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Bowled over

For Katherine Rigney, duckpin bowling is right up her alley

Created date

September 24th, 2013
Duckpin bowling pins

Most people live for the weekend. But Tuesday is Katherine Rigney’s favorite day of the week. That’s the day she gets to do what she loves most: bowl.

“I love duckpin bowling. I wouldn’t give it up for anything,” says Katherine, a resident of Oak Crest, an Erickson Living community in Parkville, Md. “I live, sleep, eat, and dream bowling.”

Every Tuesday for the last 56 years, Katherine has bowled with the Anneslie Bowling League.

“When I lived in Towson, a few of the ladies in my neighborhood got talking and decided we needed to get away from our kids every once in a while and get some exercise. So we started a ladies’ community bowling league,” says Katherine.

Originally housed at Stoneleigh Lanes, the group moved twice before finding a home at its current location, AMF Towson Lanes near Providence Road, where they meet every Tuesday at 10 a.m. from September through April.

Let the good times roll

“I clear my schedule every Tuesday—no errands, doctors’ appointments—nothing interferes with my bowling day!”

The only member of her original team, the Cherokees, still active in the league, Katherine says that the driving force behind the group has been socialization, not strikes.

“All week long I look forward to seeing everyone on the team,” says Katherine. “We really have a good time and enjoy each other’s company. At each of our year-end parties and anniversary luncheons, you’ll hear good-natured stories about matches. Mainly, though, it’s a celebration of long-standing friendships and a bright future.”

Katherine’s affinity for duckpin bowling began by chance as a teenager in Danville, Va.

“In high school, I worked for the school newspaper, and we had to go out and try to get local businesses to advertise in our paper,” says Katherine. “So a friend and I went to the bowling alley to see if they would like to buy space for an ad. The owner said no, and we decided we would bowl a game anyway since we were there. That was actually my first time bowling, and I loved it. As it turns out, after we finished the game the owner changed his mind and agreed to buy an ad from us.”

Bowling alleys have come a long way since the Anneslie League formed 56 years ago. Paper scorecards have been replaced with electronic scoring on flat screen TVs, and calamari and cocktails are now on the menu alongside classics like pizza and pitchers of beer. An anniversary committee for the Anneslie League has collected completed scorebooks, transparent bowling sheets, championship trophies, and an original league roster to commemorate the league’s history.

“My highest game ever bowled was 206,” says Katherine. “My team, the Cherokees, won the championship the first three years and again in the last two years, but everyone in the league is so talented. Our averages range from 72 to 102, so I’d say that’s some pretty good bowling.”

Originally exclusive to just women, the league has since opened membership to men, and they currently have one male bowler on the Cherokees team. In September, they welcomed the addition of 12 new bowlers from another league, growing the league to 28.

Next best thing

When she’s not at the bowling alley, Katherine enjoys the next best thing: virtual bowling on the Nintendo Wii game system in Oak Crest’s lounge.

“It’s not exactly like being at the bowling alley, but it is lots of fun, and it’s also convenient,” says Katherine, who, in addition to bowling plays bocce and loves to travel.

Another advantage to Wii bowling is that anyone can do it.

“I really enjoy the camaraderie of playing with my friends and neighbors,” says Katherine. “I’m a people person. I used to be very shy, but in my later years I’ve gotten more and more bold.”

Katherine says she has no plans to give up her favorite hobby. “It’s great exercise and a lot of fun,” she says. “I plan on bowling until I’m on my last leg!”