This story appeared on examiner.com one year ago. It’s being reprinted with revisions.
Where would bowling be without all its personalities?
There’s a reason bowling is the most popular participatory sport in the United States.
Here are six, for starters:
-- The amazing Carol Tucker, a pixyish bowler who floats on the lanes with a smile bigger than she.
-- The irrepressible Marshall Winer, a cancer survivor who appreciates all that is important in life and bowls with a joy few can match.
-- The energetic Barry Gurney, a 71-year-old pro bowler who wears his passion on his sleeve.
-- The powerful Alan Logan, who attacks pins with a take-no-prisoners style and whose “smashmouth” shots belie his sweet nature.
-- The never-say-die Geoff Gast, who always gives 100% and then some.
-- The extraordinarily unselfish Theo Sojourn, who showed miracles can happen by bowling brilliantly with his left hand days after he injured his right arm.
Yes, there are a lot of unique gentlemen and ladies of the lanes who make bowling fun not only for themselves but for others.
But this story isn’t about them specifically. It’s about another person, one who never picked up a bowling ball as an adult because of weak wrists.
This story is about someone who was special in her own right – who displayed many of the same qualities as the aforementioned Los Angeles bowlers.
This story is about my late wife – Arlene Eisenhammer, who passed away suddenly less than three years ago. Wednesday is her birthday and she would have been 60.
She was not a bowler, but she was such a great sport and would have been a great addition to any league.
Take some of bowling’s distinctive characteristics:
Socializing: Arlene would have fit in perfectly in any league. She loved interacting with people and would always make others feel like they were the most important people in the world. She belonged to three social clubs and was president of the Agoura Newcomers Club for two years. Arlene, who lived for the last 17 years in Agoura Hills, also was a member of the Pomegranate Guild of Judaic Needlework and the Binky Patrol, which makes blankets for sick and needy children. She loved people, she loved friends and she would have loved Carol Tucker, Marshall Winer, Barry Gurney, Alan Logan, Geoff Gast and Theo Sojourn.
Competition and sportsmanship: Bowlers are well-known for exhibiting tremendous sportsmanship, congratulating opponents for their bowling success but saving their biggest cheers for their teammates. As for Arlene, there was no bigger UCLA basketball fan. She went to college there during the prosperous John Wooden era and I heard about it – as I, by contrast, attended basketball-poor University of Illinois. My most enduring basketball-related memory of Arlene was taking her back to UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion about six years ago to watch a hotly contested Pac-10 game and she stood among the UCLA crowd before the game – and started crying. She was with her people – her UCLA people – and it brought back memories of her student days when UCLA basketball ruled the world and she was part of it.
Also a giver, Arlene presented personalized pillows to friends and neighbors like people give out candy. She once gave the couple across the street a pillow with the name “Peaches” on it. “Peaches” was the name of the pair’s beloved parakeet.
Exercise: Bowlers often find that their league play doesn’t suffice for a workout. Take former Los Angeles Dodger infielder Rick Auerbach, who has been reincarnated as a top amateur bowler. Auerbach often will bowl 20 games in a night – just for practice. Arlene’s choice of exercise was swimming. During the summer months, Arlene would swim up to 95 laps a day. When she first started swimming, she could barely make 10 laps without getting fatigued. But she was a passionate swimmer and it showed as the years went on.
So Arlene, happy birthday. I love you.
With you, there were no open frames, only strikes.