Seeing Things Her Own Way

Editors Note: In the game of bowling, like our life times, there are many challenges that we have to overcome to succeed. For Christine Rebstock of Middletown, CT. It took her 52 years to overcome her biggest challenge. Her biggest challenge was that of transitioning from Chris to Christine. On May 19, 2019, she finally 'came out' as Christine. Her biggest regret though, was holding the Christine inside of her for as long as she has. And so on 12/31/19 the Hormone Replacement Therapy began. Below is her story of how the process evolved and where she is today in her journey.


Pictured Is: Christine Rebstock Of Middletown, CT. 

By Michael 'Chip' Begg - Managing Editor - Director Mesa Metro Association.


Middletown, CT. - - - According to Bowl.Com.

From 1994 to 2008 Christine Rebstock was one of the most respected left-handers in the Central Connecticut bowling circles.

During that time period she had recorded over 32 perfect games, and 18 800 series. Her highest average of 244 was posted following the completion of the 2006-07 season in the S.B. Classic League at Bowlero Hall of Fame Lanes.

"My good run started in 1994 and ended in 2008. Though I had some success in the years after those days. They were never as good as they were from 1994 to 2008. Winning two New Haven County Bowler of the Year titles, 14 NEBA and three Bowler of the Years. And  leading the opening round of the 2004 Masters in Milwaukee. Being part of three World Team Challenge grand finals are some achievements that I’m proud of the most," explained Christine, on being as successful as she was from 1994 to 2008. "Being elected to four different bowling Hall of Fames including being in the 2017 Inaugural NEBA HOF class is special. One NEBA accomplishment will always be special - in ‘97.  I won a March event then Brian Boghosian (1999 Masters Champ) won the next one. Mike Lichstein (‘88 High Roller Champ) won the next event. Later that year we repeated the process to be the only bowlers to win two titles in the same year and do it in the same order twice. I will add that Brian & Mike are two of the best friends anyone can have."

While she was happy with what she had accomplished on the lanes during those 14 years, she knew there was something that was missing in her lifestyle that would complement her bowling ability.

But she could not put a finger on it right away.

Until she was watching an episode of the Phil Donahue talk show, and that is when she realized what was missing in her lifestyle. 

"I have been Chris for all my life going back as far I can remember as a little kid. I can remember being about 12 or 13 (1979 or ‘80) watching a Phil Donahue show about female impersonators or transvestites ( I wasn’t sure about the nomenclature used back then) and being in awe of the girls and it hit me that I wanted to be like them," she said, of how the transition from Chris to Christine, began to take place. "My senior year of high school during the week of the big Thanksgiving Day football game, the girls had a powder puff game and they needed boys to be the cheerleaders. So I joined, and we had to learn the cheers with the Pom poms, etc. We decided as a group not to go all out and be girly for the day of the game and I regretted that."

While she regretted that particular decision not to go all out and be girly for the powder puff football game. She knew there were bigger obstacles ahead of her that would be a lot tougher to ponder. Like telling her parents, wife, and other family members of what was about to happen. And dealing with the adversity that follows, after announcing she was 'coming out' and transitioning from Chris to Christine.

 "I was nervous to tell anyone about the Christine in me back then and gender dysphoria was unknown, so I hid it from the world for many, many, many years. In 2019 at 52 years, I could no longer hold Christine inside of me and she wanted out. So, in May of ‘19 I told my spouse and things didn’t go that well. It’s understandable as I hit her with a bombshell," she said, of when Chris finally became Christine. "40% of the Transgender community attempt suicide and in June of ‘19 I was one of them as I attempted to let the car run with the garage closed when I was home alone. About a month later we agreed, and I went out as Christine for the first time." 

Now that she had gotten through her rough patches OK, and announced that she was coming out as Christine, there was one thing she wishes she would have done a lot sooner rather than later. She had begun her Hormone Replacement Therapy on 12/31/19 and has not looked back.

"I had told a couple of family members then and things went ok. I realize now transitioning was something I should’ve done years ago and I’m still a work in progress," Christine said, of holding back as long as she did. "I started Hormone Replacement Therapy on 12/31/19 and haven’t looked back. I have no health issues and so far, I’m happy. Well, I’m impatient about some of the changes happening."

She says the support she has been getting from friends is what has helped her stay positive through this venture. When she has to deal with the negatives, all she has to do is look at a social media post from November of 2020.

"My friends have been great! I only told a few during my early days and they have been very supportive. "When negatives happen, I reread my coming out publicly post from Nov. of ‘20 and see the support I received and feel better," she says, of staying positive through the transition. "For people living with gender dysphoria please don’t let be inside of you, admit to yourself and tell a spouse and family member. Don’t let years go by hiding your true self!!" 

Her biggest moment bowling wise, was being part of the 1986 Erie Community College team that won the National Championship. 

