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Weekly bowling column debuts

Back in the big time

September 7, 2011
The Mining Journal

I started my career here at The Mining Journal 18 years ago this month.

And today may just be the red-letter day I never forget - the debut of my bowling column.

Though I'm a lover of just about all sports - that's why I jumped at the chance when my boss asked me if I wanted to move into our sports department about a year and a half ago - those who know me know I'm a bowling junkie.

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You've seen those guys who have a nervous twitch in their face, arm, leg or all three when they can't get their fix.

That's me with bowling.

Even when I'm so bad I don't want to embarrass myself on the lanes, I'll always watch bowling on TV and talk about it with anyone who'll listen. Just ask my coworkers.

The format will change from week to week - offering tips, telling weird bowling stories, relating a story about someone interesting, looking at a rash of 300 games, maybe getting up on my soapbox to offer my opinion.

I'll explain some intricacies of the game to those of you who only get out once a year when the family is here for Christmas.

Like how do pro bowlers - and good amateurs - get the ball to go so straight most of the way down the lane, then hook a huge amount at the end?

I've got a couple news items to kick things off today.

Youth leagues are getting ready to gear up at Marquette County's two centers, Superior Lanes in Marquette and Country Lanes in Ishpeming.

If you're interested in bowling, please support youth leagues. They're our future at a time when the league population is graying.

It's always good to see that bumper bowling, glow bowling and music nights in our centers are popular with the younger set.

Leagues are also a tried-and-true method to get kids into bowling.

While bowling is a lifelong pursuit, if you know what you're doing, bowling at an elite level is still a young man's - and woman's - game. Lately, the guys throwing the most perfect games and women rolling the most three-game series of 700 each season have been in their 20s and early 30s.

Look at Glenn Ayotte. Just recently turned 24, this Ishpeming resident rolled two 300s, two 299s, a 298 and series of 800 last season.

Two weeks ago during a summer King of the Hill tournament at Country Lanes, he opened with 300, then three games later, rolled the first nine strikes in a 277 using the attention-getting two-handed style, where both hands stay on the ball through the backswing and until just before releasing the ball.

It's crazy to watch, but the incredible thing is the hook and power Ayotte gets on his ball.

He went from nearly quitting the game to becoming a local sensation in a six-month stretch a couple years ago.

Anyway, the Ishpeming center will hold junior bowling registration from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday for a 14-week season that runs until around Christmas.

With a kickoff party planned, parents and kids have six choices that include bowling two or three games each week, just bowling, or paying a bit more and getting a new bowling ball.

Real young kids can join a bumper bowling league, where gutter balls are all but impossible for those who aren't much bigger than the balls they throw.

Kids and teens learn to bowl and "learn to bowl better" coaching seminars are available. Call Country Lanes at 906-486-8000 for more info.

Superior Lanes is going to try something new this year with a twice-a-week youth league.

One session is regular bowling, while the other is strictly practice with a coach for each team. That registration is from 4-6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 15.

For more information, call Superior at 906-225-9230 or visit the website

Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 246.



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