Times change. Such a simple little phrase that everyone knows is true. Nothing ever remains the same forever and there is little we can do to change that fact.
Seriously folks, do you remember not having a cell phone? I do. Rotary dial phones were the standard when I was growing up. Geez, I go back to the time when you had to get the operator to patch you through. Cell phones are so much more convenient, that I have no desire to go back to the good old days. This communication change has been welcomed.
I recall learning to type on a manual typewriter where you had to throw the carriage away. Remember that? Now we use computers with a keyboard. Better? You bet.
Many young people today don't really know how to write a check. They pay their bills online. The day's coming when all bills will be paid that way. I don't know if I'll live to see it, but it is inevitable.
As for the sport of bowling, it too has undergone some changes. No longer are the lanes full of league bowlers. People have too many other options for entertainment these days. Yet, for my friends and I, the game has remained a constant. At least until a couple of weeks ago that is.
My team that bowls on Wednesday evenings at Dunn's Lanes in Fostoria showed up for our post-season fun night. Prizes would be handed out and then a nine-is-fine tournament would take place. A discussion of the plans for next year's league would occur, we'd eat a little grub, then put the bowling ball away until September. Just like we have been doing for the last 40 years or so.
As my teammates chatted the bombshell was dropped. Next year our league was going to switch to three man teams. The five-man team would be scrapped as teams were having trouble getting enough bowlers to fill out their rosters. The news hit us right between the eyes.
Now, we understood the rationale for the change. Our league was down to five teams and many of those had to bowl short due to work schedules, injuries and the like. The only logical thing to do - in order to save the league - was to go to the three-person lineup. Fact is my team does not want to do that. I'll try to explain why.
I do enjoy the individual aspect of bowling. I like to compete against the pins, trying to adjust to different lane conditions, hoping to post a good score either in a game or for a series. It's fun to come home and take my wife through my accomplishments, frame by frame. For her part, she has become quite adept at feigning interest.
More often than not though, I am regaling her with exploits from a teammate, an opponent or, most significantly, my team. What I really love about the sport is spending an evening with my friends. We bowl, but we also talk about everything from soup to nuts while whining a little and laughing a lot. True, some nights those last two things get reversed, but you know what I mean. If I had to bowl by myself, I wouldn't be bowling for long.
We brought back an old friend this year after he had taken some time off to watch his daughters play high school sports. This gave us a nucleus of six bowlers with all of us getting plenty of bowling action. We had a blast and we were looking forward to more of the same next year.
For sure, my team likes the house we bowl in. We also prefer the night we bowl on. We like the proprietor and our opponents. What we don't like is the idea of splitting us up into two three-man teams.
Five of us sat in near stunned silence as the announcement for next year was made. We quickly came to the conclusion that we had a dilemma and the obvious choice of splitting up did not appeal to us.
When our sixth guy showed up after the proposed change was made known, we told him about it. This guy was our most experienced bowler. He has been bowling in the league the longest, though he had missed the last month of this season due to surgery. We told him of the plan to go to a three-man format meaning that we might have to split into two teams. Without any prompting from the rest of us, he said without hesitation - "oh, we can't do that."
Friendships are precious. I have some great friends and we want to stay together. We have until September to make a decision. Do we find another night? Do we look for another house? What do we do?
We are indeed sitting on the horns of a dilemma and it is not a good feeling.
Here are some scores from the last couple of weeks as the league bowling season winds down. In the Sunday Night Rock N Roll League, Gary Golden turned in a huge 737 series. Tim Sturgill shot 674, Steve Barnes 651, Dirk Nimocks 631, John Funk 621, Tim Bollenbacher 610, Mark Phillips 608, Tom Tiell 600, Rosie Steele 548, Janice Young 495 and Dottie Funk 476.
Greg Anspach fired a 720 to top the Sportsman League. Greg Tiell shot 694, Rich Yates Jr. 685, Tony Selhorst 685, Rich Yates Sr. 639, Jack Kramer 604, Tim Riley 603, Mike Kimmet 600, Mike Kisabeth 595, Dick Gabel 592, Jim Mason 591 and Paul Gosche 586. In the Twilight League Jeff Morrow had 649, T. J. Morrow 624, Steve Barnes 617, Jerry Collins 609, Rhonda Fitch 539, Michelle Wagner 444 and Robin Brownell 431. Steve Peer had 658, Ben Hoyda 647, Steve Steinmetz Jr. 628, Linda Brookes 525, Kelly Faust 495 and Dianne Smith 479 in the Imperial-Majorette League.
Grange League scores included Bob Capehart 591, Dion Payne 569, Kerry Wertz Sr. 556, Jere Morlock 545, Dan Morlock 535, Heidi Kutschner 440, Nicole Babcock 430, Marty Factor 399 and Hunda Shook 368. Jim Ruess shot 594, Dick Gabel 572, Bob Reinhart 506, John Ferstler 499, Bob West 498, Bill Mizen 495, Dan Coppes 493, Mike Ditslear 472, Dave Murray 472, Paul Gosche 471, Jim Ferstler 460, Jim Donaldson 437, Paul Fey 366 and Steve Schafer 348.
Al Stephenson is The A-T's bowling columnist
Read his blog at: