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This is what bowling is all about: passion!

Theo Sojourn didn't let two broken bones keep him away from bowling.
Theo Sojourn didn't let two broken bones keep him away from bowling.
Fred Eisenhammer

About four months ago, Cecil Fine, a lights-out league bowler, creaked to the line and tossed a misguided shot that barely connected with the pins.

And throughout that night at AMF Woodlake Lanes in Woodland Hills, Fine continued to throw wild shots uncharacteristic of this precise bowler who’s averaged in the 180s the past decade.

It was not the dependable Cecil Fine who Woodlake Lanes players had become accustomed to watching. It was easy to see something was ailing the veteran right-hander and it later came out that Fine was suffering from back pains that he was trying unsuccessfully to stifle with medication.

Fine was bowling because he just wanted to spend quality time with longtime friends Ken Borshell, Randy Silverman and Larry Menzer and that was more important than enduring piercing pain for a couple of hours.

Fine is one of the many bowlers who have a passion for the sport.

It’s a passion that so many league and pro bowlers own that sets them apart from athletes in other sports. It’s why league bowlers rarely call in sick; they’d rather bowl sickly than sit out a night because they’re not feeling well.

These scenarios play over and over each week at bowling centers.

How about iron-man Jamie Beeler’s refusal to skip his league outing despite suffering from the worst kind of kidney stones imaginable?

That happened last year as the Chatsworth resident kept popping Advil to keep him bowling for as long as he could. Fortunately, he survived the night and was able to make it home before he needed to be rushed to the hospital to tend to his super painful stones.

“Nothing keeps him from his bowling,” Karen Beeler, his wife, acknowledged. “Nothing.”

Can you imagine tennis players being so devoted to their sport? Can you image golfers being so deeply passionate about their game?

Then there’s Eric Haugsby’s story. The Woodland Hills resident got into a severe car accident during the day and wound up still bowling that night despite being shaken up and suffering from bruises and lacerations.

It’s called passion.

How do you explain it?

Is it just because bowlers don’t want to let their teammates down by failing to show? Do they just not want to miss out on some fun for the week that perhaps only this activity can provide?

How about the well-documented story of Theo Sojourn, a Santa Clarita Valley resident? How many golfers and tennis players would do what Sojourn did?

He broke two bones in his right forearm in a snowboarding accident, but that didn’t stop this right-handed bowler from abandoning the new game he was beginning to love.

Sojourn simply shifted to throwing the ball left-handed, which resulted in several woeful double-digit scores at Brunswick Matador Bowl before he managed to elevate his game. Knowing full well he was going to be sidelined a few months, Sojourn taught himself a left-handed baby hook and then crushed an electrifying and career-best 240 game only six weeks after converting to his “off” hand.

Would golfers even try such an extreme approach to stay in the game? How about tennis players?

Don’t think so.

Sojourn risked much embarrassment and perhaps injury by plodding through some 300 series with his left hand just so he wouldn’t let his teammates down and he could stay connected to his sport.

That’s called passion.

Or crazy.

One or the other.

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