Welcome. You know that I enjoy, well, maybe addicted to, bowling if you follow my blog. I bowl multiple times a week and have bowled in competitions in several states and foreign countries. I was a member of the Professional Bowlers Association for a time and won money in several regional tournaments. (No, I never won an event.)
Have you wondered how it all started? How did it grow and persevere over the years?
The story became one afternoon in my freshman year (ninth grade) at Spaulding Institute, a Catholic high school in Peoria, Illinois. Those who know me will realize I am speaking of 1961.
The school had an afterschool activity called bowling, ten-pin bowling. So I joined some classmates at a local bowling alley, where I learned the game’s rules and bowled some games. Unfortunately, I have no recollection of my scores for those games.
I was sidelined by a dislocated shoulder while playing flag football in the P. E. (physical education) class a few days later. I was on the offensive line (all 100 lbs. of me) against a 200 lb, or more, offensive lineman. He hit me, and my shoulder said “ouch” in a shrill voice.
I didn’t bowl again until taking a date to a bowling alley in 1969. As I sit here, I can’t remember how well I did or who she was. Time dims some memories but not others.
Now it was 1971. I am stationed in Hawaii, and my brother’s ship is in port. Cletus, also in the Navy, would be here for several months. He and a friend convince me to bowl in a league with them at a Pearl City bowling alley. The Navy base started an intramural league about the same time, and I joined the Electronics Maintenance team.
Then, I was bowling at least twice a week, often three times. I went the whole hog with having a bowling ball drilled to fit my grip, shoes, and a bag. I don’t remember much about my average in those leagues, but it was in the intramural league that I had my first 600 series. I was hooked on the game now.
The Navy moved me to Corpus Christi, Texas, to attend Del Mar College. I mainly had morning classes which allowed me to spend afternoons and evenings at Gulf Bowl. Soon, I bugged them so often that they hired me to work the customer counter. Besides working there, I bowled in leagues almost every night and weekend. Sometimes, I competed in both the 6 pm and 9 pm shifts. I rarely got home before midnight seven days a week the first year I was there. Saturdays and Sundays had me working or practicing.
Good coaching was another advantage to working at Gulf Bowl. They sent me to a coaching class before I could coach some local high school bowlers. Also, Heather, a very knowledgeable coach, took me under her wing. I improved significantly under her tutelage, having my first 700 series and several high scores. Unfortunately, the Navy saw fit to move me to Iceland before I had a 300.
My days of bowling twice a night and every weekend day changed on one Saturday night. I was working a lights-out promotion when two attractive young ladies came to the counter. After taking their money, I sent them to their lane. I had free time after the shift started and found myself near them. Being a bit forward, I chatted with who I thought the prettiest and, finally, asked her for a date. To make a story short, Lori and I began a whirlwind romance that found us at the altar just over six months later.
Dates with Lori battled with my bowling. Compromise, she joined me in a couple of leagues—becoming my life-mate and bowling partner. We have bowled together in Corpus Christi, Iceland, Italy, Florida, Panama, and Maryland over the past 48 plus years. And we both bowled in tournaments in Germany, but not together.
Lori was a novice bowler when she and I began bowling together. However, she improved quickly and won multiple “I beat my husband” awards when we were in Iceland. I have had to work diligently at my game to stay ahead of her, but even today, she gets a laugh when she outscores me.
Now you know the details of my bowling life until I met my wife, and the details of my game time since are less detailed—mainly from the paired view. Perhaps, one day, I will get into more details of the years since 1974.
Keep in your mind that this is how it started. But, this is not a complete story. I haven’t my last game yet. Nor has Lori. Although age and sore joints challenge us today, we still manage six to nine games weekly.
I write to share a part of my life with you. I encourage you to share yours with me via the comment form.