Do You Remember… Bowling
Remember bowling alleys? I grew up with bowling – as probably a lot of us MLCers did.
In fact, my first puka-head was at a bowling alley. I must’ve been maybe 4 or 5 years old and my dad was bowling in a Pearl Harbor league at Boulevard Bowl (remember where that was?), and I was doing the spin around a lot and fall down all dizzy thing. Well, I fell down and whacked my head against the corner of the ball polishing machine and puka my head. My dad was pissed. He had to stop bowling to take me home. I remember him pressing the bloody handkerchief against my head. Never did go doctor to get stitched up.
Then later, my dad joined a Friday night – second shift – league at Pali Lanes. We used to go hang out at the bowling alley every Friday night. While dad bowled, I’d play around the top area (but wasn’t allowed to spin), or watch the guys play nickel machines, or sit in the snack bar and wish I could have french fries or a banana split. Or sometimes I’d just lie down on the Bruinswick orange and white plastic seats and fall asleep.
I think I was destined to grow up at bowling alleys. Even my aunty Yoshiko and her sister Chiyo had a barber shop at Bowling City.
Eventually, my dad bought be a used 13 lb. bowling ball. It was an Ebonite Earl Anthony with the name DEL inscribed on it. My bowling bag was from Gold Bond stamps. I just used it to bowl for recreational purposes.
Then after I got married, I started bowling with my In-laws at Stadium Bowl-o-Drome.
And like my days of growing up – we bowled on Friday nights – second shift. But because the first shift was a 5-man team and because of the old ball returns and broken machines, we sometime didn’t start bowling until 10:00. Needless to say – we didn’t get out of there until 1:00 the next morning.
This went on for years. At first we were bowling in a league that took up almost the whole alley. Eventually, it got smaller until it took up only half of the ally. Then when it got even smaller, we merged with another league that was using the other half of the alley. This went on until Bowl-o-Drome decided to close its doors for good.
Then that league merged with another league over at Kam Bowl.
And the night changed from Friday to Thursday – still second shift. The best thing besides the short ball rack (so you didn’t have to wait until the next lane finished just to get your ball), Kam Bowl had automatic scoring. You have no idea how much I loved that. See, at Bowl-o-Drome I was bowling with my in-laws. Father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law(s) and not one of them stepped up to help me keep score. When it was our turn to keep score – I had to keep score. Sometimes, after I threw my first ball, I’d have to go back and write in the other teams score, then throw my second ball and write in my score. WTH? And of course, I had to be the team captain – which meant going to the meetings, collecting the dues, and making sure we have bowlers. Paula’s brother used to bowl sometimes and her sister’s husband used to bowl the other times. But I was the one who used to have to tell them when to bowl. This one time I did an experiment and told the BOTH of them to decide between themselves who was going to bowl on Friday night. Friday night rolled around and neither of them showed up. Pathetic. Had to use Dummy score. And me being the team captain, I had to pay for their lines.
So when we moved to Kam Bowl, we had a new team with just my FIL and me and a couple of friends. And with automatic score keeping – I had time to relax, concentrate on my game, talk story with my teammates as well as the other team, and enjoy myself. The game was now fun and I used to try to break 200 on at least one of my games.
But when word came that Kam Bowl was going to shut down and be replaced by Walgreens – I hung it up. Almost 20 years of bowling – and I went through almost the same number of bowling balls. I was very passionate about bowling. I subscribed to the magazines, watched the PBA Tour on TV every season, practiced in the off season, hung around some of the top bowlers to get tips, knew all the bowling shops around town – and the reputation of the drillers. I was a bowling junkie.
But one of the best parts of bowling was the socializing. Before Facebook and Linkedin and Instagram, bowling was one of a few ways to network with people from all different professions and who worked in all different companies. I made a lot of friends when I was bowling. And every now and then I think about them and wonder what they’re doing today. Hmm… maybe I can find them on Facebook…
Did bowling play a part in your life? Do you miss the socializing, the networking, the fun times spent at the alley. Or at Zippys or Likelike Drive in for the after bowling grinds. Remember the bowling banquets? Share your bowling memories with us.
It’s coming up in 3 weeks. Call Russell Shiroma @ 224-9224 to get your tickets!