(Special intro by Zack Newman)

Often in national and local bowling news, we hear about “big” names that have accomplished certain things in their field, such as winning PBA tournaments, coaching (in the case of Mark Baker, the late John Jowdy, etc.), or otherwise making big waves in the bowling industry. These types of people are doing huge things in our sport and deserve much of the accolades and front pages they receive. However, in order to make these major accomplishments possible, there is MUCH that goes on in the background and those people who make these things happen often go unnoticed by the masses.

Having been around bowling for a short while in the big picture, but for most of my teenage and adult life, as well as having worked in a bowling center years ago, I have a moderate amount of perspective as to how the gears all turn together to make everything happen, from open play to birthdays to leagues and tournaments.

At the center that many of us frequent, Regency Lanes, there have been a lot of faces that have come and gone, and a few that have been constant.

One person that I feel deserves a little “front page” recognition is the front deskman who we all know, Jon Hamlin. He has been there week after week, with a smile on his face, a joke to tell a customer or a friend, an ear to listen to anything on your mind, or help wherever it is needed.  He has been in the bowling world about as long as I, and is extremely good at what he does.

Jon has been one of my best friends since age 10, which seems like forever and a day ago. He introduced me to bowling at Westchester Lanes, bowled junior leagues with me until age 16, and has been my friend away from bowling ever since. What many people may not know about Jon, is that he is an individual that is extremely family-oriented, with a 7-year-old son, as well as a younger brother, and extended family which he devotes much of his free time to help in various ways. Needless to say he is a busy guy, but most importantly, selfless in his method of thought, and always in the “giving” mode. Not just around the Christmas season, but 365 days a year, volunteering his own personal time to give to and help others in any capacity he can.

For those of us who have the opportunity to know Mr. Hamlin already, we already know the positive spirit he brings to the room, and are better for having him in our lives. For those of you who have not had the chance, or maybe haven’t taken a second to stop and say hello, any night you see Jon at the front desk would be a fantastic chance to do so. He is a great friend that you have not yet met!

Christmas raffle

The annual Bowlers Edge Pro Shop Christmas Raffle has wrapped up another fun, fabulous year.  With 20 big winners on the nightly bowling ball giveaway plus all of the nightly gift certificates, $100 weekly winners, and now, the three Grand Prize $200 winners.

All of the weekly and Grand Prize winners are posted in the glass case across from the front desk at Regency Bowling Center so bowlers check your tickets again as we have lots of unclaimed tickets and nobody has turned in any of the three Grand Prize winners yet. 

One of those lucky bowling ball winners, Chris Gregory, parlayed his winning bowling ball into a 300 game this past Sunday during the Coffee Club tournament. Gregory was throwing the new Ebonite Pivot, custom fit by Ebonite staffer Zack Newman.

So, once again, don’t throw those raffle tickets away!  Double check them as we have about six unclaimed weekly winners and the three Grand Prize winners.  Bring them in and check them out.  The winners will be posted until March 31st.  After that, any unclaimed will roll over to the first week of next year’s Christmas raffle.

Bowling tech: Magic bowling ball

No such thing as a magic bowling ball.  Talented magic bowlers, yes!  Having the right bowling ball in your hand for a given oil condition, priceless!

Practice, patience, dedication, understanding and making good shots are the ingredients of the magic bowler.  They don’t hand out talent at the local pro shop.  You have to learn it and earn it.  Practice, practice, practice!!

Ring in 2014 bowling!

Tonight, Tuesday, Dec. 31, gather up some family and friends and plan a bowling party at one of our local centers as they all have New Year’s Eve parties planned.  These are popular so you need to reserve your spot early!  Here’s a list of what is being offered:

AMF Southwest Lanes (3610 Wible Road) – 834-2695 and AMF Westchester Lanes (1819 – 30th Street) – 324-4966 both offer two party sessions. 

The Family Session is from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and costs $20 per person and includes shoe rental and party favors for three hours of bowling.  The Adult Session is from 9 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. and costs $25 per person and includes shoe rental, party favors and finger foods with champagne available on request for three and a half hours of bowling. 

Both of these parties must be reserved in advance.

Regency Lanes (820 Real Road) – 325-6428 has a New Year’s Eve Bash that is open to adults and kids and is from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.  Cost is $25 per adult, $15 per youth (under 21) and includes food, party favors and champagne toast (cider for kids) at midnight.  If you do not reserve your spot in advance, cost is an additional $5 at the door.  Special rate of $49.99 to spend the night at The Days Inn that includes breakfast.  Special rate of $12 for party only.

Open Bowling options during holidays

With the holidays upon us, here are some options you and your friends might want to consider to go bowling:

AMF Westchester Lanes (1819 – 30th Street) – 324-4966

Monday through Thursdays (5 p.m. to 10 p.m.)

Fridays (3 p.m. to 1 a.m.)

Saturdays (11 a.m. to 1 a.m.)

Sundays (11 a.m. to 10 p.m.)

$10 per bowler for open bowling (new reduced rate)

Check for their upcoming extended hours for the holidays.

Openings for office parties – call for a reservation.

AMF Southwest Lanes (3610 Wible Road) – 834-2695

Sunday through Thursdays (8 p.m. to closing) and during the day - $10 per bowler (includes shoe rental).

Friday, Saturday and Sundays - $16 per bowler (includes shoe rental).

Regency Bowling Center (820 Real Road) – 325-6428

Monday through Wednesday nights (9 p.m. to 11 p.m.) - $8 per bowler for 2 hours of bowling (shoes included).

Sunday nights (9 p.m. to midnight) - $14 per bowler (shoes included).

Weekend Special (Fri., Sat., Sun.) 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. - $15 per bowler for 3 hours of bowling (shoes included), subject to lane availability.

--Rainbow Bowling every Saturday night starting at 6 p.m. (open to everyone, win money when you strike on colored pins).

--Coffee Club Bowling Tournament every Sunday morning starting at 11 a.m. (draw for partners, bowl four games, high pots and 3-6-9).

Weekly super scores

Congratulations to AJ Garcia, who bowled his second 300 game of this season recently at Mt. Mesa Lanes in Lake Isabella.  He put together games of 278-279-300 for a nice 857 series.

Congratulations to James Cowan on rolling a nice 300 game while bowling a make-up on Thurs., Dec. 19, at Regency Lanes for his Friday night Mexican-American league.  Cowan is currently averaging 176.

Congratulations to Andrew Svoren for bowling his first sanctioned 300 game on Friday night, Dec. 20, while bowling in the Dixie league at Regency Lanes.  Svoren has bowled a 300 previously but it was during practice at AMF Southwest Lanes.  Robb White/Robb’s Pro Shop commented that part of the reason Svoren has had such a good year is because Svoren does a lot of “bowling out of town in tournaments and lane play.”

Congratulations to Chris Gregory on his 300 bowled this past Sunday morning (Dec. 29) while competing in the weekly Coffee Club tournament at Regency.  Gregory rolled the 300 for his first of four games and ended up winning the tournament with partner Robert Fox.  This was Gregory’s second Coffee Club win in a month!