Older bowlers hit stride in Hampstead


September 06, 1992|By Donald G. Vitek

OK, senior bowlers, you don't care for the commitment of league play, don't want to compete on a cutthroat level, aren't too concerned with your average and really don't wish to be locked in for the usual, 35-week winter bowling season.

But you do like to bowl, and you like to do it with folks who have the same attitude that you have toward the game. So let's get together in a center that will welcome us with open arms and have a lot of fun.

Look no more. Every Wednesday morning you can join a bunch of seniors at Hampstead Bowling Center.

"They're terrific," said Ginny Blackowicz, league coordinator at Hampstead, speaking of Mel and Fran Tracey. "They keep the senior bowlers organized."

The organization is laid-back and pretty unstructured. Basically, the Wednesday morning seniors come to Hampstead for the exercise and the camaraderie. You won't find a more vigorous, enthusiastic bunch of bowlers.

"Anyone can drop in and bowl with us," Fran Tracey said, "We're here every Wednesday morning, and most of us are back here on Thursday morning for the Colorama event."

Fran and Mel Tracey live in Westminster, but travel to Hampstead to bowl. Mel retired from Conrail in 1983 after 43 years, and now the couple splits their time between Carroll Countyand Florida.

They're average bowlers in every sense of the word. Fran carries a 152 average with a high game of 212 and a high series of 500-plus. Mel's average is about 145 with a high game of 214 and a high series just below 500.

Those figures are a little vague simply because the Hampstead seniors don't take a lot of interest in them. But that doesn't mean that the seniors aren't competitive. While you may not see phenomenal numbers put on the sheet, you'll see a great deal of good-natured ribbing. High games and high sets are rewarded with a free cup of coffee.

You've never bowled? That's no problem. Just see any of the folks who operate the Hampstead lanes. Or stop by on a Wednesday morning. There will be senior bowlers ready to help you get started.

* UC

If you getting ready to start bowling or do any other physical

activity, here's some information from the American Physical Therapy Association.

* Be realistic. If you haven't exercised regularly since you were a kid, don't attempt to pick up where you left off. From age 20 on, bodies lose a little muscular flexibility and strength each year.

* Warm up, cool down. Start exercising slowly. You should be perspiring lightly before you begin strenuous exercise. Afterward, go through a few minutes of slower activity before you stop altogether.

* Listen to your body. If you feel pain, stop and seek help. The sooner your problem is treated, the sooner you get moving again.

* For younger bowlers, the National Duckpin Youth association sanctioned leagues will be starting this month. Should you join? If you do, you can:

* Win awards for high games, sets and pins over average. There are special achievement awards for individuals and teams.

* Be a star. Boys and girls bowling high games may be honored as Stars of the Month and Stars of the Year.

* Be a champion. Bowl in the National Duckpin Youth Championships. State and regional champions advance to the national finals June 25-27, 1993. Major division bowlers can win $1000 scholarships.

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