"It was a great experience in Buffalo bowling for Erie Community College. Our team that year of Mike Hermanski, Charlie DeZolt, Russ Nalley, Chuck Husted, former PBA Rookie of the Year Brad Kiszewski & myself under the guidance our coach the late Kerm Helmer- a USBC Hall of Famer. Believed in a “all for one and one for all” mindset," said Christine, of her days at ECC. "Our team used a big comeback to win the sectional title and to advance to the National Championship in Houston. We bowled a 233 final baker game to get the top seed in the stepladder. And we ran West Texas St. to win the National Championship. It’s hard to believe that was 35 years ago this month."

           In 2003, she became the only amateur bowler to compete on all six lanes in the Mohegan Sun Arena during the                         Cambridge Credit Tournament. Holding tournaments in arena settings back then, was something that the PBA was                   experimenting with. Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh also hosted the finals of a PBA Tour stop a few years later in             its four-lane student union.


          "That was a cool experience bowling at Mohegan Sun Arena. Pat Healey won the TOC that day and right after that                    they oiled the lanes, and we went at it. It was a two out of three finals format, and I bowled a young Bill O’Neil                           before his PBA stardom. I won game one and needed a hit in the box to win game two,  but lane 6 broke down. (It wa                was a 6-lane set up) and 25 minutes later the tournament director told me to roll the 10th frame on lane 5 and I                          smashed the pocket for a flush 10 pin (I’m left-handed). With the other semifinal being a two-game sweep, we moved to            lanes 1-2 for game three and squeaked out a close win," said Christine, of bowling in an arena setting. "I got crushed in             a sweep in the tv pair lanes 3-4, so I was the only amateur to bowl on all 6 lanes in the arena. Looking back on it & it                was on the heels of me making the cut at the PBA Cambridge Credit Classic the week before at the then Bradley Bowl.            It was a good two weeks of bowling at a world class level."

          Her trips to the Open Championships have not been as good to her as she would like them to be. Her career average                for nine games again according to Bowl.Com is 179.

          "My ABC/ Nationals days are quite poor which is a big regret, but 2000 & ‘01 are the only times I had over 1,900," she              said, of her appearances. "Singles in ‘01 I split in 7th frame of game three when if I took the game to the house, I                      would’ve won singles."

          While she may not have had the success at Nationals as she would like to. She believes there is only one thing that can            cure what has happened on the lanes in the past.                

          "I want to win again as Christine, i would be thrilled to win a NEBA or Grand Masters again as my true self. I always                  thought I could win again, but the sad reality nowadays, is I’m struggling to make a cut," said Christine, of her future                  bowling goals. "I’ll keep working at it and hope my efforts get rewarded sooner or later."

Another obstacle that Christine had to deal with, was convincing the USBC to allow her to switch her gender from a male to a female. It took her a long time for her to get this approved, with lots of back-and-forth communication between Arlington and Middletown. But you can understand how much the stress level went up and down when finally she learned the gender switch was granted.

"Someone I knew forwarded me a copy of the USBC policy for change of gender identity(the policy mirrors the International Olympic Committee’s policy on trans feminine athletes). I goofed reading the rules.(I thought the 12-month time frame was based of start of HRT) and my request to change my identity to female in Dec was turned down," said Christine, on her first attempt at getting her gender changed through the USBC. "As the 12-month time is based on first blood test of testosterone levels under 288 ng/dl. My eligibility date was on March 25 so I re-filed my petition, and my doctor sent a letter and on March 26 my petition to change my identity to female was granted by the USBC. Trans feminine athletes cannot simply see the doctor and get diagnosed with gender dysphoria and head out to the playing field. We have to follow the 12 months of having testosterone levels under 288 ng/dl."

Since coming out as Christine in May of 2019, she has gotten support from sources that have even surprised her. That now also includes  On May 3, 2021 she receieved a letter from Middletown Mayor Benjamin D. Florsheim. In which he appointed her to the LGBTQIA Commission.

"I hope I can make a positive contribution to the community," she said, of her appointment. "I will give it my all to do a great job though. It was a nice surprise to hear to that I got appointed to the commission. I have been sworn in at City Hall since May 3."     

Bowlers in the Conneticut and Massachusetts areas have been fortunate to have so many quality tournaments within a few hours' drive of Middletown. Sadly, many of the tournaments that Christine liked to bowl in, no longer exist. Bayside Bowl in Portland, Me. Has been one of the more popular bowling centers in the New England area in recent years. Having played host to various PBA events, and NEBA tournaments.

Bowlers in the Conneticut and Massachusetts areas are also fans of other sports, too. The Boston: Bruins, Celtics, and Red Sox, as well as the New England Patriots. Are four historic franchises that call this area home.

However, she is a fan of the Hartford Whalers of the NHL. Now the Carolina Hurricanes for the past 24 years. The New York Mets, and the Miami Dolphins.

National Bowling News - May 19, 2021