My first National Bowling Tournament was in 1981 hosted by Nest 52, Rochester, N.Y. At the time, Nest 52 still had their Club, which included a small bowling alley next to their bar. I had just moved and was not in a good frame of mind (I get very emotional!), and I simply did not know what to expect. I was quite surprised and not in a pleasant way. I went home and told my Mother that I thought the event was awful! Her response – “Well, there is something wrong with you!”
That fall, we attended the District IV Bowling Tournament and had a blast. A few folks asked us if we were going to South Bend (Nest 80) in the spring. At that time, there were two weekends and most of the Pittsburgh Membership went the second weekend. Well, my Mom went the second weekend; so we decided to go on the first weekend (There were other factors within our team that made the decision.). In a better frame of mind and expectations slightly different, off to South Bend we went! Five of us jammed into one car and all of us slept in one room! Obviously, I understood my Mother’s comment!
So much has changed since then! Think about how much the world has changed since 1982!
- There were no computers so all entries were sent in on a paper application. There were quite a few bowlers so if you wanted to get your preferred day and time, you had to get your application in early. Geography played a role in these assignments. The Nest Financial Secretary had to sign off and you had to get it signed by the (at the time for the ladies) WIBC. The application was usually mailed a few times before it arrived at the National Bowling Commissioner’s home.
- There were two divisions – men and women, no mixed. The teams were five person and one had to have a sanction card to participate. We even bowled two male teams on a pair, then two female teams on a pair. It took a while before we were bowling together.
- Your doubles partner had to be the same gender. If you bowled singles, you had to bowl doubles.
- Teams dressed alike; we used to have so much fun coming up with outfits!
- There were no computers at the lanes so the Host Nest had to have enough volunteers to keep score. This was quite a task but again, tons of fun! Then, the Host Nest had to tabulate all of those results by hand. Every team, every person, every series, imagine that!
- The tournament moved from the east to the west alternating years. West was of course, in the South Bend area. East was Erie and east. Nests would bid on the tournament, often giving away items or hosting a hospitality room, and also each team member received a goodie bag from the Host Nest.
- Results were posted in the Sokol; we couldn’t wait to receive the Sokol so that we could see the final results!
- Each Nest still receives a souvenir to put in their Club.
But, the common denominator at the tournament all those years ago was the camaraderie. And that remains the same! Bowling is simply an excuse to get together with life-long friends! The Camaraderie!
I have missed very few tournaments since I began going. I could fill several issues of the Sokol Polski with stories, with lots of giggling. Conversations in the van or in the car or on the plane or on the train! Silliness and just plain fun! Mom’s apple pie, Humphrey, vacuum cleaners, glass elevators, serenades in the van, comedy routine, National Drill, Denny’s restaurant, casino on the boat, playing pool, holding Kathy’s belt loop, a Chevette, Barbie’s pool party, pushing a Cadillac, playing cards, driving a Corvette, homemade dinners at the Club, rubber legs, limo rides, sunbathing, that girl, tailgating, Asti, let’s dance, bus rides, McDonald’s in the bus, shotskis, 50/50, paint sticks, costumes, elevator floors, hotel lobbies, late night conversations, take me home country roads, shoe shopping…
And, I met my John at a National Bowling Tournament all those years ago!
See all of you next year in St. Louis!
Keep healthy and safe! Czolem!