Bowling provides diversion

A sport that provides diversion from the everyday grind is bowling. It allows a participant to escape for a couple of hours the troubles of the world, job and family issues.

The sport can be enjoyed by the young and old. Some challenge their skills a couple times of week or once a year, but it is just plain fun.

Bowling centers have seen a decrease in league numbers due to costs, time and other diversions available. Regular bowlers have recorded several years on the maple or synthetic lanes. Varieties of lane conditions keep bowlers guessing or increases their aggravation due to the inability to knock down all 10 pins.

I was thinking about an old friend that passed away several years ago in Cambridge, Ohio. Len Gress, former owner of King Pin Lanes in Cambridge. He encouraged me to take up the sport as a way to better fit into society and learn how to communicate with others. It was in 1988, my first year to even try my hand at the sport. I asked Len to teach me the basics of the game. I was 23 years old, 125 pounds soaking wet with little muscular build. I started out with a 12-pound ball to learn how to throw and control the spin of a ball. I also learned how to communicate with other people in the bowling center. It taught me how to socialize, deal with frustration and develop a sense of accomplishment.

An instance in 1994 changed my outlook on the game to more of an addiction. My mother and father died and I needed an environment to lose myself of the pain and suffering I was not able to deal with throughout the day. This sport provided me with a sanctuary.

I was able to accomplish several feats in the sport. I have thrown 800 series, 300 games and made the difficult 7-10 split.

All my young-adult life bowling was a part of it and I am thankful for one man, Len Gress, for introducing this sport into my life.

Len Gress was a bowling column writer for the Daily Jeffersonian newspaper for many years. His column “Maple Chit-Chat” reported the scores, records and overall accomplishments of bowlers in the area for more than 30 years. King Pin Lanes locked its doors last year, but I have fond memories of the challenges, aggravation and accomplishments I achieved their. This column is a tribute to a sport and long-time friend that will always be a part of me.

* The Professional Bowlers Tour has morphed into a joke due to the lack of sponsorship and television viewers. Old-school bowlers laugh at equipment innovations, oil patterns and styles being used to knock down 10 pins to earn money. Bowling has become too costly for an everyday Joe to afford the enjoyment and aggravation. The length of a bowling season is too long, too costly and just too boring for me to pick up the sport after 10 years.

Spending some time at local bowling establishments, i found some leagues where the sport is taken seriously, while others emphasize fun.

I say it’s time for bowling to get back to the basics.

Contact Eddie Thomas at