The People Who Make Bowling So Much Fun


January 13, 1991|By Donald G. Vitek

As a bowling columnist, people often ask me what is so special aboutbowling. Fair question.

But maybe excerpts from a letter I recently received from a local bowler can answer that question better than I can.

The letter was written by Lil Ryan. She and her husband, Charlie Ryan, live in Edgewood, their home for the past 30 years.

They bowl in the Golden Agers league on Mondays, the Golden Swingers league on Friday, the Pro-Am league on Wednesdays and the TGIF on Fridays.

Writes Lil: "I am 67 years old and my husband is 70. We bowl in two senior citizen leagues that Fair Lanes Edgewood offers. A Monday league at 10 a.m. has four member teams and will be sanctioned for the first time this fall (1990). A Friday league at 10:30 a.m. with three on a team features red pins so we can earn free games. Both leagues are $4.05 a week. There is no prize fund, but Fair Lanes serves us freecoffee and doughnuts on the last Monday and Friday of the month and gives us two free games for our birthday."

"I realize this doesn'tqualify as an 'event,' but I would appreciate it if you could mention these leagues in your column. It is inexpensive fun for any senior 55 years of age or older."

Lil carries a 132 average with a high game of 214; Charlie has a high game of 266; a high series of 607 and is currently averaging 170 with his Hammer bowling ball. He's a retired mail carrier. The Ryans have been bowling for about 10 years and as you can see from their enthusiasm, they'll keep right on bowling.

In a conversation with Lil and Charlie, they mentioned several times the folks at Fair Lanes Edgewood who operate the bowling center -- manager Peggy Huffman and relief manager Sue Bailey.

No wonder theRyans mentioned them so often. These ladies are experienced, energetic and cheerful, and they had no trouble answering that question I get so often: What's so special about bowling?

"Bowling is fun, it's family oriented, but it's always a challenge," Bailey said. "You must keep adjusting to the changing conditions and I like that."

Bailey, who is a pretty fair bowler, has been associated with the center since the day, 17 years ago, that it opened.

Sue has a 150 average, with a 243 game and a 544 a set for her highs; she uses a 13-pound Gyro II bowling ball and in 1974, with Betty Russell, won the doubles event in the Harford County Women's Tournament. She bowls in the Harford Major Mixed at Fair Lanes Edgewood and makes her home in Abingdon. She is a merchandise processor for Lord & Taylor's distributioncenter in Abingdon when she's not in the bowling center.

Hoffman has been manager of the 32-lane bowling center for the past five years and has been associated with the center for 11 years.

Due to a circulation problem, Peggy has to give up serious competitive bowling and limits herself to two leagues, the Monday Atlantic City league and the Friday night league, both at Edgewood, of course.

As you would expect from someone with Huffman's background in bowling, she has strong views about the sport.

"Bowling for the beginner should be fun," Hoffman says. "As they progress more competitive leagues are available. But I feel that too many beginners are rushed into leagues that are too strong for them. And too many non-bowlers think that theyhave to be great bowlers to join a league. Nothing, of course, couldbe further from the truth. Competition is available at every level of skill, for all ages."

"Look at Lil Ryan. She didn't want to joina league at first, now she bowls in four leagues," Hoffman recalls.

"And Lil wants everyone, especially the senior citizens, to join aleague. She's not affiliated with the center but when she sees a senior she starts talking bowling to them. She's just terrific for bowling."

Maybe now you can understand just what is so special about bowling. To people involved with it, bowling is a sport that anyone canenjoy. It's that simple.

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