Firsthand look at bowling’s new COVID-19 guidelines
After reading about all of the new COVID-19 safety regulations that bowlers have to endure in order to keep participating in their favorite sport, I actually got to experience them firsthand last weekend.
My son, Andre, asked me to join a team with him in the Saturday Nite Mixed league at Mt. Hawley Bowl this season in Peoria, along with Kevin Tockes and a yet-to-be determined fourth bowler.
It was the first league I have joined in two years, so I was looking forward to it and to bowling league with my son again.
I had not touched a ball since mid-March, so I wasn’t expecting much for my first outing. My goal was to pick up most of my spares and stay away from some very low games.
The first thing I needed to do, because of the new USBC equipment rules this year, was make sure there were no weight holes in any of my bowling balls. They became illegal on August 1, with the start of the new season.
I didn’t think any of my equipment had any extra holes, but I had to make sure. I didn’t want to throw any illegal equipment on my first night back.
I also had to put some tape in my thumb holes, because my thumb would be smaller with the inactivity.
I knew that my wife, Jeanine, and I would have to wear our face masks into the bowl, and the only time I could take mine down was when I was bowling.
There were a couple of Plexiglas shields on the main desk, with an open slot at the bottom so the person at the counter could accept payments and take in the scoresheets. There was also some hand sanitizer available in case anyone requested it.
All of the employees — including proprietor John Wiesner — were wearing face masks, as were most of the bowlers.
It’s a fun, eight-team league, so there are a few players who will be more interested in the socializing portion of the session, which is OK. It should be a good time.
Nicole Hartseil, who used to bowl in a league with Andre and me at Landmark, subbed for us the first night. She came through with a nice 634 series, opening with a 236 game.
Tockes rolled a steady 645 set, and Andre made a nice ball change in Game 2 and closed a 683 series with games of 256 and 233.
He was probably tired, because he had gotten home that afternoon after a six-hour drive from Wisconsin. He spent a week up there fishing with Pete Burdette and Johnathon Hermacinski.
I was kind of tired as well. I had been up since around 1 a.m. and had made a 900-mile round trip to the Minneapolis area for one of my side jobs. I got home around 4:30 p.m., so only had about an hour to rest before going to the bowl.
I did OK, finishing with a 551 series on games of 181, 175 and 195. I chopped a couple of spares and had two splits in the first two games, and either struck or went nine-spare in every frame of the last game.
My goal also was not to miss any single pins. I believe I went 17-for-17 on single-pin spares, including 5-for-5 on 10-pins.
The toughest part of the night, besides trying to strike, was remembering to put my mask back on after I bowled. But that seemed to be a problem throughout the league.
For our opponents, Carl Wall had a nice 652 and was high man on the team by about 300 pins. But his teammates were all having a good time despite their scores.
As the night progressed, many bowlers and spectators had their masks at half-mast, or had just given up using them altogether.
Wiesner said that he and his staff are working diligently to make sure the guidelines are followed. He said that some houses have been spot checked for infractions, and have been warned.
Wiesner said his business is down about 30 percent this season, but at least the doors are now open again.
I will be at Mt. Hawley for the next 30 weeks or so on Saturday nights, trying to do my part to follow the new guidelines.
Pete Argo, a member of the Peoria and state bowling association Halls of Fame, joined an elite group recently when he aced the eighth hole at the Pine Lakes Golf Club in Washington.
He used a 5-iron to record his first career hole-in-one on the 165-yard hole.
Argo now has bowled many 300 games, a few 800 series and added the hole-in-one.
“I always wanted to have multi-sport perfection,” he joked. “Being lucky is always better than being good!”
Johnny Campos is the Journal Star bowling columnist. He can be reached at 686-3214 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JohnnyCampos59.
Peoria-area bowling results
Perfect Angle/Bill Mastronardi Masters standings (after two weeks): 1 Potter’s Alley 72-28; 2 T-Shirt House 69-31; 3 Striketown 60-40; 4 (tie) Landmark Lanes and Plaza Lanes 56-44 6 Wingstop 53-47; 7 Linn Lanes 52-48; 8 Sunset Lanes 45-55; 9 (tie) Bullpen and Johnson Accounting 38-62; 11 Mt. Hawley Bowl 34-66; 12 T&D Windshield 27-73.
Last week’s results (at Landmark Lanes): T-Shirt House def. Sunset 39-11; Linn def. T&D 36-14; Plaza def. Mt. Hawley 36-14; Potter’s def. Johnson Accounting 42-8; Bullpen def. Striketown 27-23; Landmark def. Wingstop 36-14.
High series: Benny Barnwell (T-Shirt House) 764, Gary Strait (Johnson Accounting) 739, Steve Taylor (Potter’s) 728, Austin Markley (Landmark) 717, Eric Wurmnest (Potter’s) 713, Bob Baker (T&D) 712.
High games: Strait 289, Travis Anderson (Landmark) 279, Brad Moore (Wingstop) 267, B. Barnwell 259 & 258, Steve Taylor 258, Markley 258 & 255, Don Sweet (Striketown) 258, Sammy Taylor (Striketown) 258, Tommy Barnwell (Plaza) 257, Baker 256, Wurmnest 255, Jake Jones (Potter’s) 255, Chad Barnes (Mt. Hawley) 252.