Ol’ Doc Stephenson drops in unexpectedly for a brief conversation

Everyone has one of them. You know the type I’m talking about. A distant relative, who’s very opinionated, who makes the kids scurry and adults sigh when he shows up.

I have one named Ol’ Doc and the man made an appearance at my door this week. Who knows what he wanted, but our conversation centered on bowling, so I thought I would share it with you.

OL’ DOC: So is there any truth to the rumor that you are no longer bowling?

ME: Geez, Doc, where have you been? When this bowling season comes to an end in the next couple of weeks, it will be two full seasons that I have not participated.

OL’ DOC: Pardon me for not particularly caring whether you are, or are not bowling, but I heard about it and since I was in the area, I thought I would ask you about it.

ME: Well, thanks for asking.

OL’ DOC: So why did you stop bowling?

ME: Well, Doc, the short answer would be that I got old. The ball became heavy, body parts started aching and I missed several nights of action with various ailments. I felt like my teammates could not depend on me to be there, so I hung up my bowling shoes.

OL’ DOC: You are not that old. Anne Laughlin bowled well into her 90s so that is no excuse. As for the ball being heavy, you do know they have balls of different weights. You could have gone to a lighter ball.

ME: Yes, I know that. I considered getting a new and lighter ball, but chose not to. My mother was a bowler and though she never weighed more than 100 pounds in her life, always used a 16-pound ball because her father said she would get more pin action with a heavier ball. Maybe it was in deference to her or perhaps Grandpa Joe, but I stuck with the heavier ball.

OL’ DOC: So do you miss bowling?

ME: I miss many things about it, but not the sore back, knees or something that I experienced after nearly every night of league action.

OL’ DOC: What exactly do you miss about the sport?

ME: I miss the competition. I miss trying to help my team win points. I miss trying to post a good score — game or series. Any athlete would.

OL’ DOC: Is that what you miss most, the competition?

ME: No, not just the competition. Mostly I miss the people. The great fun in bowling is spending a few hours with your friends. I miss them the most. I still get to see Bump and Tope on the golf course, but I rarely see Dave Yambert anymore. Dave is one of the good guys in the sport.

I miss laughing with Randy Bishop. We use to chuckle about the silliest things, including a Halloween night when Pat Ward scolded us for tossing part of the bowling alley decorations out the door. I miss those moments.

OL’ DOC: Of course you miss your teammates. Do you miss any of your opponents?

ME: Actually I do. There were some great guys that I bowled against. I suppose there were a few that I didn’t particularly care for, but not many.

OL’ DOC: I’m sure there were a few that felt the same way about you.

ME: Thanks, Doc. Don’t you have somewhere else to go?

OL’ DOC: Not particularly. So, are you ever going to bowl again?

ME: I don’t see me bowling again, but I wouldn’t rule out a return someday.

OL’ DOC: What are you going to do in the meantime?

ME: I’m getting ready for golf season.

OL’ DOC: Aren’t you too old for golf?

ME: No, the golf ball is not nearly as heavy as a bowling ball!

Imperial-Majorette- Sportsman: Rich Yates Jr. 704, Tom Wilkinson 667, Jason Ball 663, Ben Hoyda 661, Brian Harrold 645, Rich Yates Sr. 645, Bob Hill 611, Bill Fleming 605, Tina Whitaker 518, Mary Ruggiero 460, Dodi Gaietto 450 and Miriam Fankhauser 428.

Rocket: Tyson Shope 683, Jason Ball 602, Dave Coppus 593, Jon Distel 585 and Mike Distel 554.

55 Plus: Jim Ruess 601, Paul Gosche 571, Bill Mizen 526, Bob Reinhart 518, John Ferstler 504, Al Thomas 468, Dave Everhart 448, Jim Donaldson 446, Jerry Gillig 444, Jerry Coleman 417, Jim Ferstler 394 and Paul Fey 367.

Al Stephenson is the bowling columnist for The Advertiser-Tribune.

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