Memorial Day is the first big summer holiday, and it's not unusual for a group of friends to get together and take a trip.
Some of theduckpin bowlers in Riviera Beach decided to jump into the car and drive down to Norfolk for the 61st National Tournament.
The tourney, at the Bowl-A-Rama Lanes in Norfolk, had been running through May, leading up to finals during the Memorial Day weekend.
Elaine Griffith, Glenna Grimes and Barbara Tonks bowl together at Riviera Bowl, and all are avid duckpinners. They thought it would be a great way to spend a few days together and maybe do a little bowling.
Elaine Griffith lives in Turf Valley with her husband, Wayne, and works for the Department of Defense in the Budget Office. A left-hander, Griffith throws a 3-pound, 10-ounce ball and has a 118 averagewith a career-high game of 190. Daughter Tami, 21, is not a bowler, but son Allen, 20, boasts a 118 average. Wayne averages 131.
Griffith started bowling duckpins in 1963.
"I've tried tenpins," she said, "but there's nothing like duckpins. We love it."
Glenna Grimeshas been bowling duckpins for 26 years and wouldn't let an operationfor tendinitis stop her. It's taken time for her average to climb back up since the operation, but she's averaging 127 now. Her career-high game is 207, and her high series is 473.
"I have to pack the arm in ice after bowling," Grimes said, "but I have to keep right on bowling."
She's bowling in the Wednesday Night Mixed League at Riviera Bowl, and almost every weekend she bowls in the Fair Lanes Summer Duckpin tour. Grimes spends most of her spare time in the bowling center, one of the best in the county and maybe in the state.
BarbaraTonks is a single parent drives an 18-wheeler. A few years ago, she decided that driving a big truck paid well, so she went to school to learn to drive the over-the-road rigs.
She lives in Powhatan Beachwith her sons, Martin, 15, and Michael, 13. She has a career-high game of 183 and high set of 401. Her average is 109.
"It was about 112 before the truck ran over my foot," Tonks said. "I was in the parking lot at work, and someone managed to run over my right foot. Thankgoodness, it wasn't my sliding foot."
Tonks is the newcomer to duckpin bowling, having started just three years ago in league play. Ofcourse, with a foot that's been run over by a truck, you could say that she's starting all over again.
"Last year, I could take my regular steps on the approach," Barbara said. "Now, I take just two steps. But the bowling is getting better every week."
As you can see, it was just three women who like to bowl deciding that it would be fun to take a short trip together to a bowling tournament. The tournament happens to be one of the most prestigious events in the duckpin world, but what the heck -- bowling is bowling and fun is fun.
The three girlfriends went, bowled, enjoyed themselves and had a nice vacation.
How did they do in the tournament? Not bad.
They took first, second, and third place.
"I knew that scoring was lower than usual," Grimes said, "but I didn't think that my 482 was going to win anything. In 1985, I shot a 534 and that was good for second."
The482 was good for second place again. The 477 Tonks shot was good forthe third-place prize.
"I didn't really think that I had a chanceto win anything," Tonks said. "I just went because it sounded like fun."
She's not kidding about thinking that she didn't have a chance. She didn't know she placed third until she was notified by mail after she returned home. She never checked the board before leaving Norfolk.
Griffith doesn't get too excited about bowling scores. But she shot a 136, a 128 and a 164, for a 433 scratch series. Compute in the 69-pin handicap, and you have a total of 497 and a tie with Corrine Jones of Baltimore for first place.
"Barbara's very low-keyed,"Grimes said, "She doesn't show a lot of emotion."
You can take that to the bank. Neither she nor Grimes checked the tournament board until the next day. That's when they found out that the three ladies from Riviera Bowl finished 1-2-3.
And how was your Memorial Day weekend?
NORFOLK TOURNAMENT FOOTNOTE
Allan Griffith teamed upwith Mike Reichert to take the 24th spot in the men's doubles. Allanis the husband of Elaine Griffith.
Walt Brooks is starting to make winning tournaments a habit. A Northeast High graduate, he works as a pipe-fitter at the U.S. Coast Guard and bowls three times a week in the Riviera Bowl Tuesday Men's Commercial League and Saturday and Sunday mixed leagues.
Brooks lives in Glen Burnie, carries a 133 average and has a high game of 214 and a 504 series. That's prettygood for a guy who just started bowling less than four years ago.
In addition to bowling in the Riviera Bowl leagues, Brooks likes tournament competition, which "makes bowling so much fun."
Winning can't hurt either. Brooks bowls in the Amateur Duckpin Tour events justabout every weekend.