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Seniors bowling league offers fun, fitness

The seniors bowling league meets Thursdays at Red Ray Lanes in Grand Forks.
On Thursdays afternoons through the winter, you can find a dozen of Grand Forks’ active senior ladies at Red Ray Lanes laughing, bowling and building relationships.

 The group started as a co-ed league and organizer Jan Torrence, 74, would like to see it return to that.


 “We’d like to have some guys again,” she says with a smile. “Just so we could harass them if nothing else.”


 The ladies swiftly bowl three games each week while they joke and talk about their families, fond memories and how they did their last Bunko game.


 The camaraderie is important to these ladies.


 The women keep track of each other’s ailments and struggles. Even former members whose health keeps them home attend the end-of-the-year banquet in April and stay in touch with current members.


 Current points leader, Mary Freije, says she was encouraged to join last year bya pair of friends, Betty-Lou Vorland and Dianna Donahue, when she needed a pick me up after retirement. They have bowled together in various leagues for more than 30 years.


 The three women are the “youngsters” of the group, in their mid-sixties.


 The oldest member, 90, wasn’t bowling on a recent Thursday afternoon, but her league-mates say she is an excellent bowler and throws an 8-pound ball.


 Ellie Schnell, the secondoldest bowler, says she is 84 and eight months. She says she’s abetter golfer than bowler because of her petite build, but she enjoys getting together with the ladies and working on her game.


 “They all amaze me,” Freije says. “I find these ladies such an inspiration.”


Staying involved


 Since travel, health issues and bad weather sometimes keep some league members home, they compete individually rather than in teams.


 The bowling alley only charges the league members $6 for the day, and an additional fee goes toward monetary prizes awarded at a banquet in April when the 30-week season ends. Torrence keeps track of the scores and money.


 Beyond companionship and competition, members like Torrence see health benefits from their involvement in the league.


 Torrence says her doctor is glad she’s bowling because it keeps her moving. A knee injury doesn’t slow her down, either. She wears a brace while she bowls and says she hasn’t had any issues.


 Most of the ladies were in bowling leagues before joining the team and find the group is an inexpensive and fun way to stay involved.


 To join, seniors can call Red Ray Lanes or just show up any Thursday at 1 p.m.