July 9th 2011, a few of us 5pin bowlers had a unique opportunity south or the border. Myself, my girlfriend Jen Galbraith, Kristi Lampman, Brian Whalen and Connie Ward spent some time talking to our duckpin bowling friends in the United States to organize a “5Pin night” in Maryland. With the great help from Jason and Kari Saghy, we secured Edgemere Bowl for a few hours on Saturday night to set up 5pin bowling. Special thanks goes to Greg Crunkleton for not only allowing us to set up 5pin at his bowling alley, but even opening up the lanes specifically for us.
Lugging 2 sets of pins with us across the border, we didn’t really know what to expect. We briefly discussed our thoughts on what would happen in the car that contained myself, Jen, Kristi and Karole McDonnell. I thought realistically that we could get upwards of 20 people showing up to try a few frames to see what our game was like. Once we arrived in Maryland, we got confirmation that our event was definitely a go. We were able to tell a few of the DPBA and WNDA members the location and the 8pm start time during our respective shifts that we played.
A bad start to the night was our late arrival to Edgemere but we were encouraged to see Kari and Jason waiting for us as well as Greg. Once we got things going, it seemed to operate quite smoothly. Kudos goes not only to Jen for spending A LOT of the time back behind the lanes setting up pins, but also to Jason Saghy and Greg Crunkleton for learning how our pins were set and also spending a large majority of the time behind the lanes setting up for those interested in trying. Greg later retired to tend to the bar, since the warm summer night left quite a few people craving a beverage of two.
I remember at one specific point, where we allowed a few of our American friends to actually record a game (marked by Jen and Kristi) the bowling alley seemed to jump a few levels in noise. Jason and I peered through the crack of the masking units to see a packed bowling alley. More than a couple people observed it looked like a regular league night with roughly 50 people now in the bowling alley. What an amazing success. Everyone seemed to have a great time, as the Canadians in the bowling alley spent hours discussing the differences in our games as well as our countries. I can only speak for myself, but the pride I felt as not only a Canadian, but as a 5pin bowler as well was something I couldn’t describe. Talking with many of the people in attendance, I found great interest in our game from our American friends. I also found great results as well from them, with special mention going to Kari Saghy for her first ever 5pin game of 328, (I had to assure her that a 328 game was a great score for anyone, not just for someone who had never played before) and Rob Yowell who bowled a 274 game despite his 5 frame in there.
I think the most tell tale sign that this night was a success was during the following day, while playing in the Sunday playoffs in our DPBA event, I spent a fair amount of time talking to people about our event, and assuring them that we would also try to set up another similar event for those who never got the chance to try. I’ve always felt that the games of 5pin and duckpin have a lot to learn from each other and that they can strive together and this could be the first step in showing that to our fellow Canadians playing 5pin. Before long, we could be competing in 5pin events against Americans just as the duck inners do with the Canadians on the DPBA and WNDA tours. With the numbers in our events steadily declining, we welcome any players to our tournaments, whether they be Canadian or not.