When I was little my mom always told me of the days when she grew up in a bowling alley in Lorain, Ohio and watched her dad bowl two 300 games and is now seated in an Ohio Bowling Hall of Fame. One of the games came on the same date that my mom’s grandpa bowled his 300 game. 

Since I’ve moved to Lakeview, TJ’s Family Fun Center has seen two bowlers, Jake Campbell and Keith Kilgore, capture the elusive game and their photos now hang at the bowling alley.

Apparently bowling is “in my blood”, but according to my scores until most recent, it hasn’t exactly been the case. Until bowling the best game of my life (217) a few weeks ago, bowling was just a way to escape the everyday routine of waking up, letting out my dog, going to work and struggling through a normal Monday with the help of a few sips of coffee. 

I got my first bowling ball when I was 14 and still use it to this day, probably because my hands are still skinny like a teenager and the weight of the ball isn’t like trying to pull King Arthur’s sword out of the stone anymore. I’ve learned to curve the ball and attempt to have the same walk up without skipping my feet, which at this point is completely unavoidable. 

Lakeview has given me many out-of-work activities, some of which I have written about before; snowboarding, softball tournaments, an empty gym, etc. What I haven’t highlighted is the Monday Night Mixed League that one of my co-workers, Charley Tracy, convinced me to be a part of. 

I won’t lie … I’ve had a love hate relationship with the sport. 

Coming from a family where every weekend was a trip to the alley or another excuse for my mom to tell that same embarrassing story to whatever girl I was dating, relaying back to my family about my poor bowling abilities was sure to have my mom giggling on the phone. However, since joining the league, I’ve posted some of the best games of my life and contrary to my own belief, I’ve learned that the follow through is easily the most important piece to the sport … I was clueless. 

But most of all, I’ve created a friendship with those people during league nights and a want to continue that camaraderie wherever I’m living in the future. 

I’ve learned a high five is just as good as a “Nice job”. I’ve seen excellent bowlers aging like fine wine on the lanes. I’ve created conversations with people I may not have ever known, even with working for the paper. Most of all, I’ve gotten to continue to enjoy a piece of what my family loves to do even when I’m 2,000-plus miles away. 

I’ve created better relationships with the people I work with and received advice, encouragement and even purchased my own pair of bowling shoes. 

Sports have been my life for as long as I remember. Some say golf is one of the only sports that you can play until your old and your hair is grey. I have to say, although a lot of the bowlers on the league aren’t exactly “old”, age has done them well on the lanes and added a few more pins with every birthday. 

If bowling is anything like fine wine, I’m hoping I age gracefully. And if it’s not, then either way I’ll remember the times I had at TJ’s in little ole Lakeview for the rest of my life for just $15 a night. 

— S. Garrett Shaw

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