Bowling is a sport with such a wide footprint that inventive league coordinators can come up with great fun ideas and still stay within the parameters of the game itself.
Physically disadvantaged folks can bowl, as can enthusiastic toddlers and senior citizens with disabilities. A bowler doesn't have to be a 250-pound tight end to roll strikes or spares. And, you don't have to belong to a league to have fun.
A good example is the monthly Challenge Event at Lane-Glo North Lanes created by Bob Jarlenski and put into practice by assistant manager Pete Graffagnino, his wife, Fran, and the rest of the Lane-Glo North crew.
The non-league social get-togethers feature bowlers from HCA Community Hospital, Dialamerica, a telemarketing firm, and the area's restaurants.
"Most of these people have varied working hours and can't bowl in leagues, or they just don't have the time for leagues," Graffagnino said. "This gives them a chance to get together once a month for friendly competition and fun. This was one of the main reasons we offered the idea."
The hospital fields 16 four-person mixed teams, Dialamerica 14 squads and the restaurants from 12-20 five-person squads. Many are good bowlers, some are fair and others, well, they're out just for the fun of it. They bowl three games scratch. Game No. 1 is nine-pin, no tap, followed by a 3-6-9 no-tap game, all fairly conventional.
The third game gets a bit weird, however. The bowler must roll the ball backward between his or her legs in the third, sixth and ninth frames, which makes for some interesting scenes!
Teams compete for prize money, complimentary drinks and a monthly trophy. Some 150-200 people compete each month.
Last month, "Harry's Girls" of the hospital's business office beat F-3 West, 1,988-1,966. DCI came in third with a 1,945. In the Dialamerica challenge, Customer Billing No. 1 defeated Lead Processing No. 2, 1,851-1,825. Lead Processing No. 1 finished third at 1,744.
Spartan Manor No. 1 defeated Kally K's No. 2, 2,397-2,317, to take home the restaurant challenge trophy.
"It has worked out so well, we're working on a fun challenge for Pasco County teachers," Graffagnino said.
Yeah, and I can just see a Pasco County high school principal rolling that third game!
Correa wins NABI: Joe Correa of Spring Hill won the NABI Club tournament Sept. 27 at Mariner Lanes in Spring Hill.
Correa stopped Palm Harbor's Don Wells, 222-199, in the final to pick up $1,000. Wells earned $500 and third-place finisher Stewart Allen of New Port Richey took home $150. The prize fund was $3,146 and there were 126 entries.
NABI events this weekend are at Sunrise Lanes in St. Petersburg, Bradenton, Orange City and Pensacola.
State 500 meets: The third annual Florida Women's 500 Club tournament and convention is scheduled Oct. 17-18 at the Holiday Inn Surfside on Clearwater Beach.
Shore Lanes will host the doubles event and Rainbow Lanes the singles as more than 1,000 members are expected to attend and compete. Tournament entries are closed. For more information, contact Erika Hunter at 441-1075.
Lighting strikes: Lane-Glo North played host the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team Sunday night for a "Kick Ice" party and bowling challenge.
Lighting general manager Phil Esposito and his players bowled against the fans, and pushed season tickets.
Around The Lanes: The $85,000 Pinellas Suncoast Pinwheel Senior PBA Open begins Saturday at Seminole Lanes in Pinellas County. Terri O'Steen put her new ball through one practice session, then took it to the opening of the Monday Night Mixed Scratch League at Lane-Glo Bowl last week _ and shot a 729 series, her first 700 series. Lane-Glo North offers a six-game scratch tournament Sunday with a $40 entry fee and $500 to the winner, based on entries. Hudson Bowl offers an eight-game scratch event Oct. 11 with a $40 entry fee and $225 to the winner, based on entries. Steve Hoskins of Tarpon Springs finished fourth in the PBA Southern Regional event last week at Fort Lauderdale.