It is a Wednesday afternoon, and the temperature outside is reaching 90 degrees.
Inside Liberty Lanes in Largo, Sandra Schumacher and her three grandchildren, Trevor, Noah and Hannah, are nice and cool. They are in the middle of their third game, with no signs of stopping.
Schumacher figures they come to Liberty Lanes three times a week during the summer and the kids bowl as many as six games each time. She doesn't care about the cost.
Liberty Lanes has a program, now in its fourth year, that offers free bowling to students in kindergarten through 12th grade who bring in their end-of-the-year report cards. Kids in kindergarten through fifth grade receive $200 worth of free bowling, or about 80 games. If they have straight A's or perfect attendance, they get an extra 20 games for each.
Kids in sixth through 12th grades get free games on a grade point average scale. A 3.5 or better is worth $300 in free bowling, 2.5-3.49 is good for $200, and 1.0-2.49 gets $100. The only expense each time is the $2.50 shoe rental, unless you have bowling shoes.
The free bowling is good until 5 p.m. seven days a week. It ends Aug. 31.
"Bowling itself doesn't really cost anything," said Kristie Fraga, Liberty Lanes general manager. "It's just electricity. So we started this program to get kids in here during the summer. Summer is generally a very slow time during the day. It's better to have the lanes full instead of sitting empty."
For the first two years of the program, Liberty Lanes gave the shoes for free and offered unlimited bowling during the day. To stabilize the bottom line, it charged for shoes and limited kids to six games per day.
"We've had to limit it to six games per day because some parents were using it as a babysitting service," Fraga said.
The lanes have given away $3,413 worth of free bowling for June so far, Fraga said.
In June 2007, she said, that number was $14,000. She expects the bowling to pick up as summer wears on.
Liberty Lanes is owned by Community Entertainment Centers of Wisconsin. CEC has had the free bowling program in Wisconsin for years.
Schumacher is just glad the program is available. Her grandchildren grew up in Largo, but last year they moved to Goodlettsville, Tenn., outside Nashville. They are staying with their grandmother during the summer, and bowling has become part of their summer plans.
"It gives them something to do, and they can stay cool while they're doing it," said Schumacher, who only watches. "They do other stuff outside, but it's nice to have something to do inside as well."
Seminole's Alexandra Cercone, who plays at Bardmoor Tennis Club, recently competed in the International/National Grass Tournament in Philadelphia.
Cercone, who was unseeded, defeated sixth-seeded Lauren Embree 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-2) in a girls 18 singles match. She lost in the quarterfinals.
• The Shipwatch Yacht and Tennis Club's 4.0 senior men's team won the state sectionals in Daytona Beach and advances to the national tournament in October in Indian Wells, Calif. Members of the team: Todd Whitney, Mike Carrigan, John Green, Tim Kahle, Dave Heeder, Clark Higgs, Brian Cooper, Bill Radford, Shon Craig, John Hanberry, Franz Henikl, Dick Armstrong, Will Rhame and John Sturgis.
Bardmoor Golf and Tennis Club hosted a four-ball team qualifying event Monday. Teams of two played to qualify for the Florida State four-ball championship July 12-13 at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach. Four-ball is played with a partner, and each plays a ball. The lowest score on a hole is recorded as the team score.
The eight teams that qualified from the Bardmoor tournament: Brent Bush/Mark Peel (64), Mike Walters/Paul Royak (64), Jamie Girardi/Joseph Hudson (66), Larry Cotten/Brent Dorman (66), William McGaughan/Bill Henderson (66), Ken Palladino/Jeff Neugebauer (67), Brian Keenan/Tim Hume (68) and William Bradshaw/David Yow (68). The teams of John Crum/Scott Eicher and David McShera/Skip Lujack are alternates.
• Saint Andrews Links in Dunedin held its sixth annual Father's Day tournament June 14. Ian and Max Johnson won in a playoff with 55. They defeated Don Leineach and Eric Dellaratta. Third went to Austin and Joe Meloch with 56.
• Avila Golf and Country Club in Tampa will host the First American Title Junior Classic on Tuesday-Thursday. The tournament is made up of 78 players, ages 12-18, who will represent nine states. Some locals to watch are Christopher Biuso and A.J. Newell of Tampa and Evan Jenson of Belleair.
If you're looking for an adult basketball tournament this summer, check out the Interclub Adult Basketball tournament Aug. 2-3 at Hillsborough High. It is open to the first 16 adult teams that sign up and costs $400 per team, to benefit the shoe and sock drive of Samaritan's Feet. Call (972) 704-6874.
Rodney Page can be reached at [email protected]times.com or (727) 893-8810.