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ANN BAILEY: Let the good times roll

When I was growing up, football wasn't the only game in town in the fall. Fall also ushered in bowling season. My dad, Adrian, bowled on at least one league team at the Larimore (N.D.) Legion Lanes every winter for more than 30 years. He was a go...

Ann Bailey

When I was growing up, football wasn't the only game in town in the fall. Fall also ushered in bowling season.

My dad, Adrian, bowled on at least one league team at the Larimore (N.D.) Legion Lanes every winter for more than 30 years. He was a good bowler, and the trophies on top of the china closet in my parents' home are testimony to his ability.

Inspired by my dad's enthusiasm for bowling and his success at it, in seventh grade I decided to join the junior bowling league, which was on Monday afternoons after school.

It soon became apparent I wouldn't be as successful as my dad was. I was an OK bowler, but trophies definitely weren't in my future.

Practice didn't make perfect

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Though my dad and I hit the lanes often on weekends so I could practice, I never seemed to completely get rid of the habit of turning my wrist when I released the ball. Once in a while, when I managed to keep my wrist straight, I ended up with a few spares or strikes and got a respectable score. However, more often than not, my wrist twisted, which resulted in a ball that started angling toward the gutter before it got to the pins.

If I was lucky I would be able to knock off one or two pins before the ball hit the gutter. When I averaged my scores over three games, they were good enough not to earn bottom honors, but a long way from receiving a bowler-of-the-year award.

I bowled for a few years before Larimore High School started a girls basketball team and I decided to try my hand at that. (It turns out that I wasn't much better at basketball than I was at bowling, but that's a column for another day.)

Family fun

Though, I was no longer in a league, I still enjoyed going bowling, just for fun, with my dad and siblings. We did that fairly often because my dad's desire to get good scores didn't diminish when he got older. He was always looking for someone to bowl with him, and as he worked to improve his game, the rest of us had fun knocking down whatever pins we could.

After my dad died in 1996, my interest in bowling waned. With him no longer around to suggest we go bowling, I guess I just lost my incentive to go.

In fact I didn't pick up a ball again until about a week ago when Brian and I decided to take our children bowling at the Larimore Legion Lanes.

Ellen is bowling with a children's group and Brendan and Thomas, are bowling for gym class this month, so we thought we'd give them a little practice time by bowling on a Sunday afternoon.

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No better

I got a score of 247.

For a three-game total.

Obviously my absence from the alleys didn't do anything to improve my bowling. I was pleased, though, that my scores rose with each succeeding game and that I almost cracked 100 by the completion of the third.

Brian, who hadn't bowled in 15 years, either, did break 100, but let's just say that he didn't burn up the alleys, either. Ditto for our three children. However, they do show potential for being good bowlers and appear to following more in my dad's footsteps than mine.

Regardless of our scores all of us had a good time bowling and intend to go again.

I plan to wait, though, until my sore muscles heal. I found out that the difference between bowling now and when I went with my dad and siblings when I was in my 30s is that I feel it a lot more. I may be able to get down the alleys just as fast, but the next day, I move much more slowly.

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