I'm back. There was a little kicking and screaming involved, but my buddies and I decided to return to the Buckeye State. For those of you who have inquired about my golfing soiree to Florida, the answers are fantastic, so-so, and you bet your bippy. Thanks for asking!
Believe it or not, this trip was not all fun and games. Actually it was a working vacation (come on, give me the benefit of the doubt) as I made it a point to stop in at the local bowling establishment in search of a story. What I found was that bowling in The Villages is very, very popular.
The Villages is a 55-and-over retirement community located in central Florida. It has been the destination for my January golf trip for several years now. I have two golfing friends who winter in the area, though not in The Villages itself. The guys who make the trip down, stay in a hotel just inside The Villages. That puts us within walking distance of the Town of Spanish Springs, where among other establishments, a bowling alley can be found.
Spanish Springs Lanes is a 32-lane house and I wandered into the premises on a Thursday night. Much to my surprise all the lanes were occupied. The league was made up of four-person teams and I spent an hour or so watching the action.
While it is true that most of the keglers were there for the exercise, many take the sport very seriously. Two factors convinced me of this. One was the fact that several bowlers had carted bags containing four bowling balls.
One is definitely serious when he brings that many rocks to the house. The other thing that caught my attention was the reaction to getting tapped. A couple of different fellows had some choice words when a nine pin remained standing. The comments were not made out loud, but it was easy to read their lips. Your typical recreational bowler does not use those words!
I returned to the lanes on Friday morning and had a chance to chat with a very nice lady by the name of Lani Brunenaus. Originally from the state of New York (it is hard to find native Floridians in the Sunshine State), she spent some time living in both Wooster and Huron so we had a common connection. She willingly shared information with me about bowling in The Villages.
One of the things she told me was that from time to time a survey is taken to see what sport is most popular in The Villages. Despite having softball, horseshoes, swimming, pickle ball and other assorted activities, the survey outcome usually comes down to golf or bowling. Lani told me that in the last survey bowling won out. I can believe that, as another 32-team league was about to get underway at 9:30 a.m.
The league was called the TGIFF League and Lani confirmed what I suspected. The extra F is for finally. Then again, when you are retired to a place like The Villages, isn't every day FRIDAY?
Another league name that caught my attention was the Canadian Club League. Either these folks came from north of the border or they enjoyed a nip now and then. Lani explained that they were indeed from Canada and that most of them were French-Canadians. Despite some communication problems, the league was doing quite well, thank you.
Here are some other interesting names for bowling leagues in The Villages. Many of the leagues are mixed and the names prove it. Guys and Dolls, Kings and Queens as well as Belles and Beaus were listed. Another league was called Young at Heart. I watched these people in action and that name really fits.
Team names caught my attention as well. Try some of these ? Please Spare Us, Split Happens, Shake Rattle and Bowl, Bowling Stones and Splits Are Us were noted. Of course each league had a team called The Village People. My favorite though was The Three Nitwits. I can only assume that one of four members of the team was left to pick the team name, which he decided to name after his teammates! Don't tell me old people have no sense of humor.
Lani told me that of the dozen leagues that bowl at Spanish Spring Lanes, the alleys are at 95 percent capacity. Maybe in the future I should take my bowling ball along with my golf clubs. Then again, I wouldn't be able to find an open lane.
Just in case you were wondering what questions prompted the answers from the first paragraph, here you go. How was the weather? How was your golf game? Are you going to go again next January?
As is always the case when I go away for a week, someone tears up the lanes in my absence. I have to give a shout out to my "golfing" buddy Harry Smith. He fired a 720 series last week that nearly included a 300 game.
A stubborn 10 pin on his first ball in the 10th frame forced him to settle for a 279 game and kept him from a perfection. Despite the bad break, that is some great shooting.
Tyson Shope led the scores this week as he shot 721 to top the Rocket League. Steve Barnes had 658, Tim Sturgill 599, Jack Kramer 555, Dottie Funk 479, Virginia Vanover 460 and Ellen Ewing 435. In the Alley Cats League Sue Stine shot 535, Robyn Wight 520, Carla Siebenaller 520, Pat Cook 512 and Diane Hoover 508. Twilight League scores included Steve Barnes 678, Tom Tiell 660, Tim Sturgill 641, Chad Snyder 632 and Rhonda Fitch 578
Bob Steele shot 640 to top the Sunday Night Rock N Roll League. Chris Rhodes had 627, Earl Forwalder 621, Tim Bollenbacher 619, Janice Young 502 and Rose Steele 477. In the Imperial League Steve Steinmetz Jr. shot 643, Ben Hoyda 592, Brian Jakupca 591, Deb Nominee 511, Linda Brookes 507 and Rhonda Fitch 445. Phil Neikirk shto 686, Rich Yates Jr. 673, Ken Butturff Jr. 648, Chris Johnson 627, Greg Tiell 615, Mike Kimmet 606, Rich Yates Sr. 600, Al Stephenson 599 and Ron Jordan 596 in the Sportsman League.
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