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Sixty-Something: Bowling During The Holidays In The Hamptons

T.J. Clemente

The Clubhouse in East Hampton has a bowling alley. (Photo: Courtesy of the Author)

I can remember the first time I ever went bowling. It was at Bowlerland across the border of Westchester County and the Bronx, down by the New England Thruway. I was in third grade and it was a classmate of mine from Our Lady of Perpetual Help School's birthday party. The bowling balls were so heavy, yet I found a light one, even then, it was so heavy I thought I might drop it at any second.

I also remember they did not have bowling shoes quite my size and the pair I wore was a size or two too large. I vividly remember my first toss made a very loud thud heard all over the huge bowling alley complex only to go quickly into the gutter and if I recall correctly didn't actually make it all the way down. Someone had to throw another ball to clear it out of the gutter. After that the challenge was not to get a strike but to keep the ball on the wood boards the whole way down and at least hit some pins. I threw a lot of gutter balls that first time.

I remember taking my daughters bowling for their first time. I believe my daughter Blair almost threw a perfect game, perfect in being all gutter balls. However, what I remember first about that day perhaps 28 years ago was my oldest daughter, Schuyler, who was perhaps five or six-years-old, went first and somehow placed the ball on the center of the alley and spun it. The ball proceeded to rolls down the alley as slow as is possible and barely reached the center of the pins and started the slowest reaction of pins falling I have ever seen. I think the ball stayed in the middle of the carnage and at the last second a pin hit the ball and knocked down the last remaining standing pins for a strike! She looked at me as if she has planned it that way.

Ten years later after my divorce, my daughter Blair came out to East Hampton to visit me for the weekend. I had no clue what to do after dinner with a 16-year-old girl so I took her bowling at the then existing bowling alley in Wainscott on Route 27. I had not been in a bowling alley in a long time and was amazed that they had devices they would prevent any gutter balls for children and that they had strobe lighting and loud music. Years later I was assigned the story about the demise of that bowling alley. If I remember correctly it was a straight cash in on real-estate type of situation with millions of dollars in profit.

However, in the last few years the East Hampton Indoor Tennis folks have invested/spent some huge money to create what they call "The Clubhouse," a facility that has sports dining both public and private, pool tables and ten high tech state of the art bowling alleys. It is located across from the East Hampton Airport at 174 Daniels Hole Road. I recently attended an East End Media event there that included bowling. Also that night, a few alleys down was a birthday party with lots of kids having fun along with a few adults supervising.

If you need an idea for the visiting grandchildren or your own children off from school the holiday break I recommend you pay "The Clubhouse" bowling alleys a visit or at least consider it an option. It's amazing fun to go back bowling.

Lastly, writing this I have to mention that my mom was in the Pelham Ladies Bowling League that actually bowled in Mt Vernon. I believe she bowled in that league for over 30 years and won something every year. She had her own ball and shoes that she had in a bowling ball bag. I went once when I was in junior high to keep score. It was amazing seeing so many moms in all different sizes, ages, along with their individual techniques bowling in every lane. My mom's technique was almost a Jackie Gleason comedy routine, yet very effective. Try bowling in the Hamptons this Christmas holiday and utilize your special bowling technique. Bring the whole family.

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