In today's final installment of the season for Splits, Spares and Strikes, I wanted to let all of you know you can still bowl in the off-season.
You may not think of bowling as a summer sport, and for many of us, that's true. But it's a good alternative to have on days that are rainy or are too hot or too cold to enjoy the outdoors.
If you want further information about activities at Marquette County's centers, contact Country Lanes in Ishpeming at 486-8000 or Superior Lanes in Marquette at 225-9230 or at its website, www.wingsandbowling.com.
Superior Lanes will hold four varied leagues plus a youth camp later in the summer. The most intriguing sounds like the School Staff League, where the first-place team can win $500 to be used for school supplies for the winning team members' school or schools. This 10-week Wednesday night league begins June 13 with a kickoff meeting the first night.
As is true for most leagues, no experience is necessary since the handicap format gives everyone a chance to compete. Three-person teams must include at least two members each night who are school faculty or staff. And rosters can be larger so bowlers can rotate in and out and not be committed to be there every week.
Other evening leagues include the family-oriented Thursday Superior Summer League for anyone ages 12 and over, and possibly younger, starting May 24, along with the Tuesday Trio League that will pay out 40 percent of league fees in prizes and start on May 22.
The Youth Sport League will run Sunday afternoons starting June 10 and is a doubles league using the more challenging Sport oil patterns that put a premium on good shot-making.
In August, the center will host its second annual week long Youth Bowling Camp with sessions on five consecutive days.
At Country Lanes, the long-running King and Queen of the Hill weekly tournament series begins next week at its traditional time, 7 p.m. Monday. Participants bowl four games in this handicap singles tournament, with prize money available for top finishers.
The tougher-scoring PBA Experience Challenge is moving to 7 p.m. Sundays and starts May 13. Like the King and Queen of the Hill, each week is a self-contained tournament of four games.
There's no week-to-week commitment for these events, since each begins and ends on the same night.
For those more into a regular league, Country will have a co-ed league at 7 p.m. Thursdays starting June 16 for four-person teams and using 100 percent handicap.
The center's two senior leagues continue through the summer. Both start at 12:30 p.m., with the Monday session for men and women and the Friday for men only.
Among the center's specials are Nifty Fifty Fridays from 6 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. A cover charge entitles participants to cheap shoe rental, hot dogs, fries, beer, soda and bowling. Glow bowling also starts at 10 p.m. Fridays. Saturdays are similar with Buck It Night from 5:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. with all these items mentioned for a buck apiece.
And Sundays from noon to 11 p.m. is Family Day with a lane for two hours and shoe rental for one price.
Country Lanes will offer a Safe Summer Membership Program for youths who live anywhere in Marquette County. Members receive two free games of bowling from 4 to 9:30 p.m. every day from June 1 to Sept. 1, with shoe rental extra. Registration is required to participate.
Related to that program is the Family Pass program for those with a child enrolled. And the center will continue its birthday party programs through the summer months.
For the final Mining Journal Bowlers of the Week, it was a crazy finish for the men. Joshua LeSage bowled 245 pins over average and just barely beat out 800-bowler Greg Michels for the men's final honor.
LeSage had a 111 average in the Monday Northern Michigan University class at Superior Lanes after about eight weeks of instruction, but zoomed way past that with a 578 series that included a 251 game.
Michels, with his 825 on April 17 in the Tuesday Night Mixed at Superior, whipped his 196 average by 237 pins on games of 300, 246 and 279.
That kind of left Allen Lancour in the dust despite a nice plus-169 effort in the Wednesday Industrial loop at Superior as the 177-average bowler shot 700 with a 259.
For the women, Betty Lukkarinen of Negaunee saved her best for last, shooting 131 pins over her 142 average in the Tuesday T&T Ladies League at Country Lanes with a 557 that included a 247 final game.
Next came 142-average Norine Maki of Republic in the same league at 114 over with 540, including another strong finish of 245.
Just behind her was Hope Virch in the Friday 800 Mixed at Superior. The 179-average Virch shot 649 with a 231 game.
So that's all until next fall. Enjoy the warm weather, just in case it ever gets here!
Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 246.