game. This here is a night like any other night at Dance Town Bingo a place to have fun located on 7214Airline Drive near Little York. You might think that bingo is something that old folks do and that it’s boring for someone my age, but bingo is a game for all ages, young or old to play.
Dance Town Bingo is one of my favorite places here in Houston. It’s a small place where many people gather every night to play bingo with family and friends. Many come here nightly, and some at least once a week to get away from everything and have fun. Inside Dance Town Bingo people sit down at brown long cafeteria tables that are in rows up and down from each side of the room. There are lines at the entrance of the room everyone buys their books/cards. Each book has twelve small bingo cards and four pages for the different games that are going to be played during each session. Bingo experts will play up to thirty cards at a time. I asked a 32 year old lady named Sofia how she can play so many cards without missing a number.
“I have played bingo for years and it took me a lot of time and practice so that I could get good at bingo, I enjoy coming here every night to play bingo and just have fun like everyone in this room.” I noticed that everyone in the room had their own techniques some would mark the shapes that are going to be played with a yellow marker so they won’t accidently mark the wrong numbers and then mark it with the darker color when the numbers were being called.
In this room you see the large boards each side of the room, and small television screens on the wall, so that when the numbers are being called everyone can see. James stands in the middle of the room where he picks small balls out of the screen bal like they are bouncing balls. You can see the numbers being tossed and turned so that the same numbers won’t be repeated as the previous game. He takes out a ball and in a loud, very clear voice he says, “The next number is N42, N42.” He continues to shout out the numbers until someone screams bingo. Each card has small numbers at the bottom and when they win they call out the numbers and then James puts them in the computer and he shows everyone the card and how they won.
Once in a while there will be more than one winner and he shows us each card some people may not like winning with other people because then they have to share the prize. The biggest amount of money you can win is $750, but if three people win then they have to divide that between each of them. I often see a girl my age sitting in front of me, playing bingo. She wore some blue jeans, a bright pink neon shirt, some black converse, and glasses. She with her sister, I see her here almost every time I come. She’s always texting and playing at the same time, and she gets upset whenever someone screams bingo before her. She gets so into the game sometimes that no one can stop her. I ask her why she likes coming to play she says her sister started bringing her, every day.
My mom’s friend Juanita comes every night I tell my mom that she is addicted to the game because even when she doesn’t have money she’ll go and play. She likes to go on Mondays because the cards are one dollar and she buys two or three. She always says “today is going to be my lucky day” but she never wins. I think it’s crazy to come if you never win, but some people want to win so bad. They keep coming to see if maybe their luck will change. I think you should just have fun, play the game, and maybe you will win.
Bingo isn’t just a game it’s something that anyone can do from small children to our grandparents. In the article Generations are United by Call of the Game, Lisa Gray presents a detailed story and how a young group of kids, as she calls them, plays bingo and get really into the game. They get excited when they’re about to win, “The crowd erupted: “WOOOOAAAA!” This was their new tradition, response to their favorite number.”(Ph. 6) This shows what kind of excitement that the game brings to them as well as many others.
In different cultures, there are other ways to play bingo, and other names. Hispanics have something they call “Loteria.” It is our Mexican bingo and is something that many Hispanic families have played at least once in their life. You could play just for fun or you could play with money if you want something more exciting. Everyone gets their cards and they pay 50 cents or a dollar depending on how much they want to play for. The way you win is by making a line all the way across, up and down, or diagonal. Unlike bingo, which has bingo at the top and lines with numbers loteria has lines with pictures. Someone calls out the cards and says the name of the picture on the card for example el valiente (the brave one) or el alacran (the scorpion). Then everyone looks through their card and when they win they will scream “bingo” or “buenas”. This indicates that they have won and as reward they win all the money that the people put in for their cards.
At first the idea of bingo was boring to me I didn’t think I was going to like it because it seemed like something, for older folks would be doing and it would be boring for someone my age. Once I started getting more into the game, I enjoyed it more and actually started to like it. I was amazed at the large amount of people that gathered up every night just to play. It’s funny how once I started to get into the game, I would get mad when someone would stand up and scream “BINGO!!!!” Everyone would just get their cards and crumble them up and a new game would start. There’s is usually two sessions and between each game everyone can finally get up and go use the restroom and get something to eat. They would then use this time to buy more cards and start getting their cards ready for the next game. The good thing about bingo is that you have many chances to win and play.
In my family every week is the same we all gather up Friday nights to go play bingo at Dance Town Bingo. I enjoy spending time with my family because we don’t have many times like this where were all together having fun. Everyone’s always busy and never home so it’s important to us to have at least one day of the week where we could be together as a family. It’s impossible to see each other during the week because everyone’s always busy running around here and there to going to working or school. We try to be together as much as we can but it’s never the whole family, but one thing is for sure we never miss bingo night that’s something everyone in my family enjoys and we go just for fun. We don’t really win like other people there has only been on time my mom won $350. You don’t know when you’ll win but if you do you’re the lucky one.
I have many good memories at Dance Town Bingo because I could be with my family and spend time with them that I can’t always have. I remember when I was younger and we used to be together more. I miss those days where we could just sit down and talk about our day and how everyone was doing. This is something we now do once a week when we go play bingo with the family. I remember all the good times we’ve had here and the many times that I enjoyed playing. It also reminds me of how we used to play loteria when I was younger this was a way to have fun with the family and spend time together. My brother Jose was younger like 4 or 5 during this time and didn’t know how to play very well but he would still try to play. I used to just let him win so he wouldn’t feel bad, but know that his older I compete with him to see who wins or who fills up their card the most. I like it when we just talk about everything were doing and have those fun nights where everyone is laughing and having fun.
It’s a good idea to have somewhere you can go and have fun with the whole family. For my family this is important because we could just go here and have fun and talk to each other about our week and what’s going on. This is the only time that I get to spend with everyone because everyone’s always busy and never home. Bingo is a fun and is a good activity that everyone should try at least once and I encourage everyone to try it. Don’t think it’s boring just have fun and play. There are many bingo places everywhere you just have to put your time and effort to go and don’t be surprised when u see people your age playing bingo.
Dance Town Memories
Ana Ramirez is a second year student at the University Houston Downtown, who is planning to major as a teacher. Ana is a very freindly person that loves helping others in whatever she can. She loves kids and gets along great with people. She is currently a part time student at the University of Houston Downtown and a full time worker at Namco.
In my experience, Ana has proven herself to be an honest, hard-working young woman. she is generous and kind. Even as a teenager, she was always thinking of others. Several times, I have witness her volunteer to help others in her community.
At all times I have found her to be humble, dependable, and a nice going person . She strives always for the best and takes a high interes in education. Ana plans to get a degree and pursue her career as a teacher.