- a wistful desire to return in thought or in fact to a former time in one’s life, a sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place or time.
Some of my fondest, earliest memories are of my Dad and I spending time at the bowling alley when I was 4 years old. Mom would take me to Dad’s work when he was getting ready to leave for the day and Dad would take me to the bowling alley across the street and we would bowl, 35 cents a game or 3 games for a dollar! That’s really where my love for bowling began. Many times we were the only ones there and you could really hear the sounds of the pinsetters and the ball rolling down the wood lane and the pins crashing.
It was a small 10 lane bowling house with those AMF Magic Triangle masking units and above-ground ball returns. I was fascinated with everything from the very start. I joined a Saturday morning youth bowling league for several years and my Dad bowled in a weekly league. Many times I would go and watch Dad and hang out in the alley with the other kids of the other bowlers. And on those nights I didn’t get to go I couldn’t wait for Dad to get home so I could hear what he rolled that night, and so I could smell that familiar smell of the bowling alley on his jacket.
Every Saturday I would get up early and Mom would take me to my youth league, then I would go home and Dad and I always watched the Saturday afternoon PBA telecast on ABC’s Wide World of Sports. Our absolute favorite bowlers were Mark Roth and Earl Anthony. Every week we hoped to see our bowling heroes on there. As soon as the telecast ended I would run and get my 10 plastic pins and 2 plastic balls and my hardwood pindeck that I had drawn all of the pinspots on and I would bowl until dinner. The “approach” was in the bedroom, the doorway of the bedroom was the “foul line”, the hallway was the “lane” and the “pindeck” was in the kitchen. It was heaven. I would bowl and bowl, Mom would come home from shopping and start making dinner, careful not to walk on the “lane” while I was bowling. Sometimes I would eat dinner and go back to bowling even more.
One boy’s dad on my youth bowling team owned the bowling alley, so I would sometimes get to go to the back end and see the pinsetters in action. What an awesome thing for a young boy obsessed with bowling! I dreamt of one day having my own bowling alley or having a couple of lanes in my home.
Around age 12 or so, for whatever reason, I started getting into other sports, mainly baseball, golf and basketball. The bowling alley where I had always bowled started getting run down and Dad stopped bowling in leagues. I still had a love for bowling and a fascination for it but other things just became more of a priority. A few years later that bowling alley closed. I went to high school, then college, then got a job, raised a family. I rarely saw a bowling alley, but still, that desire that I had in my youth was still there. I can’t explain it, nor do I expect many others to understand it, but I’m sure some of you reading this do. And I’m sure some of you think I’m crazy, that’s ok too.
About 6 years ago or so my Dad retired from his job he held for 38 years, in that factory across from that building that used to be the bowling alley I grew up in. Dad got back into bowling when he retired and I think he too felt like he had never left. My Dad’s renewed love for bowling got me to come back to it. I had almost forgotten how much I loved not only bowling, but the sounds and the smells and the sights. Bowling is a wonderful, under appreciated sport. As long as you can physically lift a ball weighing between 6 and 16 pounds and roll it you can play and enjoy it. There have so many advances in equipment since the time my Dad took his little boy to the lanes. Back then the balls were rubber or plastic. Nowadays you have reactive resin balls and oil patterns to explore. Bowling has evolved but to me it is still that sport that me and my Dad played together 30-some years ago. Dad and I have bowled together on a bowling team the last 4 or 5 years. We both truly enjoy it.
I never gave up the dream of having my own bowling lane at home, by getting back into the sport that I treasured as a child, that dream was reawakened and those same feelings came over me. The only problem is I can’t fit a full-sized set of lanes in my 42′ x 28′ basement. So after planning and trying and testing, I decided to build an exact half-scale lane. Things have always seemed to come up to discourage it but I have the support of my family and a new bride who completely supports my dream. As a matter of fact she bought me exact half-scale pins and a half-scale ball for my wedding gift. How awesome is that?!
After so much planning to do this I began to wonder if there were others out there like me who were doing the same kind of thing. I have already heard from some of you and I am glad there are others out there who have the same kind of dream that I do. My wife makes jewelry for a living and has an online store and she encouraged me to build a site where I could share my dream with others so that’s what I am doing. I understand that many people will think that this is a silly idea but that doesn’t bother me because it’s my dream and there may be others out there that can relate to it. So this site is for us.