Some years ago Betty Friedan wrote a book called "The Feminine Mystique." Just to give you a time reference, I was in junior high school. The year was 1963.
In her book, Ms. Friedan said publicly what many women were thinking in silence. She suggested that being a homemaker, though satisfying, wasn't enough. She wanted to do other things including getting a job so that she could feel more complete and yes, more equal.
The book sent shock waves throughout the country. Many men were incensed when their wives echoed her sentiments. Some wanted to know what happened to the woman they had married. Eventually though, men not only became accepting of the change, but relieved that they were no longer the sole economic provider for the family.
The 1960s signaled a change in our society and today there are very few breadwinner/homemaker marriages. Equality for women came slowly in many aspects of life though, and the bowling alley was no exception.
When I went out to Heritage Family Center Tuesday night to watch the women of the Alley Cats League bowl, I showed up at 6:30 p.m. It wasn't always that way.
As I looked around at the eight teams that make up the league, I noticed several familiar faces. Veteran bowlers such as Brenda Rosier, Sue Stine, Deb Cleveland, Vicki Noller and Barb Carmon were still throwing the rock. I spotted Judy Legron, Madelyn Smith and Nita Doran. The smiling faces convinced me that the women were having fun. Maybe some of the smiles were a result of knowing that they would be home long before midnight.
I talked to Jan Houk to find out how long the Alley Cats League had been in existence and the answer surprised me. Though many of these ladies had been bowling for a lot of years, the league itself is not very old. That's because for years the distaff side could only bowl in a late league. The early shift was reserved for men. Whether that was the result of male chauvinism, the ladies' own choice or just social convention is open to debate. The fact remains that although many of these female bowlers had asked to bowl earlier in the evening, it was not until 1999 that their wishes became reality.
A men's league disbanded and the Alley Cats League was born. Thirteen years later, mixed leagues have become the norm. In fact the Alley Cats League is the only all-women's league left at Heritage.
As I watched the action I couldn't help but compare aspects of the league to men's leagues that I have bowled in. There was the usual array of beverages found at each table. Perhaps a few more snacks were scattered about and the gobbling sounds made by Heather Butler's teammates after she threw a turkey was certainly different. Make no mistake though, these ladies can bowl.
Dianne Hoover threw the first four in game one before being hit with the split bug. She left splits in each of the final four frames, converting one and finishing with a nice 193 game. I recalled the score from my first game two nights earlier and started counting how many of the women topped my effort. Once I got to double figures I deciding not to take my shoes off to count further. Suffice it to say, these bowlers are talented and that includes the most senior member of the group.
Anne Laughlin beat my score and she is 94 years young. Anne started bowling in a league before Betty Friedan even had thoughts about writing her book. How great is it that she's still bowling and now gets to go home at a reasonable hour!
Many of these women are multi-sport athletes and one of those is Carla Siebenaller. I asked her if she had put her golf clubs away yet as the forecast for this weekend made golfing in December a distinct possibility. When I told her I had played the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, she wasn't all that impressed. She had golfed on the Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday AND Wednesday before turkey day. Now she has me checking my schedule to see why I'm not playing more!
It's been a long struggle for equality for the ladies of the Alley Cats League, but I believe they have achieved it. Ladies, may you continue to bowl well and early for many more years to come.
No question where I start with this week's honor roll. John Funk had a night that most of us just dream about in the Rocket League. Before I tell you his scores, let me point out that he only converted five spares all evening. Oh, by the way, he didn't have an open frame either.
Funk began the night with a spare before stringing 10 strikes in a row. A single pin on his last ball made for a 289 opening game. Game two saw eight more strikes and a solid 233. He then threw the first eleven in game three before leaving the 4-7 on his final shot, settling for a 298. His 820 total was some 280 pins over his average. That is some kind of awesome bowling, John!
Other scores from the Rocket League included Beth Jones 669, Dave Jones 634, Tim Sturgill 626, Tyson Shope 624, Mike Kimmet 623 and Dottie Funk 512.
In the Alley Cats League Robin Dickman posted a 681 while Jan Houk had 581, Sue Stine 509, Dianne Hoover 490 and Brenda Rosier 484. Here are scores from other leagues.
Sportsman: Dick Gabel 681, Greg Tiell 666, Mike Kisabeth 627, Bob Reinhart 625, Ken Butturff Jr. 620, Tom Wilkinson 609, Rich Yates Sr. 609, Lance Davis 607, Kyle Musa 606, Jim Ruess 605 and Rich Yates Jr. 605.
Wednesday Morning: Steve Norman 689, Tim Sturgill 665, Greg Elchert 640, Ken Lofton 609, Mark Huffman 608, Tyson Shope 607 and Cheryl Radin-Norman 440.
55 Plus: Jim Ruess 584, Bill Mizen 573, Denny Scherger 557, Paul Gosche 556, Dan Coppes 537, Bob Reinhart 510, Dick Gabel 504, Bob West 483, John Ferstler 477, Steve Schafer 446, Jim Ferstler 440, Dave Everhart 430, Paul Fey 388 and Jim Donaldson 382.
Twilight: Tom Tiell 649, Tim Sturgill 648, Ed Conrad 644, Josh Aker 641, Kevin Young 617, Kristin Fitch 482, Rhonda Fitch 468 and Robin Brownell 445.
Thursday Night: Chris Johnson 655, James Lord 591, Bill Lord 557, Steve Depinet 553 and Jerry Collins 545.
Sunday Night Rock N Roll: Tim Sturgill 714, Mark Phillips 647, Bob Steele 616, Gary Golden 608, Janice Young 499, Dottie Funk 494 and Rose Steele 487.
Imperial-Majorette: Steve Steinmetz Sr. 690, Ben Hoyda 686, Kevin Young 580, Rhonda Fitch 528 and Phyllis Riley 486.
Al Stephenson is The A-T's bowling columnist.
Read his blog at: