by Randy Ooney
My Nickel’s Worth by Randy Ooney
The National Senior Games are wrapping up this week. There were a number of sporting events for competitors who have reached the age of 50+, and of course, as an exception to the Olympics, which the Senior Games are fashioned after, one of the events is bowling. There were several articles in the Star Tribune over the past weeks, but of course bowling was never mentioned. Since Bill Hengen retired from the paper, there is never much about our sport.
Southtown Lanes was the venue for the bowling event. The entries were plentiful, so a center with 48 lanes was a must. There were some technical difficulties in the men’s singles as a lane had a mechanical failure and caused a delay for a number of participants. On the pair that I was assigned, one of the lanes took about 45 seconds to cycle after a ball was thrown. A bit distracting and slow, but we made it through. During the medal round of singles, the oil pattern was extremely tough. I was told that when they reoiled the lanes, they only dressed to the arrows, so the last 50 feet were similar to my driveway. But everyone had to deal with the same condition.
The format was very fair, and the level of competition was expected. Contestants were grouped by age in five year increments. There were two sets in the singles, and players used the best of the two to qualify for the medal round (Top 8). Only one three game set was bowled to qualify for doubles (once again the top 8). Quite a few local bowlers earned medals: Jim Bigelbach, Herb Marth, Don Theis, Larry Almstead, Carl Fietek, Sam Lantto, Jay Joyner, Sharon Carlson, and Julie Patnode. Sorry if I left out anyone, these are my friends from the Twin Cities Masters League.
Overall, I enjoyed the competition and the experience. I met a few bowlers from all over the United States and hoped they enjoyed Minnesota. Not sure if I would spend the money to travel to Alabama in 2017 though. I would give Southtown Lanes a “B” as the host center. The mechanical difficulties that I mentioned, as well as the fact on Saturday, the bar did not open until late afternoon, and the snack bar seemed under staffed. All in all it was a great weekend!
Now it’s on to Treasure Island for the Pro-Am. (I am still an AM). I am scheduled to pair up with Norm Duke in game one. Maybe I can learn something from Norm. For instance how can I go from 6 ft 2” to 5 ft 5”. The last time I was there I noticed the Roulette machine was back. It’s a one dollar bet now though. The Island is calling.