League night makes it the mountains | VailDaily.com

League night makes it the mountains

Kelly Hagenah
Shane Macomber/Daily file photo Bowling leagues have been popular downvalley ever since the Back Bowl opened its lanes in Eagle.

EAGLE – The sounds of a bowling alley are unmistakable: rolling balls and crashing pins, always accompanied with cheers or jeers. Take those noises and multiply tenfold, and you’ve got the sounds of league night at the Back Bowl in Eagle. Russ Lounsbury, a first time leaguer, joined the Back Bowl league with his co-workers from Eagle County Animal Services. “I think it is a great way for people to get together and have fun,” Lounsbury said. “It’s very low key, although I’m sure some people take it more seriously than we do.” Lounsbury proclaimed that his team, The Surrenders, were probably one of the worst out there, but that they still have a great time. “It’s more about having fun than winning,” he said.

Doug Cahill, owner of the Back Bowl, said league play is historically the driving force behind bowling alleys. Alley were never opened specifically for public open play, because league play was so big, Cahill said. “But now, bowling is coming back as an all-around sport,” he said. “And you can find open play as much as you can league play.” “We wanted to do both,” Cahill said. The Back Bowl is divided into two parts, and each side has 10 lanes. Leaguers can take one side, and families the other, Cahill said. While many adult sport leagues are set up locally, the Back Bowl leagues are actually sanctioned, meaning they are registered by the United States Bowling Congress, allowing them to compete in the state as well as in the country. League play at the back bowl is divided into two seasons, fall and spring.

“Fall is the biggest league time,” stated Cahill. “We have leagues playing every day but Friday and Saturday.” The fall league totals up to about 40 teams and 200 people. And while the spring season isn’t as big, the leagues still take up lanes on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday nights, with nearly 100 people total, Cahill said.The leagues choose how they are operated and how they want to use lanes. They also vote on fees and prizes. Bowling league members do take themselves seriously, and enjoy a good sense of competition. Dale Hatton, an “Alleycats” team member, said that on any given league night, team members focus on friends, food and drink, as much as they do their scores. Hatton has been involved with the bowling league for about two years. When the Back Bowl first opened, he and a group of friends got together, and haven’t stopped. “We’re not bad,” Hatton said. “Some nights we do better than other nights, but we always have fun.”

The atmosphere on league night is just like any social gathering, but with pins and bowling balls involved. “It’s a good weekly get together,” Hatton said. “We get together with friends, and we meet a lot of new friends.” Bowlers interested in joining a league can stop by the Back Bowl and put their name on a list, individually or with a team. The Back Bowl will then turn the name or names over to the league. The leagues do fill up rather quickly. But, the women’s league seems to always need bowlers. “The ladies have a great time,” Cahill said. “We play great music for them, and they always enjoy themselves.” Vail, Colorado

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