Christmas, bowling go hand-in-hand


By Jack Hammill - Guest Columnist



It is the one of the greatest Christmas movies of all time.

One thing that cannot be questioned is that it is the greatest bowling Christmas movie of all time.

Forget the Daisy Red Ryder bolt action BB gun and really forget the pink bunny pajamas from a relative with a bizarre sense of humor the real gift given on that day was when a bowling ball was dropped into the lap of Ralphie’s father.

Remember as well that despite the best efforts of mom to prepare a fabulous Christmas meal … prior to the interference of the neighbor’s mammoth dogs … that the family spent that evening at Bo lings … a restaurant from a former bowling alley.

The story may have been set in the 1940s or 1950s but it is will be a theme that will be replicated by many families this upcoming holiday season.

It is my hope that no bowling ball gets dropped into anybody’s lap (especially when we take into consideration how easy it is to damage a shell of the ball in this day and age) and please lets avoid stuffing 10 to 12-year-olds in pink bunny outfits this season as well.

I do know that there will be bowling balls as gifts this season, great gifts at that. Some may even make it into the hands of the adults in the family although in recent seasons it is has been the youth of the family, especially the teens who have scored the new gear.

The Christmas dining at the lanes has risen to a level much higher than Ralphie’s clan as well. My Christmas Eve Eve crew will be dining and bowling at 20th Century for the second consecutive year this Christmas season, moving out to the confines of spacious Hammill mansion for that annual event.

Interestingly enough my great niece Jessica suggested the same for the Hammill Christmas this season. How great if not strange is that? An era or two of beef tenderloin draws to a close for bowling alley cuisine. I have told you all for several years now that there is nothing better than eating at the lanes.

It will not only be my clan that is at the lanes as this is a time of the year when bowling establishments fill with individuals that are returning to town for the holidays. I drove by Westgate this past weekend on my way home and they were packed as was 20th Century Lanes on the south side of the city.

Bowling is clearly a sport that will never die as way to many family memories and friendships were cultivated at the lanes over the years. As a bowling lanes employee I have the opportunity to look out at the lanes on a weekly basis and see individuals that I have known since high school if not earlier. It is especially great to see softball players excel on the lanes who did the same on the softball fields in what will serve as my version of the good old days.

As I was writing this I thought of a text that I got from my old radio sales boss Matt Childers the day following the fire at Nortel Lanes in Monroe. Michigan. The headline for one of the local media outlet decried “Nortel Lanes destroyed by fire!” another stated, “Community mourns the loss of Nortel Lanes!”

Matt was moved enough to send me a message regarding the loss and sharing his sadness as he once bowled there when he was in college.

It brought back a collegiate memory for me as well as I once traveled there with UNOH for a tournament as it was the home house of Monroe Community College. Interestingly enough for some I actually saw Frank Testa rolling there for a team on that day.

Dan Guida, one of my bowling buddies at 20th, saw it differently. “I lost a friend,” was how Dan greeted my one morning at the lanes. We did not talk a great deal about the fire or the loss as it was time for him to roll but the first four words are etched in my mind. I lost a friend. The sport and the buildings are extremely important to a whole lot of us. It is a gathering point for many where friendships and families can be strengthened. It explains my love and my commitment to the sport/game.

We do have a significant event coming up. I say significant because Derek Dukes is very good at what he does, even if it take him forever to finalize his engagement to Joy Stemen. Congrats to the two of you.

This coming Sunday Dukes will be hosting ‘The Holiday Strike-A-Thon Singles at Southgate. Things will get underway at 10 a.m. and bowlers will be shooting for a first prize of $1,000.00 … just in time to buy bowling balls and disgusting pink bunny outfits for your family members.

WBL Corner

The WBL teams are red hot but I am not sure anybody is hotter than the Shawnee Indians who had another great outing this weekend at a Greg Couless event in Beavercreek. Abbey Ambroza is twice bitten now at Couless events She finished in a tie for the fifth spot, and again lost the tie-breaker for the all tourney team. Why it goes to the high game instead of the most consistent set has always been a mystery to me. Sometimes a tie should be that a tie and you honor both bowlers.

With a big thank you to Mike Watt, Ottawa Glandorf is the top boys team at 3-0 followed by defending state champion Celina and St Marys at 2-0. It is early however with Defiance, Wapak, Kenton and Van Wert at 1-1.

The Lady Indians of Shawnee are off to a great start at 4-0 with St Marys and Van Wert 2-0 and waiting for their shot at the Tribe. The Lady Titans are 2-1 and Celina and Kenton are 1-1.

It is early but Dayle Aldrich (214.6) and Abbey Ambroza (201.1) of Shawnee and Evan Tennant (216.8) of St Marys are off to blazing individual starts.

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By Jack Hammill

Guest Columnist

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