by Randy Ooney
My Nickel’s Worth by Randy Ooney
I’m not sure who first thought of the clever names we have for some of the more notable spare and split leaves in the game of bowling. I do know that there are a number of Greek Orthodox churches in the country, and none of them resemble a 4-6-7-9-10. That nasty split more resembles my teeth when I removed the upper plate years ago, and I have heard it called Grandma’s teeth on occasion. Add the three pin and you have a full Sodie, but only here in Minnesota. A number of stories surround the fabled Greek Church. I knew of a guy who left it after shooting the front ten, then picked off two pins for a rare 282 game. Back in the days when Dawn Thorkildson was the shining star among women bowlers in the Twin Cities area, she joined the LPBT around the time that the BPAA US Women’s Open was held at Southtown Lanes in 1995. This brings me to the most famous Greek church in Minnesota bowling history. The Open tournament was a grueling 56 game format, just to get to the stepladder. It was game number 32, and Aleta Sill needed a mark in the tenth frame to earn a spot in the 24 game match play. Aleta left the nasty Greek church but then picked it up to advance.
Fast forward to October of 2012. Kayla Stram is an aspiring young bowler with incredible talent. Originally from Grand Rapids, MN, Kayla attended the University of Nebraska, and was a member of the Cornhusker bowling team for four years, including the 2009 National champions who defeated Central Missouri that year for the title. Central Missouri is worth mentioning here as another talented Minnesota bowler, Larissa Lantto is currently bowling there, and CM could easily be considered one of the top two or three teams in the NCAA this year. Kayla participates in the Twin Cities Masters league at Texa Tonka every Monday, but this story comes from the Friday Classic league, also at Tex. Kayla was on her way to a 775 set that Friday a few weeks ago when an errant shot left a Greek church, and she converted the spare. I congratulated her and told her the Aleta Sill story, and mentioned that in 55 years of bowling I had never picked it up. For Kayla, it was her third career conversion so I guess I know where that puts me on the list of Greek church picker uppers.
Some time ago on these pages I mentioned the prowess of Deb Lantto, Terri Anderson, and Ally Herstein, competing in the Phil Bros Classic League at Texa Tonka. Those three have now been joined by a number of really, really good women bowlers. Francie Jenne rolled a 300 last season. This season is only eight weeks old and we have already seen perfect games from Amber Gehrke and Ryan Oswood. Lisa Nadeau just missed with a 299, and Erin Novak posted a 290. Rounding out the group are Kris Geister and Michelle Taylor, and ALL of these ladies are currently 200 + average bowlers.
So, congratulations to the USBC who realized about ten years ago that bowling is an equal opportunity sport, and leagues can consist of men, women, Mingo, and drock bowlers on the same level.