The sounds of rolling balls and falling pins soon will be returning to Plaza Lanes here.
The Fort Frances Bowling Club will kick off its 2018-19 season in less than two weeks, with the Tuesday night league starting on Sept. 4 and the Thursday night one on Sept. 6.
Club president Mike Behan is looking forward to getting the new season underway—and is inviting people to join in the fun.
“Bowling is a great way to spend a couple of hours a week, especially on those cold winter nights in the dead of winter,” he said.
Behan stressed bowlers of all skill levels are welcome.
“People certainly shouldn't think that league bowling is only for those with high averages,” he remarked.
“The emphasis always is on having fun and socializing.”
Both leagues use a handicapped scoring system—meaning bowlers are on equal footing whether their average is 230 or 120.
Teams are made up of four people on the lanes for each game.
“But teams can have as many as eight people on their roster to cover for absences and what-not,” Behan explained.
“That way, a person doesn't have to commit to being out for every week of the season.”
The lanes are turned on at 6:45 p.m. each Tuesday and Thursday for warm-ups, with the first game starting promptly at 7 p.m.
For the first two weeks of the season, bowlers only are bowling to establish an average.
Points in the standings start being counted in Week 3.
The cost is $6/game per bowler, with a portion of that fee going back to the bowlers in the form of prize money at season's end in April.
The club also has an annual membership fee of $20.
“I hope to see all our regular bowlers out again this season,” said Behan, who once again is joined on the club executive by Kathy Bois (treasurer) and Toni Benning (secretary).
“But I'd especially love to welcome any newcomers to the sport, as well as any former bowlers looking to get back into it.”
Behan also is encouraging workplaces or organizations to enter teams, noting it's a great way for co-workers to get together away from the office setting.
He said bowling also offers newcomers to town a chance to make friends and expand their social circle.
There's also plenty of opportunities to compete in various zone tournaments over the course of the season, with the chance to advance to provincial rounds and even beyond.
Last season, for instance, local bowler Cody Brown was on a team that captured the gold medal at the inter-provincial P.O.A. (pins over average) championships held in late April in Charlottetown, P.E.I.
Jeff Watts of Fort Frances, meanwhile, competed in the singles' division at the Canadian Open championships held in Gatineau, Que. the following month after winning gold at the provincial level in Azilda (Sudbury).
Another highlight of the season is the annual aggregate tournament, which pits local bowlers against those from Dryden, Kenora, and Balmertown in a seven-game roll-off over two days for zone bragging rights.
The Fort Frances contingent captured the banner in Kenora this past season.
“Thanks to bowling, I've made lifelong friends here in town, around Sunset Country, and right across Northern Ontario,” said Behan, who began bowling here in back in 1988.
“You just won't meet nicer people,” he enthused.
Anyone with questions can contact Behan, who also currently is president of the Sunset Country 5-Pin Bowling Association, at 274-8797 (home) or 274-5373 ext. 235 (work).