Last week, I wrote about the history of The Boblagio. I thought I’d also give some background about one of my other passions, bowling, and how my participation in the Franklin Superstars league came about.
When I was in high school, a friend had a get-together at the local bowling alley. Up to that point, I had never even touched a bowling ball. I still remember, the first game I ever bowled was a “35″ (I did not inadvertently leave out a “1″ in front of that score) . But, something about knocking those pins down was really addictive; and, just like poker, I was hooked after that first bowling experience. A week or two later, I joined the Saturday morning youth league at Tusculum lanes. After a couple of years, I won the Nashville City Championship for the youth senior division, which consisted of bowlers 16-18 years old. The youth league coach put-together a five person travelling team from our league and scheduled some matches against other teams in the area. One of the members of that team, Terry Taylor, went on to win the National Championship in 1987.
Shortly after that, I moved up to a men’s league, the Music City Classic league, where I bowled the remainder of my high school and early college years. Then, I grew tired of commuting between college and the bowling lanes every Tuesday night, and pretty much quit bowling, except for an occasional “open bowling” outing, for over 30 years.
I was living in Jacksonville, FL in 2000, and my company had a team building event at the Mandarin Bowl America lanes. While we were bowling, my old Dick Weber 5-star ball that I’d bought when I was in the youth league, caught the eye of the bowling alley manager. He came down and talked to me about it, and explained how much bowling balls had changed over the years – I had no idea. Fred, the manager, talked me into getting into a league. So, my love affair was re-ignited, and within a couple of weeks I had purchased a new bowling ball, and joined a league. I bowled in a Trio league that winter, and began the summer in another Trio league.
Unexpectedly, I then relocated to Franklin, and continued bowling regularly, although not in a league, while I searched for a team. In the summer of 2004, I joined a summer Trio’s league at Franklin lanes. The following Fall season, I connected with a couple of people from work, and we joined a league at Hillwood Strike & Spare. After one season, I grew tired of the long drive home after bowling, just like in college. But, instead of quitting, I searched for a league closer to home. That’s when I found the Franklin Superstars league. I joined in the Fall of 2005, and have been bowling in it every Fall/Winter season since.
The Superstars league, founded in 1977, currently consists of 22 teams, 4 people on a team. It is a very competitive league; currently 41 “regular” bowlers (i.e. those with at least 21 games this season) are carrying a 200 average or above. And 7 of those have a 220 or better average. It is a “handicap” league, with a bowler’s handicap based on 80% of the difference between 220 and their average.
The handicap issue caused me to make several enemies in the league a couple of years ago; although I think (and hope) most everyone has gotten over it by now. At that time, the handicap calculation was based on 210. Since we had several players with averages over 210, I was the main instigator in lobbying to modify the rule to be based on a 220, which I thought made for more equitable competition. Several of the higher average bowlers did not like the change, and were pretty upset with me for a long time.
Our current team, named The Boblagio, consists of:
- David, our leadoff bowler and former Tennessee State Singles champion, and is currently carrying a 201 average.
- Bob A., who currently has a 203 average, and bowled a 300 game last season.
- Barry, a hard-throwing right-hander, who’s leading the team with a 216 average.
- Myself, bowling anchor, raised my average last week from a 212 to a 215 on the strength of my best series ever – a 758.
Oh, and one more thing. That bowling ball, a Storm Eraser, that the Mandarin Bowl America manager sold me, now has company. I now carry a Roto-Grip Cell, Storm Special Agent, Storm T-Road, and a Storm Ice. And, I have several other balls laying on the floor of my closet that have been retired.